Black Thor Actor Talks About Racist Comic Book Fans

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Dear racists and bigots. Grow up.

to me this particular instance is more like ultimate nick fury; he was originally white, but he is just as awesome in his black incarnation, so it doesnt bother me.

there are plenty of instances of arbitrary casting racial diversity in hollywood though, so i certainly understand where the complaints are coming from; this isnt the first black viking. given that he is both a god and that this is marvel and not a direct retelling of norse mythology, him being black is a bit weird maybe, but the popular opinion seems to be that he acts the role well, which is whats important.

as a matter of fact, he is a welcome foil to surfer-boy thor.

Alphavillain:
I don't think the western (especiallly U.S.) media is very left-wing

ahahaha

good one
the casting is just another example in the long line of PC casting, he wasn't cast beacose he was the best actor, he was cast beacose he needed a black guy somewhere otherwise all the hollywood liberals would whine

but I do find it funny to see all the people who complained and started internet campaigns about avatar casting now totaly supporting this
good old hypocrisy

Casting a black guy as a Norse god is retarded. 99% of Vikings probably didn't even know that black skinned people even exist.
That's like making a film about Shaka Zulu and having a blonde, american guy play the role.

This has nothing to do with racism by the way. I'm all for Obama'2012!

Tiamat666:
Casting a black guy as a Norse god is retarded. 99% of Vikings probably didn't even know that black skinned people even exist.
That's like making a film about Shaka Zulu and having a blonde, american guy play the role.

This has nothing to do with racism by the way. I'm all for Obama'2012!

I agree 100% with u.
Also, if they were going to go "all races in" why didnt they casted a latinamerican as one of Thor god-friends or as Loki, and an Indian as Odin?
Idk, if they had a "must put a color guy in the formula" they could easyly make the old guy doctor a guy of color; it would have made a lot more sense, than having a black viking god.

I liked his performance, but it was odd, as well as the asian guy colorfuly put in the movie by one of the Shiled agents as "Jakie Chan" lol.

Or now the odd trend to put gays everywhere.

Puzzlenaut:

Tin Man:

Puzzlenaut:
Think of it this way:

Although you might think "yeah, I'm fine with that. Doesn't really affect anything all that much" (my view), imagine if instead a character who was always black (the Black Panther or Luke Cage for example) was cast as a white person. There would be absolute uproar!

Firstly, it would of course depend ENTIRELY on the story and the backdrop. If the character being a certain race was tied directly to the character, then yeah, shouldn't be messed with. But, in this case, Heimdall being white has nothing to do with anything, so yeah.

Secondly, people that make this kind of statement rarely realise how racist it really is. "WE'RE fine with it, we're the mature and level headed bunch, but if the tables were turned those ethnics would be going batshit!".

Says who?

It wouldn't necessarily be black people going batshit over said hypothetical scenario -- it would be anybody who loves political correctness. I had however meant to put in my post words pretty much to the effect of your first point, which would pretty much counter-act your second.

Heimdall's ethnicity doesn't affect his character at all, whereas with those characters I mentioned it has a massive amount to do with their backstory and how their character as a person works -- both, especially the Black Cat, have been at the end of racism in the stories they are in.
On the other hand, having a character like Blade, who could just as easily be white without his story being affected all, I honestly still think there would be something of an uproar from the politic-correctness-types, whilst I'm not even sure the black community would care.

Ah, well then I'm not stubborn enough to be a straight up fool, even on the internet... I admit I thought you meant ethnic group X would be the source of said uproar, as opposed to just people who are heavily PC(i.e. twats).

I DO still think that people that presume a touchy reaction from group X(be it women, races, whatever) are being condescending, but I cheerfully withdraw the inference at you in particular.

Good day sir =]

I thought he looked cool in the trailer. Why would people care? It's a movie adaptation of a comic about magic space viking gods. But because real life Nordic people were all white there's a problem?

