It doesn’t make sense for Hasbro to think that people would confuse the Transformer Bumblebee with the DC Superhero Girls toy (and long-established DC comic book character) Bumblebee. But here we are with a lawsuit.
According to the Geeks of Color via Comic Book Resources, Hasbro is suing DC over the usage of the name “Bumblebee,” claiming that their Transformers character could be confused on toy shelves with DC’s Bumblebee, a black teenage girl doll.
The lawsuit is the definition of “trying it.” Not only would people never confuse Hasbro’s Bumblebee with DC’s Bumblebee, but it DC’s Bumblebee came first! The character first debuted in 1977, while Hasbro’s Bumblebee debuted in 1983, several years later.
Furthermore, the lawsuit is insulting to girls of color, black girls in particular. The idea of needlessly going after one of the dolls on the shelf that actually does cater to girls of color is insidious, even more so if Hasbro actually wins the lawsuit. The representation on the toy shelves is spotty at best; now a huge company is telling girls—whether they realize it or not—that a doll that speaks to empowerment might not matter and could be at risk for going away. In a small, but powerful way, that can tell a kid that they don’t matter and that their dreams for becoming great in life doesn’t matter. Sure, it’s one doll and one decision by a company, but small things add up, and over time, the collective feeling from life can have a person feeling like they actually don’t matter. If it sounds like the butterfly effect, it’s because it is.
Hopefully Hasbro drops this redonk lawsuit. If not, hopefully the judge will clown the company from here to kingdom come.
The internet went wild over the release of the official Justice League trailer, and it seems like the reaction has been all over the place. If the official Twitter Moment gives you any indication, there’s a camp that’s all about the movie, and a camp that’s not about Zach Snyder’s penchant for muddy blues and dark tones.
If that last sentence didn’t let you know, you can probably tell that I’m in the latter camp. Look, I want to like the movie a lot, but this color scheme doesn’t do anything for me. One thing I learned in art school was that if you take a picture you’ve drawn and you squint your eyes and all you see is one monochromatic color, then you don’t have enough light and dark tones in your piece and you need to add some differentiation STAT. You can do the same with this entire trailer, especially the fight scenes, and all you’d see is blue. I really don’t know what Snyder is trying to pull with this “color palette.”
Three good things we’re getting out of this film are The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman. I’ve been a fan of Ezra Miller since The Perks of Being a Wallflower, so I’m excited to see what he’s going to do with this character. I’m also excited to see what Hollywood newcomer Ray Fisher will do with Cyborg who was best defined for me during the character’s role in the Teen Titans cartoon show. And of course, if you’re a person who’s attracted to men and you have a pulse, your probably in the camp that wants that Jason Momoa Aquaman movie to come yesterday. As Jamie of Black Girl Nerds summed up:
— BlackGirlNerds🏳️🌈 (@BlackGirlNerds) March 25, 2017
I'm just praying that we get a ton of scenes Aquaman because Jason Momoa is a blessing pic.twitter.com/kYZkZFr4FU
— BlackGirlNerds🏳️🌈 (@BlackGirlNerds) March 25, 2017
Justice League who? pic.twitter.com/Hhl3HDFGRL
— BlackGirlNerds🏳️🌈 (@BlackGirlNerds) March 25, 2017
Want to see the trailer for yourself and form your own opinions? Here you go:
Now let me know what you think in the comments section!
With the culmination of the San Diego Comic-Con, we’ve been getting a lot of DC Comics movie franchise news. Some of which includes the new footage of the Justice League movie, featuring Batman (Ben Affleck), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), the Flash (Ezra Miller), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Superman (Henry Cavill).
With the introduction of DC’s superhero team, I started wondering—which movie franchise represents its diverse audience more?
Let’s take a look at some stats. According to the MPAA, the movie-going year of 2015 saw 23 percent of Hispanics and 11 percent of African-Americans going to the movie theaters, even though Hispanics only made up 17 percent of the population and African-Americans made up 12 percent. Similarly, Asian Americans and Americans of other ethnicities were 9 percent of the movie-going population, even though they only made up 8 percent of the total population. Even though white Americans go to the movies a lot, too–56 percent of them made up movie audiences last year–they go much less than non-whites, since they are 62 percent of the total population. With all of this said, it’s clear that if you’re non-white, more than likely you’re in a movie theater at some given point in time. This also means that a disproportionate percentage of the money generated by movies is from non-white pockets. Therefore, movie theaters should start catering to those dollars more than they already do.
