With the latest James Bond film still in cinemas all across the globe, there has been much speculation and debate about the possibility of a black 007 to succeed Daniel Craig’s. Idris Elba is the most likely black actor to play the character. David Oyelowo has made the first step in that direction since he has been the first black actor to be the voice of the secret agent in the new audiobook version of the novel ‘’Trigger Mortis’’.
This has been the most recent example of color-blind casting (the casting of actors independent and not based on their ethnicity). The list is getting bigger and bigger as years go by. Here are some examples from the top of my mind: The Human Torch in the new Fantastic Four reboot, Perry White(!) in Man Of Steel, Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Heimdall in the Thor movies. The list goes on and on. I will note that all of these characters have been changed from white to black and are all fictional. The fact that all of these examples refer to black actors is coincidental. I’m just trying to make a point.
The problem lies, in my opinion, in the minimum representation of different ethnicities throughout the years in popular culture. Generally, it is part of the phenomenon of forced white domination in the field. This is the reason why, through political correctness, nowadays this effort is being made to right the wrongs of the past. Casting choices are very much oriented toward gender equality, as well. An example of this is the fact that the lead role in the new Star Wars movie belongs to a woman.
But things go south when this policy interferes with the character or the quality of the resulting product in general. For example, I believe that the casting of Mr. John Boyega in the new Star wars film had to do with his color. For some reason, it appeared forced(no pun intended), to me. Of course, that is my personal opinion.
And now let’s move on to the main attraction. Why shouldn’t a character like James Bond be changed to any other color or ethnicity? When a character, like 007, exists for so many years, is so dearly loved and has certainly passed into our collective consciousness he (or she) appears to obtain qualities of a living person or a historical figure. James Bond, for example, has become (in a way) an existing person as much as Martin Luther King was. He’s not ‘’just another character’’. Not anymore.
Having said that, would you want to see Martin Luther King as a white man? I don’t think so. First of all, because he was not white, secondly because his color defined him. He wouldn’t have been who he was if he wasn’t black. He wouldn’t have faced all these adversities, he wouldn’t have fought for all the things he did. The same goes for 007. He is who he is. Yes, there have been changes to the character throughout the years. For example, Sean Connery’s Bond used to slap women’s bottoms. That couldn’t possibly be part of him in 2016. There have also been changes to his physical appearance, like the fact that Daniel Craig is blonde. But these are minor changes that do not alter the character so profoundly, especially when there is so much talent involved.
I understand the importance of the effort to promote equality between genders and different ethnicities but let it be done the right way. There is nothing wrong with that. But don’t change things that should not be changed. For example, introduce more original characters of different ethnicities and more women in leading roles. And when you do, don’t do it for the sake of it (like i thought was done in the new Star Wars film). And don’t mess with existing ones you shouldn’t mess with.