Whatever. People have no whimsy anymore.

I feel dirty. When I first started reading this article I was actually sitting right on the fence of this issue. I mean, back during the time of polytheism I seriously doubt there was a single black man that lived in the norse. And no, I'm not racist. If there was a white man in Egypt during this time I'd probably be bitching about the same thing. If the character wasn't a norse god I really wouldn't care what colour he was. Heck, I usually don't even care if you change someones colour completely due to casting.

But I'm afraid I have troubles imagining anyone in the norse even having a tan. I mean, these are the pastiest guys in the world. But all the same I guess I don't exactly care because this IS a god we're talking about, why wouldn't he be black? Maybe he just got tired of being a lame white man and decided it was time to be cool just for once in his life. Then again, why in gods name don't we have a transvestite god? That would be pretty interesting.

But enough with my own opinion. It's for me to prosecute some morons.

This 'liberal agenda' bull shit has seriously got to stop. Guys, you're not being intelligent when you make these great conspiracy theories. If anything you're just making your selves sound paranoid and delusional. I mean, you're with Fox News and Drudge report, probably the greatest two propaganda-bullshit-spewing sites of our time.

'Filthy culture of judaism'

I wonder what these morons are smoking. What does a black guy playing a norse god have ANYTHING to deal with Judaism?

You know, if they were actually trying to portray a real culture or society, I would get upset at them for casting people of the wrong ethnicity (for instance, it really annoys me when they have a movie set in Japan and cast all Chinese people), but in this case I think all that really matters is that he looks awesome, and he does. Besides even the most basic knowledge of how colors work would tell you that a white guy would never look as good in that outfit (it's a matter of how well the skin tone offsets all that gold).

sorry, double post. Thought the site ate it the first time, but I was apparently mistaken.

Here are some issues:
1. Even though they ARE aliens, the general assumption would be that the Marvel Norse would have made note of a black god.
2. Stop changing comics characters. Nick Fury works purely because it made him more awesome, but in other places it's dreadfully unnecessary.
3. If there was a comic about African deities and the movie retconned a few of them to be white, you bet your ass there would be outrage AND lawsuits.

I will say that I have some minor objections, but let it be known that I would not identify with either of the primary whiners, I am whining in a different category quietly.

Because of my ignorance of Marvel's version of Norse mythology up to this point outside of comic scans that I noticed on Google image searches that I wasn't looking for (and because I played Ensemble Studio's Age of Mythology), it did strike me as odd that this decision was made. I've gathered that he's actually an alien, and that his acting kicked ass, so I have no complaints over that.

Actually, me bothering to complain at all is a bit silly seeing as how everyone else has already said anything that I wanted to say. Anyway, all of this is done and only another marvel universe re-boot will change it. My bet is on it happening in 8 years.

After seeing the movie I can honestly say he was the best thing in it. And the whole idea like brought up in the original post is that the Norse Gods were aliens from another dimension who came to earth and were worshipped by the Norse. The Norse didn't make them up so they could be any colour they want.

It honestly disgusts me that this is even as major an issue as it is. Loki also has black hair rather than Giger as in mythology, where's the people up in arms over this?

ive just read the article i thinck that is a piss poor reason to hate on some one.As a comic fan of the thor comics hemidall is one of the characters that i really like and i really dount care what race or what skin coulour the acter has that plays him as long as he does a good job and not mess it up.But to hate an acter or any one based on the skin couler is just a stupied and pointless thing.Come on pepole it the 21st century grow up and stop hateing on peple soly for the skin coulour.

At least it's not as bad as the casting for Avatar: the Last Airbender. Observe:

image

Personally, I am still sort of against this casting role. Partially because I'm not sure if I know what his past work is, so at first glance I get a cynical feeling that he's thrown in as a token actor. But also because (despite what some of you may say) race IS part of a characters profile, their description. If you're going to change that you should treat it just as seriously as changing any other part of them.

