James Gunn, the current CEO of DC Studios and the director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, took to Instagram to accuse a fan of having “racist presumptions” for decrying the race swap of the High Evolutionary in the upcoming Marvel film.
Gunn shared a photo of actor Chukwudi Iwuji, who plays the High Evolutionary in the upcoming film, to his Instagram writing, “Can’t wait for you all to meet this guy.”
One fan responded to the post writing, “Damnit… another white guy they made into a black guy. Why couldn’t they just leave him white or i dont know…pick a different minority? How about Asian or gasp! A Latino?(how many Latinos and Asians in MCU? Like total of 5??) Or make him an Indian or something… because they don’t and won’t, that makes them ‘woke’.”
The user continued, “Next time, a major character (hero/villain) will be a trans or homosexual or non-binary (when in comics they are not). Sad and pathetic. They’re picking based on race and whats PC and not on acting and whats established.”
Gunn responded to this comment by falsely accusing the user of being a racist.
He wrote, “I chose the best actor, period, and the best person for the role. I don’t give a s**t what ethnicity Chukwudi Iwuji is, so stop with your racist preseumptions on WHY he was chosen. (And, by the way he’s playing a guy who’s almost always purple in the color.)
It’s ironic that Gunn not only accuses this fan of having racist presumptions, but he thinks this fan is so stupid to believe that The Walt Disney Company doesn’t have quotas when it comes to casting.
The casting quota was published right on The Walt Disney Company’s Reimagine Tomorrow website where it stated, “By 2022, 50% of regular and recurring characters across Disney General Entertainment scripted content will come from underrepresented groups.”
It’s also quite galling to claim that he actually chose the best actor and best person for the role when he chose not to have Henry Cavill continue in the role of Superman for his upcoming Superman: Legacy film.
Gunn claimed he didn’t fire Cavill, but instead tried to spin the firing by saying “Henry was never cast.” He told The Hollywood Reporter, “We didn’t fire Henry. Henry was never cast.”
He then relayed, “For me, it’s about who do I want to cast as Superman and who do the filmmakers we have want to cast. And for me, for this story, it isn’t Henry.”
It’s really odd that his answer for why he didn’t continue with Henry Cavill as Superman had nothing to do with him finding the best actor and person for the role. It seems apparent that didn’t play a factor in his decision to give Cavill the boot.
YouTuber Eric July also noted while discussing the race swap of Hawkman in Black Adam that the claim they got the best person for the job for a race-swap role is a load of bunk.
He explained, “Those familiar with the industry you know how precise they are with their casting. This stuff doesn’t happen on accident. Doesn’t happen as often as it does, recently, by accident. This is something that they wanted to do and they always do.”
“And it’s because of the fact that they feel as if they have to do it,” he continued. “James Gunn admitted it. He admitted it…He specifically stated that something like 95% of the heroes, superheroes are white so they have to do this. So it can be a reflection of our world today. That’s why they do it. So he’s telling you that this is an effort that they try. They try to do this when they cast. It’s not an accident.”
“It’s not, ‘Well, he was just the perfect Hawkman or this person was just the perfect person to play the character. They embodied what we envisioned the character to be.’ No, that was not the case. That had never been the case. It never was the case. They have these guys playing these roles, they have them playing the roles by way of purpose. They went out of their way to do it,” he reiterated.
July is referencing Gunn’s comments he made in the lead up to the release of The Suicide Squad.
Conradcutty stated in a comment on Gunn’s Instagram, “then make new black comic book characters, or bring back old ones. Making white characters black isn’t solving the problem. I’m on your side man, I think there should be more black super heroes. But when you start taking white super heroes and changing their race/gender for sole purpose of being ‘diverse’ its just kinda sad.”
Gunn responded, “That’s pretty simple. Because 95% of all superheroes have historically been white it makes sense as we start adapting them to film in the modern era that some characters who were originally white become another ethnicity to more accurately reflect our world. In most cases, it would not make sense to take a character originally another ethnicity and make them white because there are already so many white superheroes.”
This response makes clear that Gunn’s comments about Iwuji being the best actor and best person for the role are circumspect at best. He’s clearly admitting to race swapping simply to “reflect our world.”
On top of this, Chukwudi Iwuji can’t be the best actor for the role because as the fan points out he doesn’t look like the character.
The High Evolutionary or Herbert Edgar Wyndham was clearly a white man who lived in the suburbs of London, England as depicted in X-Factor Annual #3.
He would eventually craft his iconic suit after being attacked by a werewolf while conducting his experiments in a citadel of science located at Mount Windagore.
Accusing a fan of having “racist presumptions” because they want a character to be accurate to the comics is a clear red flag for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The Walt Disney Company has attempted this tactic on numerous occasions, almost all of them trying to deflect from a poor quality product as specifically showcased with the Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
Tis tactic isn’t just used by The Walt Disney Company, Amazon attempted to follow their lead with The Rings of Power, and like Obi-Wan Kenobi series the quality was clearly lacking there as well.
It also clearly reveals that David Zaslav made a huge mistake by hiring Gunn as the CEO of DC Studios. If he’s willing to attack people for wanting an accurate depiction of the source material over a Marvel film, it’s more than likely he will deploy this same tactic at DC.
And if the past decade has shown us anything, this type of behavior results in people walking away from your projects, one need only look at the state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the most recent box office returns for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. And for Zaslav this could mean more losses and more debt for an already beleaguered company.