Arrowverse maestro, and EP of Titans and Doom Patrol, Greg Berlanti recently discussed revamping characters to reflect the times we’re in.
He participated in Variety’s Virtual TV Fest this week where he said heroes should look and feel like they come from today, not the 40s and 50s.
Berlanti added there is a responsibility that comes with bringing “iconic characters into this generation.”
“In the DC Universe especially, there’s been a focus on us recognizing that we want to create heroes that look and felt like today, not the 1940s or 1950s. They were all very well intentioned when they created those back then, but there’s a certain responsibility that you have if you’re going to escort these iconic characters into this generation to make sure they have the heart of that character, but they don’t have to have the gender or the color of that character or the sexuality.”
All American showrunner Nkechi Okoro Carroll also took part in the conversation. She had this to say about the riots and protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death and support for Black Lives Matter:
“That unfortunate perfect storm created a moment where people couldn’t deny what was happening in this country anymore. Because of that and because of the magnitude of the response we’ve seen, it does feel different. … The speed with which so many companies, networks, studios, other entertainment entities put out statements in support of Black Lives Matter is not something we saw before.”
Carroll then claimed, “That’s also not enough.” She further stated, “The days of me using my nice words are done because we’re at a crisis point.”
Wanting more black voices in the industry, she continued, “There aren’t enough Black executives in positions of power in this industry.”
Of writers, Carroll called hiring a Black writer “a twofer.” She stated:
“When you hire a Black writer, we say you get a twofer, because we can write your stories because we’ve had to survive in that world and figure out how to assimilate and live in it. Then we can write our stories because of our truth.”
Berlanti has made diversity a priority at The CW. Since the beginning, characters have been race- and gender-swapped or altered slightly.
White in the comics, Iris West and her family are black on The Flash. Jimmy (or James) Olsen and his sister were made African-American for Supergirl, a show with a transgender castmember, Nicole Maines.
Batwoman might arguably be Berlanti and CW’s biggest push for diversity between its female showrunner – Caroline Dries – and an array of LGBT characters. Next season’s new lead, Ryan Wilder, may wind up portrayed by a woman of color.
Stargirl star Anjelika Washington – who plays a high-school-age version of the Elizabeth Chapel Doctor Midnight – remarked recently as well on Berlanti’s idea of “responsibility” with updating characters.
Talking with ComicBook.com, Washington said:
“I didn’t have anyone who looked like me playing a superhero when I was a kid. So, for generations that are coming up and I love bringing this new, fresh take to her because we’re all… All of our characters are a lot younger, we’re more naive, we’re not super informed and educated on the JSA or even just superheroes in general, in Blue Valley.”