If it wasn’t enough that Black Adam was delayed again until October, the film is catching flak from folks working for Marvel for lacking representation in its cast.
Despite the fact the film’s lead is black and Samoan, its Hawkman is a person of color, its Cyclone is nonbinary, and the principal cast is rounded out by Persian Sarah Shahi and Tunisian Marwan Kenzari, that isn’t enough for one person.
That someone is Mohamed Diab, director of Disney Plus’s Moon Knight. The Egyptian-born filmmaker called out the production and Warner Bros. for not taking full advantage of an opportunity to represent people from his region of origin.
What really “annoyed” Diab, he stated in a Filfan interview transcribed by The Direct, was they didn’t set Black Adam in Egypt which he views as an excuse to avoid casting people from there.
“I was really annoyed with DC when they set Black Adam in a fictional middle eastern country as an excuse to cast non-Egyptians when it was obviously meant to be in Egypt,” he said.
Diab did acknowledge the Kahndaq setting is comic book canon. “Representation opportunities shouldn’t be wasted,” he added. “But it’s not a full mistake since it’s based on an iteration of the comics that doesn’t mention Egypt.”
Kahndaq has been around for a few decades now but Black Adam does retain connections to Teth Adam’s ancient Egyptian roots through the gods that supply his power and the ties Hawkman and Adrianna Tomaz have to the civilization.
With Moon Knight, Diab wanted to do the opposite and maintain more than a tacit connection to the culture so he sought out Egyptians to fill out his crew.
“I wanted to showcase Egyptian talents as much as I could. Every culture should be represented by its people so I hired actors, an editor, a costume designer, an art director and a composer who are all Egyptian,” he explained.
Still, Moon Knight came under fire for ignoring the Jewish heritage of Marc Spector in the series although this doesn’t bother some folks who wrote the character in the past.
“If [Moon Knight’s] not Jewish because there’s a good artistic reason he’s not Jewish, that’s perfectly OK. I don’t care,” said Moon Knight comic writer Alan Zelenetz to Jewish-American paper The Forward in defense of Diab and Disney’s creative decisions.
Zelentz added they are not bound by any origins and villain Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) won’t be the same character he created either.
Diab’s Black Adam comments were later stricken by Filfan along with any mention of them for undisclosed reasons.
Moon Knight premieres on Disney Plus on March 30th whereas Black Adam comes out on October 21st having previously been slated for July 29th.