Writer Eddie Robson, who is credited by IMDB as a writer for Hollyoaks and Sarah & Duck, recently revealed the reason why Hollywood race and gender swaps iconic characters.
Robson’s comments came in response to comments made by Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four writer Dan Slott.
Slott posted to Twitter on May 6th, “When adapting comics to TV & movies, or rebooting comics today, there’s no reason to have the iconic characters be straight white men.”
He added, “The only reason they’re that way in comics is because they were created in the 30’s & 60’s when that was the default. It’s not the 60’s anymore.”
Slott would eventually clarify his tweet on May 7th writing, “There is nothing in this statement that says that comics SHOULDN’T be made with all new characters featuring super heroes who aren’t just straight white males.”
“It’s possible to BOTH things: To SHARE the icons and to CREATE new characters who represent all of us at the SAME TIME,” he wrote.
In response to the initial tweet, Robson tweeted, “And you always get people saying “Why not create new characters who aren’t straight white men?” missing the point that characters like that *are* being created all the time, but it’s hard for them to compete with famous, iconic characters with decades of history behind them.”
He followed that up with the revelation that race and gender swaps are to make “faster progress.” Although he doesn’t elaborate on what that faster progress is towards.
While he doesn’t elaborate, it’s pretty clear the erasure of straight, white male characters is part of that “progress.”
He wrote, “It’s a franchise-dominated landscape and you can’t just will new franchises into being. You’ll make much faster progress by diversifying the franchises that already exist.”
YouTuber YellowFlash made it clear this argument doesn’t really hold any water.
He wrote, “Manga seems to do it just fine. Maybe your creators are just horrible in the west.”
And manga is doing it a lot better than Marvel Comics and DC Comics. The latest NPD Bookscan numbers from April reveal the top 20 graphic novels in the United States are dominated by Japanese manga titles.
My Hero Academia Vol. 27 tops the chart. Other manga titles including Chainsaw Man, Jujutsu Kaisen, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba, Attack on Titan, Spy X Family, and Tokyo Ghoul also charted.
In fact, 19 of the top 20 graphic novels from April are all manga published by VIZ Media. The only title not published by VIZ Media is Attack on Titan Vol. 1, which is published by Kodansha. It’s also a manga.
There are no western comics on the top 20 adult graphic novel list for April.
Almost all of the titles were also published within the past decade. Demon Slayer was first published in 2016, Attack on Titan in 2021, My Hero Academia was first published in 2014, Jujutsu Kaisen and Spy X Family began in 2019, and Tokyo Ghoul was first published in 2017.
There are also plenty of other newer superhero stories as well that are getting adapted to film and TV. Just recently, Netflix released their adaptation of Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy.
And it’s not just superhero stories. Netflix has also adapted Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s Locke & Key series to a TV series. Rick Remender’s Deadly Class got a one season adaptation on SyFy.
Other more recent adaptations include Wynona Earp, The Walking Dead, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and Warrior Nun.
It’s pretty clear that new franchises are popping up quite often as seen in Japanese manga and anime as well as even in Hollywood.
However, as Just Some Guy points out, Hollywood writers like Robson want to “jack the audience of more popular characters.”
Just Some Guy critiques Robson saying, “The moment fans realize what you are doing to their beloved, iconic characters, they will bounce.”
He adds, “People ain’t sticking around while you tear down the stuff they care about. They know who the real characters are. And what you are presenting ain’t the real characters.”
And people are vacating franchises that are being radically transformed by Hollywood activist writers.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossed by $2.065 billion at the global box office. By Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker audiences abandoned the film as it only grossed $1.072 billion.
Maybe even more telling is that The Force Awakens had $191 million in domestic video sales, but The Rise of Skywalker only had $66 million.
Doctor Who saw it’s viewership numbers plummet with it’s most recent season finale in The Timeless Children. In fact, it was the least viewed episode of Doctor Who since Meglos: Part Three, which aired back in 1980.
It’s clear people will abandon franchises where Hollywood decides to insert their political agendas and drastically alter the characters to fit their warped version of what they want them to be.
However, they are also willing to embrace new franchises and new stories as Japanese manga and anime make clear.
What do you make of Robson’s comments?