Inverse’s Eric Francisco praised the retconning of classic G.I. JOE commando Snake Eyes after recent reports indicated that Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding would be cast to play the character.
Francisco begins his article stating, “Finally, we can stop pretending to believe that Snake Eyes is a white guy.” Interestingly enough he admits that Snake Eyes is a white man as revealed in Marvel Comics’ G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #93 back in 1995. Even more interesting is the fact that story was written by comics icon Larry Hama, who happens to be an Asian American. (Related: KT Roberts at The Independent: “Let’s Topple Every Pale, Male, and Stale Superhero Character We Can”)
However, Francisco falsely claims that Snake Eyes’ face has only been seen once in the comics. As noted previously and shown in Clownfish TV’s commentary above, Snake Eyes’s face is shown in G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #93.
However, his face would appear in subsequent issues of Hama’s Snake Eyes trilogy. Here’s a look at his face in issue #94.
And here he is again in issue #95.
Not only is his face shown in Hama’s Snake Eyes trilogy, but as Clownfish TV points out, “Actually, his face in the comics, multiple occasions they just always shadowed it…Actually, I remember the older issues of G.I. JOE, they always had Snake Eyes…You could tell he had blonde hair and fair skin. They always put a hat on him or something, so they covered his face. You never knew exactly how bad the damage was, but you knew he was a white dude.”
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Clownfish TV is correct. In G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero #27, Snake Eyes is seen without his iconic costume and is clearly a white man, whose face and hair are hidden by his hat.
Despite the fact that Snake Eyes has been a white man in the comics for years, Francisco states, “Casting an Asian actor (Golding is British-Malaysian) to portray Snake Eyes feels like a serious course-correction that feels long overdue.” This is certifiably wrong. It’s a major retcon of the character by a Hollywood studio.
Geeky Sparkles from Clownfish TV also notes, “Because obviously if its a martial arts person it has to be Asian. It has to be. That is like the biggest stereotype. You guys are just stereotyping the hell of it and then complaining about him being white. And how they are fixing it now to make it like our stereotype that we think it should be. That’s what you guys are just saying. If I could change the title, ‘They are Fixing Snake Eyes To Make Him a Stereotypical Asian Martial Arts Artists Because We Didn’t Like That He Was White.'”
She adds, “Course correction from what? Course correction for your stereotyping? Is that what’s wrong here? Because the ninja wasn’t a stereotypical Asian, it was a white guy. That’s what you’re pissed about? If it had been a black guy would you still want it to be course corrected to be an Asian so it would fit your stereotypes?”
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Larry Hama, who created Snake Eyes, issued the following statement explaining why Snake Eyes was white.
“Some people are saying that casting Golding “fixes” the character of Snake-Eyes, but I disagree. I had wanted to keep him ambiguous until HASBRO introduced Storm-shadow as the only Asian character and made him a bad guy. I decided to “fix” that by delving into his background and gradually turning him into a good guy. This is why Snake-Eyes is a white guy.”
The Hollywood Reporter indicates the Snake Eyes film will be directed by Robert Schwentke of the Divergent franchise. The script is reportedly written by Evan Spiliotopoulos. THR describes the film as “Snake Eyes seeking revenge for his father’s death by joining a ninja clan and in the process finding acceptance.”
What do you make of this casting for Snake Eyes? What do you make of Inverse claiming the casting is a “serious course correction?”