In the movies department, it’s pretty clear that DC is about to school Marvel on using diversity as its opening act. Batman v. Superman‘s trailer had a frustrating scene for me–the scene in which a ton of extras with Westernized Dia de los Muertos-esque skeleton face paint revering Superman as a god. It looked a lot like the scene from Game of Thrones, with a ton of brown people exalting Khaleesi as their savior. In short, I didn’t like it. And to be fair, not many people liked the movie in its entirety. But, it appears that DC will still have the Marvel beat when it comes to catering to a wider majority of its audience.
Enter the footage for the Justice League.
Already, we have an overlapping group of a woman and three people of color (I’m including Gal Gadot in this group, hence the use of the word “overlapping”), and even though he’s not playing a gay character in the films, the Flash is played by Miller, who is gay in real life. Already, that’s a heck of a lot more inclusion than Marvel’s Avengers, which is majority white male (the only actual member of color is the Falcon, and the only woman is Black Widow).
DC also has Marvel beat when it comes to treating female characters like actual characters. People have been begging Marvel for years now to create a Black Widow movie, but cries had been falling on deaf ears until very recently, when Marvel finally announced that a Black Panther film and Black Widow film were going to be made. We have finally been getting tons of news about Black Panther, but a Black Widow film is still missing in action. However, the third movie in DC’s official movie franchise is Wonder Woman.
You can read my full thoughts here, but the short of it is that seeing a female superhero do her thing on the big screen is going to instill pride and hope in a lot of girls and women out there. It would behoove Marvel to do the same.
The diversity quotient is also high with Suicide Squad, which features women (in general) in various roles, but the film also prominently features people of color as the heroes (including Will Smith, Viola Davis, Margot Robbie, Cara Delevingne, Karen Fukuhara, Adam Beach, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuouye-Agbaje, and Common).
Of course, someone could say, “Well, it’s cruelly ironic that the heroes of Suicide Squad are the evil guys, and that over half of the evil guys are people of color.” Yeah, it is cruelly ironic. But let’s contrast this to Ant-Man, which was also about bad guys becoming the good guys. Except with Ant-Man, Paul Rudd was the genius who actually acted like a genius a good portion of the time. Ant-Man’s friends, played by T.I., Michael Peña, and David Dastmalchian, were supposed to be geniuses, too, but they frequently acted like racially-charged buffoons, characters who seemed to be the brainchild of someone who believed non-white people actually act like stereotypes in real life. It was clear the Rudd’s character was the cool, calm, and collected leader, even though they were all supposed to be on the same level of intelligence. Sure, a lot of non-white people are the bad guys in Suicide Squad, but at least they all seem to be written to exist on the same level. They seem to all have their own individuality. There’s also the case of Smith’s character Deadshot in the leadership position, a change of pace from Marvel’s status quo. Also great is that Davis is the one in charge of all of them.
Marvel’s films are also failing in another area: proper representation of race. Marvel is quick to tout it’s “diversity” in terms of how many black people they hire for films. They’re especially doing that now, what with Black Panther and the Netflix show Luke Cage. But it took ages for Marvel to finally commit to Black Panther, and before they finally committed, bogus statements had been put out regarding their indecision, such as how supposedly hard it would be to create a realistic Wakanda, even though Marvel had already made Thor, which featured another non-existent locale, Asgard.
— JoBlo.com (@joblocom) July 24, 2016
Second, it’s not like Marvel has ever had a character of color lead a film until Black Panther; the Marvel universe has had enough longevity to be able to put out several movies with characters of color as the leads, but instead, they’ve constantly resorted to the “goofy, yet smart white male” lead, which makes almost every movie in the latter half of Phase 2 feel like the same movie, just retold with varying degrees of success.
Third, the characters of color the films do have are always in secondary positions. The Falcon has since become Captain America in the comics, but in the films, Falcon is relegated to Captain America’s buddy; I dare say he was relegated to mere “sidekick” in Captain America: Civil War, because Sam all-too-readily agrees to follow Cap into the sunset, even without fully hearing Cap’s plan or questioning Cap’s decision to become a fugitive. Rhodey is a great character, but even still, he’s Iron Man’s buddy. Nick Fury is the most powerful man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but sometimes even he is treated like an outside force, a character that is “important,” but is merely a guise to lure audiences into believing that the black characters in the Marvel Universe are treated better than they actually are. Heimdall is also powerful, but as some have said online, they felt Heimdall was nothing more than a glorified doorman, not the all-mighty keeper of the universe and its alternate dimensions.
