Michelle Rodriguez, an actress who is no stranger to light controversy, was apparently rumored to be in talks for a new Green Lantern role. I say “apparently” because I can’t remember hearing about these rumors at all and I write for an entertainment site and live half my life on the internet, but I’ll admit that it might have flown under my radar. Anyway, TMZ asked her about these “rumors” and her response was a completely reasonable “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard” and she went on to say “Like, stop stealing, you know, all the white people’s superheroes. Like, make up your own. Know what I’m saying, like what’s up with that?”
People got mad at her, because that’s what we do on the internet, some because of the root of what she said and some who were just upset that she said that about Green Lantern since Green Lanterns in particular can be as diverse as you’d like. Comics fans: always in it for the accuracy.
Anyway, she decided to respond with this video, where she does apologize, but sticks to the idea that we should make superheroes who represent different cultures rather than inserting people from those cultures into traditionally white superhero franchises.
I understand where she’s coming from, and I agree that there should be a place for new superheroes who grew up black, latino, asian, etc. and who have that as part of their history. But Hollywood doesn’t like to take chances on original properties, and that’s why we’re discussing characters that have decades of history in American pop culture. I don’t want to see a new Spiderman movie, but enough people will pay to see a new Spiderman movie that if you want to see people of color in superhero roles, you’re a lot more likely to see it happen via the Miles Morales route than the “entirely new superhero” route.
Also, I’m shocked that people still talk to TMZ given what I’ve seen of their “interview tactics” which seem to involve ambushing people on the street with a camera. I don’t know how famous people do it, I’d have smacked three paparazzi/”reporters” with my purse inside a week. Not out of malice, I just don’t do “startled” well.