It would be like (I don't know) making Captain America black. Sure it could work, but at the end of the day the character Steve Rogers is not black.

But on the other hand, he's not a major character as far as I'm aware, so him being in it is not as objectionable as my Captain America example. When it gets right down to it though, I shall save my judgement for when I see the movie. If he turns out to be a good actor, then everything will be fine.

Oh, and to all of you who are branding anyone who says anything on the issue a racist? I whole heartedly tell you to shove it.

So I haven't seen the movie yet, and I still intend to as soon as possible. I'm Swedish and viking mythology is part of my background and I'm heavily into it. Seriously, we had children's books with the tales of Asgard :) .
Like I said, I haven't seen the movie yet. The actor is probably great for the role, and I would be sad that he is sorta non-cannon IF it weren't for marvel already haven taken quite a large deviation from real viking mythology.
If this were a movie about real viking mythology: I would be angered that the actor playing Heimdall was black. Just like I would be angered to have Osiris or Zeus replaced. Or like I AM pissed that Aang and Kitara were changed. Then again, if it were a real Viking mythology movie, I would be angered if the entire cast didn't have Scandinavian accents.....
:( never gonna happen in hollywood.

he did infact have a beard many times, there was a time when he was cursed and couldn't remove his helmet and he had a beard, in the ultimate universe he always has a beard.

It's a shame on both fronts, I agree on how terrible the Avatar movie turned out with those changes.

Yeah, he's awesome. It really bums me out how comics have become deeply entrenched in politics. You have issues that attack one group or support one political figure, (sometimes but not always hidden behind a new name) and you end up with controversy. Is there any real surprise that this kind of thing is happening in a world where comics are trying to become politically relevant? Seems awful strange to me, not to mention sad.

Given the context of them being aliens there isn't much of a problem with one of them being black. However, let's be realistic, it probably does have some overtones of social commentary. Why would it be alright for people to complain about white actors playing traditionally non-white historical/mythological figures while it's okay for the reverse to happen? Two wrongs don't make a right. A better answer would be to develop movies based upon mythological figures from other cultures than to try to make one culture's mythology multicultural. That's just absurd.

But like I said, within the comic/film's context it makes sense.

Logan Westbrook:

Although Elba doesn't look like a typical viking, it's not as if he's playing a historical figure, and it's hardly the only liberty that Marvel has taken with the Norse pantheon. As insults go, saying that the Norse gods were actually aliens with some really advanced technology - which is actually true in the Marvel canon - would seem to be much worse than casting a black actor as Heimdall, but strangely, no one seems to be bothered about that fact.

I like Norse mythology, and I have to say, I am far more upset with other things than the black Heimdall. The point at which I laugh hysterically whilst viewing the previews is when Odin (Anthony Hopkins) makes Thor swear to uphold the peace...

WHAT. THE. FUCK!?!?!?!

It's one thing to take some liberties with characters and minor facts, but this simply isn't Norse mythology even in its most basic spirit. Norse mythology revolves around war. The universe begins in war and it ends in war. Not only that, but war is essentially the meaning of existence. It is not just a sad fact of reality, but something glorious. One only gains entrance to Valhalla by dying in battle. Cowards go to hell. Death in battle was the goal, and most Norsemen feared what they called a 'straw death' (i.e. the peaceful death that everyone seems to value in modern society). Old men would often go out into the roads with their swords and chain themselves to some of their treasure so that passers by would attack and hopefully kill them.

To suggest that the goal of the Aesir is to uphold peace flies in the face of everything that is central to Norse mythology. It's one thing to criticize their value system, but to misappropriate it in this way is just blatantly disrespectful and a sign of callous arrogance and assumed cultural superiority, if not simply a sign of downright willful ignorance.

This is a tough issue for me to make a call on.

On the one hand, I believe source material is important. A black thor, while cool, would seem strange to general audiences.