Marvel also lets down audience members in general by asserting the reductive conclusion that black people equal “diversity,” when there are a lot of people Marvel are leaving out of the conversation. Case in point: Doctor Strange. If you read my online roundtable discussion about Doctor Strange, you’ll find that quite a few people are upset by the lack of foresight given when casting the title character and the Ancient One as white people. Also lacking in foresight was the decision to “add diversity” by casting Chiwetel Ejiofor and Benedict Wong as Doctor Strange’s…I don’t know…helpers. Again, Marvel assumes the hierarchy of characters should be that people of color fall back as sidekicks or magical helpers, while white characters assume the “default hero” character role. Marvel has also failed when it comes to representing Latinos, people of the Middle East, South and East Asians, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and black women. I’m sure I’m missing some other groups as well.
If the only other non-white, non-black Marvel character is Michael Peña’s character from Ant-Man, then it’s clear Marvel’s doing something wrong when it comes to fully representing fleshed-out versions of all Americans. The kicker is that they have representations of fleshed-out characters of color in their comics right now. Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man are two such examples. When are we going to see live-action projects featuring them? How many more white dudes with powers are we going to have to see on the big screen? Black Panther can’t be the only time we see a majority non-white cast in a Marvel film.
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) July 24, 2016
DC might have gotten their act together slowly, but they are coming out of the gate swinging with possibilities. We’ve already got Wonder Woman coming, and Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg films have already been scheduled for 2018 and 2020. In building a franchise, it would appear DC has been studying Marvel’s failures as well as Marvel’s successes, and it seems like the franchise is planning on welcoming more people to the table.
However, Marvel seems to be slowly getting the message, since they have already cast Brie Larson as Captain Marvel for her own standalone movie:
— Fandango (@Fandango) July 24, 2016
And the cast of Spider-Man: Homecoming has been surprisingly multicultural (the film includes Donald Glover—who had campaigned to play Peter Parker years ago—Zendaya, Hannibal Buress, Tony Revolori, Garcelle Beauvais, Bokeem Woodbine, Abraham Attah, Kenneth Choi, Tiffany Espensen, Laura Harrier, and is rumored to also feature Selenis Leyva). The film has already had to face its share of whitewashing accusations when it comes to the casting of Michael Barbieri as an original character based on Ganke Lee, who, in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, is Miles Morales’ Korean-American best friend. But have they revamped that decision, based on this picture of the cast?
— Best of Marvel (@thebestofmarvel) July 24, 2016
Despite their flubs, Marvel is working on rectifying their current lack of focus when it comes to representing their huge audience, baby step by stuttering baby step,. If Marvel starts getting serious about showcasing LGBT characters too, then I’d be absolutely convinced Marvel has learned its lesson from past mistakes.
What’s fascinating is that while Marvel has a ton of issues to get out of its system when it comes to the movie franchise, the same can’t be said of its TV and Netflix offerings. Such as Luke Cage, which offers up the politically-charged image of, as showrunner Cheo Coker told Vanity Fair, “a bulletproof black man.” Whatever is going on in Marvel’s TV department needs to filter into the movies department. But I’ll write more on the TV side of both the DC and Marvel universes in another post.
If you have thoughts about the movie and/or TV branches of either universe, feel free to discuss in the comments section!
I’ll be the first to admit I had my share of reservations about Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, not to mention Zack Snyder was going to have his influence on the film. But I can eat crow, and I say that after watching the Wonder Woman San Diego Comic-Con trailer, I am fully onboard with this film.
Here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen it yet:
Now, here’s why I’m onboard. Wonder Woman was the first mainstream female superhero in comics, and she’s making history again as the first female superhero to helm her very own film. Seeing Wonder Woman in action soothes an ache I didn’t know I had within. Seeing a woman take on Man’s World—and owning it—is something so refreshing and, in a petty way, I’m glad it’s going to threaten some male viewers out there. It’s about time some of those folks realize that women deserve to showcase their might, both on the screen and in real life.
Seeing Wonder Woman do her thing on screen also hits home with how I was raised. Without getting into the nitty gritty, I was raised to believe that I was just as powerful as a man, if not more so. I was raised to believe in myself and not to count myself out just because a man might be in a position I want or have more resources than me. But just because I was raised like that doesn’t mean that other girls were raised like that. A film like Wonder Woman matters because for many girls out there, Wonder Woman will be the first person to let them know that they are somebody in this world, that they can be just as powerful as their father, uncles, and brothers. Wonder Woman will be that voice that tells them they should honor the Amazon spirit within them and fight for themselves and their self-worth. Wonder Woman will tell them that they belong in this world.
So congrats to DC Comics with this trailer. Looks like Wonder Woman is going to be fantastic. What do you think of the trailer? Give your opinions in the comments section below!
There are a ton of pictures and trailers that have the interwebs buzzing. Let’s get into it.
It’s Saturday, and it’s time for some promos, trailers, and posters!
There’s quite a bit of casting news from this and last week. Here we go.