Stan Lee has finally spoken out about the Twitter campaign that’s been going on for some time to get Donald Glover, an African-American actor who’s currently on Community, to play Spider-Man in the movie reboot. You can listen to the entire statement here but the major points Lee made were:
- “I don’t ever want to make it sound like I’m trying in any way to influence the Marvel people as to who to cast in any roles. That isn’t my job.”
- “We’ve already had the Kingpin in ‘Daredevil’ portrayed by a black man [Michael Clarke Duncan], where he was white in the comics, and we’ve had Nick Fury portrayed by a black man [Samuel L. Jackson] where he was white in the comics. But not that many people had seen these characters—not that many moviegoers are familiar with them.”
- “Everybody seems to be familiar with Spider-Man, so I say that it isn’t that it’s a racial issue—it’s just that it might be confusing to people. But that’s a matter for the people at Marvel to take into consideration. I certainly don’t want to weigh in on it in any way except to say I think Glover is a fine actor.”
I agree with Mr. Lee that it wouldn’t be a racial issue if Marvel doesn’t want to consider African-American actors for Spidey. It’s more about how we’ve always envisioned him. If the Wonder Woman movie ever gets made, I wouldn’t want a blond actress playing her (well, she’d have to dye her hair or don a wig), not because I’m a blondist but because the image of the brunette WW has been ingrained in me since I was a kid and I don’t want it messed with. I wouldn’t want a waifish actress, either, because WW is curvy and strong. And she’d have to wear the red, white and blue suit; they absolutely cannot put her in some black, sleek leather outfit like they’re considering for Thor. A commenter (who says he’s black) at scifiwire.com said he would find a black Spidey confusing, just as he would if a white man plays Shaft.
My informal poll: Are there certain characters (not just superheroes) whose image is inviolable to you?