Nadria Tucker, the writer on Superman & Lois who was recently let go from the show’s writing team and and proceeded to vent her frustrations towards the production on social media, has revealed that she called for the raceswapping Superman’s Earth parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent.
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In an interview with writer and film critic Jonita Davis, in which Davis and Tucker discussed the writer’s experience working on the show, the writer detailed how she “pushed for diversity in the beginning with some of the castings of Martha and Jonathan Kent.”
“Because they’re Superman’s adoptive parents, they can be literally anything in the world,” Tucker reasoned, before proceeding to note that the idea received significant resistance in the writers’ room. “And so, we got pushed back on that.”
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Tucker would then comment that the Kents “were cast, with, I’m sure, with some great actors.” However, the jury may still be out on that because, as of writing, no casting decisions have been announced regarding the iconic adoptive parents of Krypton’s last son, though the writer does note that “Martha ended up having to be recast.”
“Again, we pushed for diversity. Again, we’re ignored,” stated Tucker. “Stuff like that just adds up, and you see the results on the screen.”
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When pressed by Davis on who she was referring to with her description of a collective ‘we’, Tucker shared how she and “several black writers, several female writers,” who were below her in the “very strict hierarchy” of the writers room, brought their concerns to the “showrunner and the people above me”.
She would then detail how she “complained about everything,” such as “what vehicle the villain drives”, reasoning that “this is [what writers do,] we argue about this stuff all day.”
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“This is the job. I have things to say. I have an opinion,” she continued. “Some of those things are, trivial kinds of plot points that don’t matter, like again, what kind of vehicle the villain drives. And then, some of them are a bit bigger and do matter a little bit more.”
Tucker also explained the contention over a respective episode draft and outline she had written, noting that while she received relatively normal “notes on my draft and outline”, the showrunner ultimately found that they were “not up to what he needed for a writer at my level”.
Though she admits that she didn’t face any particularly major or critical response towards her works, it came up as a sticking point when her contract was not renewed.
In a Twitter thread posted following her dismissal from the show’s crew, she described how she had spent her time “flagging #metoo jokes in dialogue,” “defending the Bechdel test” , “pitching stories for female characters that went ignored”, and “fighting to ensure the only Black faces on screen aren’t villains”, a curious point considering how every CW show, from Arrow to Flash to Supergirl to Riverdale, prominently feature non-villianous black individuals.
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Tucker is a vocal proponent of the ‘defund the police’ movement and a prominent supporter of Black Artists for Freedom, a group who advocate an institutional severing of ties with law enforcement as well as a broad sense of freedom independent of “a yardstick of Blackness chosen by others,” “dominant institutions,” and audiences “narrowed in advance.”
However, it seems that Tucker is not alone in her assessment that the failure to recast the Kents as people of color is a missed opportunity, as Screen Rant writes “it is disheartening to hear Superman & Lois didn’t get the memo…the show could’ve broken new ground within the DC world and perhaps could’ve even provided a new layer to Clark’s home life.”
“Unfortunately, Superman & Lois will have to do more to create an inclusive space that Clark himself would be proud of,” ScreenRant concludes.
Superman & Lois premieres on February 23, 2021, on The CW.
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