In recent months, Disney has come under fire from the internet for its casting choice in some of its most popular movies. The first controversy came when Disney announced the casting for its new live-action remake of The Little Mermaid (2023). Ariel will be played by Halle Bailey, who is African American. Disney and Bailey faced almost immediate backlash for the decision from the internet.
To her credit, Bailey responded with class and dignity, saying:
With all of the commentary and people’s opinions going on, it just reminds me to be number one, grounded and grateful that I have this opportunity. I know what it would’ve meant to me as a little girl to have been able to see a Black Ariel when I was younger. If I would’ve seen that, it would have changed my whole outlook on life.
And just last week, Disney faced backlash again for its casting decision, this time in the new live-action Peter Pan and Wendy. A trailer for the film was released in early March, and some people online were upset that an African American woman would play Tinker Bell. Yara Shahidi, star of the ABC show, Black-ish, will star in the film as Pan’s sidekick fairy.
Now, the internet outrage has found its way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Writer/Director James Gunn sent a tweet introducing the world to the High Evolutionary, Rocket’s creator and the villain of the new Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Chukwudi Iwuji, a Nigerian-born British actor, is playing the role.
One troll went right after Gunn, accusing him of “picking him based on race and what’s PC and not acting and what’s established.”
But Gunn was having none of that. He immediately shot back:
I chose the best actor, period, and the best person for the role. I don’t give a shit what ethnicity Chukwudi Iwuji is, so stop with your racist presumptions on WHY he was chosen. (And, by the way, he’s playing a guy who’s almost always purple in the color).
Gunn, with the help of the rest of the internet, is correct in pointing out that the High Evolutionary is purple in most of the comics in which he appears. A fact that was seemingly lost on the online trolls.
Can’t wait for you all to meet this guy. #GotGVol3 #HighEvolutionary pic.twitter.com/hiFf6DPLyW
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 6, 2023
Gunn has been at the helm as writer and director of all three Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Last year, Gunn and Peter Safran were named Co-Chairmen and CEOs of DC Studios. The third installment of Guardians of the Galaxy comes out on May 5, 2023.
We will update you on this and all Disney-related stories at Disney Fanatic.