The Legend of Korra “Cast”

Korra - Jennifer Lawrence

Mako - Sam Clafin

Bolin - Jim Sturgess

Lin Bei Fong - Tilda Swinton

Asami - Anne Hathaway

Tenzin - Bryan Cranston

Amon - Benedict Cumberbatch

Unalaq - Javier Bardem

Zaheer - Dave Bautista

Kuvira - Daisy Ridley

What do you think ?

If Marvel Studios can take the time to painstakingly find an unknown actor like Tom Holland to portray their very specific version of Peter Parker than they could afford to find a Jewish/Roma actress for Scarlet Witch and Asian actors for Dr. Strange and Iron Fist.

George Takei Calmly Dismantles All of Marvel’s Excuses for Its Doctor Strange Casting
"Marvel must think we're all idiots."

National treasure George Takei is going in hard on Marvel.  The social media icon took to his Facebook account to post about Marvel’s casting of Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in the upcoming Doctor Strange film.  He initially focused on the backpedaling done by Marvel in which they cast blame on the Chinese market as their reasoning to avoid association with Tibet.  “So let me get this straight.  You cast a white actress so you wouldn’t hurt sales … in Asia?  This backpedaling is nearly as cringeworthy as the casting.  Marvel must think we’re all idiots,” writes Takei.  “Marvel already addressed the Tibetan question by setting the action and the Ancient One in Kathmandu, Nepal, in the film.  It wouldn’t have mattered to the Chinese government by that point whether the character was white or Asian, as it was already in another country.  So this is a red herring, and it’s insulting that they expect us to buy their explanation.  They cast Tilda because they believe white audiences want to see white faces.  Audiences, too, should be aware of how dumb and out of touch the studios think we are.”

In the comments, Takei argues that the casting is representative of a deeper systemic problem of casting white actors in Asian roles:

To those who say, “She an actress, this is fiction,” remember that Hollywood has been casting white actors in Asian roles for decades now, and we can’t keep pretending there isn’t something deeper at work here.  If it were true that actors of Asian descent were being offered choice roles in films, these arguments might prevail.  But there has been a long standing practice of taking roles that were originally Asian and rewriting them for white actors to play, leaving Asians invisible on the screen and underemployed as actors.  This is a very real problem, not an abstract one.  It is not about political correctness, it is about correcting systemic exclusion.  Do you see the difference?

He also addressed various reader rebuttals.  For one, he wants to point out that the idea of “color-blind casting” (that casting should occur without regard to a person’s race or ethnicity) only works if there were equity in Hollywood.  The end result here is simply that there are fewer actors of Asian descent getting major studio roles.

I fear you miss my point.  I’m not against colorblind casting.  That is to say, when there is a role that can be played by a black actor or an Asian one (such as Hermione in the play in London), then I welcome it.  But here we are talking about the systematic erasure of Asian faces from film and media.  It is so prevalent that even when there IS an Asian role that could be played by an Asian actor, it is given instead to a white actor.  Do you not see the issue here?  We are talking about systemic exclusion, lack of opportunity, and invisibility of a whole segment of our society, because Hollywood is afraid to take chances with ethnic actors.  Instead, we are the butt of jokes (as the Oscars telecast showed) or are cast only in certain roles that continue to marginalize us and send signals to society that we are not leading men and women.  I have a real problem with that, and I’m the happy exception to all of this.  But I feel for my fellow Asian American actors who cannot find work because what little work there is gets “whitewashed” for others to play.

Thank you, Mr. Takei.

Hollywood has no idea what to do with Asian people. And, given the fact that Hollywood often serves as a reflection of contemporary culture, this is a major problem. Aside from casting us as goofy comic relief (Long Duk Dong, really) or evil mystical ninjas (come on, Daredevil season 2), they just don’t know what to do with us. The confusion and ignorance around what we bring to the table sometimes gets so bad that rather than try and find out who we actually are, they’ll overwrite us with white characters, erasing us completely from narratives that inherently belong to one culture or another (looking at you, Ghost in the Shell).

Order is the barrier that holds back the flood of death. We must all of us on this train of life remain in our allotted station. We must each of us occupy our preordained particular position. Would you wear a shoe on your head? Of course you wouldn’t wear a shoe on your head. A shoe doesn’t belong on your head. A shoe belongs on your foot. A hat belongs on your head. I am a hat. You are a shoe. I belong on the head. You belong on the foot. Yes? So it is. In the beginning, order was proscribed by your ticket: First Class, Economy, and freeloaders like you. Eternal order is prescribed by the sacred engine: all things flow from the sacred engine, all things in their place, all passengers in their section, all water flowing. all heat rising, pays homage to the sacred engine, in its own particular preordained position. So it is. Now, as in the beginning, I belong to the front. You belong to the tail. When the foot seeks the place of the head, the sacred line is crossed. Know your place. Keep your place. Be a shoe.

Snowpiercer (2013) dir. Joon Ho Bong