However, I don't mind so much if liberties are taken with characters whose presence in the story isn't as large. (I haven't seen the movie yet. I will see it this weekend(american).

I also don't want someone cast just because of their skin color just to fill a quota. That's shallow and I would rather someone have good acting ability to make a character believeable than look completelty correct.

...I don't know...I guess I need to see the movie before I can make a judgement call.

Jabberwock King:
I will say that I have some minor objections, but let it be known that I would not identify with either of the primary whiners, I am whining in a different category quietly.

Because of my ignorance of Marvel's version of Norse mythology up to this point outside of comic scans that I noticed on Google image searches that I wasn't looking for (and because I played Ensemble Studio's Age of Mythology), it did strike me as odd that this decision was made. I've gathered that he's actually an alien, and that his acting kicked ass, so I have no complaints over that.

Actually, me bothering to complain at all is a bit silly seeing as how everyone else has already said anything that I wanted to say. Anyway, all of this is done and only another marvel universe re-boot will change it. My bet is on it happening in 8 years.

Oh, I just remembered another movie concerning the Nordic pantheon.

The Son of The Mask
Compared to the butchery of this movie, a black viking god is just a paper cut in terms of accuracy (aside from the alien thing). While you only saw 2 of the gods, Loki and Odin, their relation to each other was completely skewed for the sake of a badly acted father/son relationship.

He is a great actor, I have only heard great things about his performance in this movie. I have been a huge fan of his since Rock N Rolla and basically anything I have seen him in...I just think its sad how people can't even see the movie before they fly off the handle.

Cherry Cola:

So my point still stands: Nobody from Scandinavia has no reason to proclaim their national heritage.

But... But...

Without a national heritage, this guy wouldn't be as awesome!

(For all the people thinking I'm serious, IT'S A JOKE!)

The only problem I had with that character was that he wasn't used enough. If you can scream while frozen you deserve more screen time. It's just how it is.

as a dane, with no real knowledge over the Thor comics, i will be honest and say this annoys me... dont care about how he's pictured in the comic, dont care about left wing bullshit or token black actor..

what i care about is that there's a movie i was looking forward to, and since im fairly critical over detail work in movies, it will be an annoyance that will nag me all the way through the film, because even though he may play it great or that it may be that way in the comic, in my subconsciusnes i will know that it just isnt right that way.

Heijmdahl is the god born of nine virgin mothers and shall be the one of the last to fall at Ragnarok.

Its hard to ignore what ive learned through my childhood, when they use the names, the hierachy and the same powers.

in the end, i wont se the movie because like any other movie that has a detail that i cant ignore, it will end up ruining it for me

He really did a great job at the role and it's retarded that people are talking about his color as an insult to the cannon. It was made by Marvel, it was a good movie, and he played the role amazing.

In comparison to The Last Airbender, that movie's problem in casting wasn't the colors of the actors, but by some of the acting, and the script, which was horse manure on steroids of suckness.

Elba did a great job in the movie, was played beautifully. Though Thor felt more like a jumping off point to the Avengers, it crafted the characters strongly, especially the gods, each personality was strong, and I'm excited to see more of the villain, who had the worst writing because they didn't have enough characterization about him, but was much more, interesting, than Thor and his life lesson of 'grow up'

I've never read Thor, but I do love reading about Mythology, so yeah, it was a bit of a turn, but it worked really well.

There was a brilliant gravitas and basassness to the role, and it worked. Who cares what damn colour the guy was?

I've got no problem with a black guy being cast in Thor.
The Norse Gods were white though...

That said, I'm pretty sure the norse gods also didn't wear rainbow capes. And have winged helmets. And- Oh hell, I'll let SatW say it for me...
http://satwcomic.com/nordic-halloween

Cherry Cola:

Realitycrash:

Cherry Cola:

PS: What is up with all the people feeling the need to point out that they are from Scandinavia? To anyone who does this: You have no, nor will you ever have, any connection to Norse Mythology in your entire existence. Your nationality doesn't suddenly make you higher above everyone else in this discussion.

