Monday, February 10, 2014

Batman....with an all black cast?

A few days ago I came across a post posing an argument for why Batman could be black. Personally the inner purist in me rears its head over questions like this and I say I don't want to him to be turned black.

Why, you may ask? Because don't think black people, or any race, should handed an established hero for the sake of "diversity". The post I link to makes a good point that newcomer heroes have a hard time breaking ground in the comic book world. However with that in mind I don't think it's right to say that black characters should be allowed to bypass that hard time (because even white privileged Batman had to start somewhere) of development.

The post addresses that a bit near the end:
“Look, just create a completely separate black superhero, and put them in their own book, because that way I can easily ignore them. You make Bruce Wayne black, now I have to pay attention to his black ass and I really don’t like that idea.”
I think that's not the only problem with a black Batman's ass. Sure there will be fans that don't want to be bothered with the introduction of black racial awareness. However there will also be fans that will want to focus on nothing but the introduction of black racial awareness into the Gotham City mythos.

And to be frank I think if Batman were suddenly turned black that will be the day that it would stop being about the comics and about the race. How long would it be before there would be countless threads and posts arguing over if a black Batman is "black enough" (aka does he really embody the experience of black people) or if DC and the writers are "doing black right"?

Not only are there fans that want to keep the racial discourse out of their comics because they don't want to deal with them there is also danger from fans that want to use Batman as a soapbox to elevate their own talking points on race.

But anyway that's just some thinking on my part and this isn't what the title of the post is about so on with it.

Okay even though I would not be a fan of suddenly changing Batman to a black person I did take a few minutes months to site down and think about how I would change up the Batcast to an all black roster. For a few of them I have multiple possibilities which I will try to explain. Let me know what you think.

Batman - Now I know most people would just shout Idris Elba as he seems to be making his way onto everyone's tongues as the go to black guy for a just about any movie role but I think Micheal Jai White could do the role justice as well. White has played rough and tumble characters as well as cleaned up characters well which is something one needs in order to be both Bruce Wayne and Batman.

Alfred - With Elba and White pushing their early forties its going to take someone noticeably older to portray Mr. Pennyworth. I would go with either Ron Glass (Shepard Book from Firefly) or Giancarlo Esposito (Gustavo 'Gus' Fring from Breaking Bad). Glass seems a better fit since his past role as Shepard Book has already cast him as the "innocent looking old man that really knows some serious shit".

Nitewing -To play the role of Dick Grayson, former Robin who went solo to become Nitewing, I originally had Lee Thompson Young in mind but unfortunately he is no longer with us. I'm not sure who I'd recommend now.

Batgirl/Oracale - To play costumed heroine of the night turned hacker and information seeker extraordinaire Barbara Gordon (and back to costumed heroine in the New 52 reboot) Jurmee Smollett Bell could do either one. She's come a long way since her role in Eve's Bayou put her on the map.

Commissioner Gordon - Tyler Perry. Look I'm not a fan of his movies but from what I've seen of men who played Gordon in the past I think Perry could do it. Or maybe Don Cheadle? Point being you would want someone that is a bit older than Elba/White as Batman but not as old as Glass/Esposito as Alfred.

Joker - I have to admit I'm stumped on this one. On one hand I would want someone that is close to Elba/White in age but by doing so I think you would lose a lot of the sociopathic charm of the clown prince of crime. I am totally open to suggestions folks.

Harley - Bianca Lawson. Its interesting that she has played both a teenager (on Pretty Little Liars) and an adult (Teen Wolf) almost at the same time. I think the role of Harley would give Lawson a chance to really bust out and get wild.

Catwoman - Okay Halle Berry was a victim of a badly written and executed movie but I still wouldn't want her anywhere near this. I was gonna say Kerry Washington (of Scandal) but my girlfriend actually recommended Paula Patton. After seeing her in Ghost Protocol I think she might be a fit.

Poison Ivy - Sally Richardson-Whitfield. End of discussion.

Two Face - Omar Epps. After seeing his eight year run on House we have seen that he capable of shifting around on the moral spectrum. This flexibility would allow to make the drastically differing choices Two Face is known to make when he leaves everything from what to steal to who to kill in the hands of the coin the represents Fate itself.

Penguin - I was a little stumped on this one too. Maybe Anthony Anderson?

Riddler - Haven't heard from J. August Richards in a while and even with the in your face aggressive style he played as Gunn on Angel he also has several lawyer type roles under his belt so I can see him in a well made suit sitting back letting his brain do the talking....but making sure you know its his brain that outsmarted you.

Bane - WWE's Mark Henry. Now don't get me wrong. I liked that Tom Hardy's Bane from Dark Knight Rises. He had intelligence, fighting skills, and cleverness. What I didn't like is that he didn't have a physically imposing presence and that's the first thing that pops in my mind when I think of Bane.

Ra's al Ghul - Keith David. He has that authoritative voice that a man who is nearly immortal would have. Seriously listen to his Goliath voice on the old Gargoyles cartoon.

Talia al Ghul - Rosario Dawson. I really don't have a reason for this. It just popped into my head.

So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Have a character idea I didn't mention?