At San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios rolled out their cast list for their upcoming Eternals and revealed most of the characters had been either race swapped or gender swapped from Jack Kirby’s original creation.
During their Hall H presentation Marvel confirmed the rumor that Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden would play Ikaris. In a twist, Angelina Jolie was announced to take on the role as Thena instead of the previous reports that she would play Sersi. The rest of the announced cast included Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, and Don Lee as Gilgamesh.
— MCU Direct (@MCU_Direct) July 21, 2019
Here’s a better look.
And here’s a look at Phastos from his appearance in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition.
And a look at Gilgamesh from his appearance in Thor: The Deviants Saga.
As you can see, Marvel Studios kept Ikaris and Thena similar to Jack Kirby’s comic book creation. Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos is also similar to his original appearance in Sal Buscema and Peter Gillis’ Eternals #1. However, the rest have been completely changed.
- Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari is now female, black, and deaf.
- Kumail Najiana’s Kingo is now Indian instead of Japanese.
- Salma Hayek’s Ajak is now female, Hispanic, and Lebanese.
- Don Lee’s Gilgamesh is now Asian.
- And Lia McHugh’s Sprite is now female and a young girl.
The miscast of Kingo is such a waste especially when you think of those they could have put in the role instead. For example, Ken Watanabe has experience playing a samurai as seen in The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise. You also have Takeshi Kaneshiro who, if you have seen House of Flying Daggers, you know that he had the chops to bring Kingo to life.
YouTuber Eric July reacted to the casting news and the changes from Jack Kirby’s characters calling it “inexcusable.” July states, “And why is it inexcusable? Because there are mountains and mountains and mountains of god damn source material out there in which there are so many different characters, so many different fresh characters that you can create. All the black characters that Marvel could be bringing in, instead of tokenizing the ones that exist or bringing in tokenized characters, unoriginal characters. They are sitting on all of these other guys. The Brother Voodoos of the world…there’s too many different characters to choose from. It’s not just with them. It’s with other minority groups as well.”
What do you think of all of these changes with The Eternals? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!