Actually, we do. Norse-gods and religion still flavor our culture, our national holidays, and our common names.
As late as the 19th century, Rune-writing was still used in some parts of the country (Sweden), and paganism is alive and well.

So don't speak of things you don't know anything about.

These are not connections. These are conventions. People in England can be said to have as much of a connection to Nordic religion as Scandinavians. All of this is superficial. The names, the holidays, it's just a superficial link between contemporary Scandinavia and Nordic Mythology that might as well be doing-fuck-all-because-we-can days.

As for the culture, that's just false. Ignoring the fact that the culture of Scandinavia is pathetically insignificant as it is, there is nothing from Norse Mythology that support the social rules now in place. The popular Swedish mindset of everything having to be "lagom" came from Viking custom. Hell, Sweden could barely call itself a real country until far after Nordic Mythology was abolished.

As for the runes, you are once again applying Nordic Mythology to something it had absolutely nothing to do with.

Let me just put this as clearly as possible: Norse Mythology did not have any moral values to enforce. It had no messages to preach, it had nothing to teach. It is one of the most pointless religions ever to have existed.

So my point still stands: Nobody from Scandinavia has no reason to proclaim their national heritage.

LOL at bolded. If it had no value it wouldn't have existed in the first place. Norse mythology reflected the war-like attitude of the vikings, and like it or not, the vikings were one of the most influential forces in medieval history, not only as conquers but as world class merchants. In fact, despite depictions of them being mindless barbarians they were incredibly skilled craftsmen and actually worked to spread the advances of civilization, especially to Ireland. Britain would be unrecognizable without the vikings (I'm not sure if you're aware of this but the Normans were of viking decent as well).

Are you perchance a Christian, and if so, would I be out of line to assume that you think that Christianity is the only religion that has a worthwhile value system? I hate to break it to you, but it was exactly when Scandinavians became Christians that they stopped having much of an effect on European history.

Oh noes, the left!!! Those left wingers just want to destroy the world! What'll be next, we aren't allowed to rape people? Political correctness gone mad !!!!!1111111

Ahem, just racists looking to hate. Allow them to stew in their hate, eating up in them until they die from it, hopefully from shock of seeing their daughter marrying a black man. Nothing to see here folks...

Eh? Spitting, puking and peeing on the witty old tales is fine, but casting a black guy? NOW WE'RE OUTRAGED!!

.. The marvel Thor, this movie and everything else about the frnchise are completely and utterly disgusting, but certainly not because of a black Heimdal.

omniscientostrich:
Stringer Bell as a norse god?! What fool would oppose such badassery?

No one, you hear me? NO ONE.

...

Ecept for Omar.

Meh. He's supposed to play a member of a pantheon of gods. Even if said pantheon is worshiped by pretty much nothing but white people, it doesn't seem like a stretch if one of the burly manly-men happens to have a different skin color.

I lol'd at the hilarious objections, though. This is an actor playing a fictional/mythological character in fictional/mythological situations. This isn't like trying to insert a black, an Asian, and a Latino into a scene depicting the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The only sorta-valid objection I can see is from comic fans who say that the character has always been white...but even then, Nick Fury was played by Samuel L. Jackson, and somehow I don't think that a ridiculously minor character in Thor comics has nearly as much of a following as Nick motherfucking Fury.

You know what I want to see? A black Sherlock Holmes.
Same time period, same clothes, same mannerisms. Just make him black.

Sure there would be no point to it, and the character will seem out of place and confusing with the backdrop, and to keep with the setting pretty muche everyone else will have to be white anyway but...

Okay look at this either one of two ways;
1) either a comparison to the casting in thor, or
2) that we really need to start using these forever re-used characters with different ethnic origins for a modern age. We keep recycling them anyway, why not shake it up?

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