A Word on the Anna Diop Controversy
I haven’t written about the Anna Diop controversy yet, but it’s been bothering me to the point where I now have to do so.
Some fans were angry back when Diop was first cast as Starfire in Titans, and trust me, I get it. Too often we’ve seen studios go way outside the box and ruin the origins or appearances of great comic book characters. Take Fox’s casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/Human Torch in that horrendous Fantastic Four movie. There was fan backlash and deservedly so; Johnny Storm is an iconic Marvel Comics hero and it wasn’t just his appearance as a blonde haired blue eyed kid, but his origin was also changed. This had nothing to do with Jordan as an actor, as he’s since been totally embraced as Erik Killmonger in Black Panther. It had everything to do with the studio’s poor decision.
I was pessimistic when Zazie Beetz was cast as Domino in Deadpool 2, but I reserved final judgement until I saw the film. I’m glad I did because I would have been dead wrong; Zazie knocked it out of the park. Her Domino was one of the best parts of the movie.
It’s frustrating when a studio makes a decision that feels like they’re disregarding beloved sources material. I get it. I’m with you. This is poor business on their part because they should know by now that diehard fans are the lifeblood of superhero films and you need to keep them happy. To do otherwise is just being tone deaf to what your audience wants.
If you want to criticize the Titans trailer for looking like it was put together by a group of film school rejects, I won’t argue with you. I also agree that the costume designers made some questionable wardrobe decisions. And by questionable, I mean it’s questionable that they should ever be hired to design superhero wardrobe again.
But none of that is the actor’s fault. I don’t remember anyone attacking Jordan or Beetz personally when they were cast in their roles, but that’s exactly what’s happened with Anna Diop. It’s gotten so bad that she had to disable comments on her Instagram feed. And you know what people are upset about? Not that she's black, because of course, Starfire was black. But Diop is the wrong kind of black. Really?
Any offensive comments that have been directed at Anna Diop come from a place of racism and hatred, in my opinion. These are probably the same people who disowned Marvel Comics when they found out Iceman was gay. If you’re not happy that a character has been significantly changed, you have that right. But direct your ire at the studio, not the individual. Anna, as well as every other actor that’s been cast, simply has a job to do in bringing us her best possible interpretation of her character. Her being in that position isn’t her fault and the anger toward her is misdirected.
Give her a chance. She may be another who knocks it out of the park.