Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn recently replied to a number of people questioning why he chose to gender-swap Cosmo the Spacedog in the film.
Cosmo the Spacedog was first introduced in Nova #8 back in January 2008. In his first appearance, Nova greets Cosmo saying, “Hey? Hey, boy? Good dog. What are you trying to tell me fella?”
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The character would be gender-swapped in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 with James Gunn explaining to an inquiring Twitter user that the change was done “because Cosmo is based on Laika, the Russian dog, who was a female, so I gender-swapped her back.”
Another Twitter user questioned Gunn’s logic writing, “But it makes no sense why to change it. Keeping it wasn’t inaccurate as the comic is a male dog It serves no purpose to change it. The original comic was a male dog you are not ‘changing it back’ because it was never a female in the first place. Only inspired by.”
Gunn replied, “I’d rather honor the real dog who died in outer space. Cosmo would not exist without Laika. By the way, I changed Mantis, Drax, High Evo, and others from humans to aliens, which seems a bigger change. Why does it upset you so much?”
Gunn’s explanation that Cosmo would not exist without Laika is also false given Krypto, Superman’s canine companion, first appeared in 1955 in Adventure Comics #210. Laika was born in 1954 and did not fly in low orbit until November 3, 1957.
There were also two other dogs trained for flight aboard Sputnik 2 including Belka and Mushka. Belka would eventually take flight on Sputnik 5 alongside Strelka and return alive. Mushka traveled to space on Sputnik 6 alongside Pchyolka, but would be killed when the Soviets triggered the remote self-destruct after a reentry error.
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Nevertheless, there have been criticisms of Gunn’s other changes to character. Most recently the race swap of High Evolutionary was criticized. Gunn defended race-swapping the character back in March after he shared a photo of actor Chukwudi Iwuji in costume as the character to his Instagram account.
An Instagram user commented on 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.”
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Gunn replied to the user accusing him of having “racist presumptions.” 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.)”
On top of this, Gunn previously made it clear in the lead up to the release of The Suicide Squad film that he changes white characters because there are too many white superheroes and he wants superheroes to “reflect our world.”
A user wrote commented on one of Gunn’s Instagram posts, “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 replied, “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.”
What do you make of Gunn’s explanation for gender-swapping Cosmo the Spacedog? Do you believe his explanation or do you think this is more of James Gunn exhibiting wokeness?
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