In The Batman, Jeffrey Wright is the latest in a long line of actors to play Gotham City lawman James Gordon and is the first person of color to do so.
This makes him part of a trend of race swapping, and often gender-swapping, established characters for a cinematic take on decades-old source material.
It’s a trend that doesn’t sit well with certain people and there has been pushback against Wright’s casting for this reason, which he addressed in a recent tweet.
Twitter account Bacon Investor asked Wright, Do you think it’s really right for you to play James Gordon, because he used to be a good white person.”
Wright answered with a short video of Peter Sellers in The Pink Panther smashing a white Steinway piano that buckles under the force of his blow. Sellers quips “Not anymore” at the damage done to the priceless item.
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) January 28, 2022
It’s quite clear he’s being trolled but there are two ways to look at this. Wright is either acknowledging the slaying of a sacred cow and couldn’t care less or he is merely taking a sarcastic jab at the negative feedback. I lean more toward the latter, Wright’s politics notwithstanding, and fully knowing his views.
All that aside, Wright will (and should be) judged by the quality of his performance in what amounts to an Elseworld’s interpretation of the Dark Knight set apart from the rest of the DCEU where Gordon is still an aging Caucasian played by JK Simmons.
The Batman has a chance of actually being good; the real sad fact is it doesn’t look like we’re getting the Snyderverse back with sequels to the Snyder Cut of Justice League and Man of Steel 2.
Warner Bros. allegedly favors propping up the new Supergirl and Batgirl played by Sasha Calle and Leslie Grace to push a brighter, woker tone in the next DCEU phase (if you want to call it that).
Matt Reeves’ personal sandbox for Batman’s IP may shape up to be better than that, if only by comparison. The Batman already looks incredible but we’ll see for ourselves on March 4th.