Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.
By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.
What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.
This week’s provocative question stems from some articles I’ve recently read about two new adaptations, one of The Lord of the Rings and the other of The Little Mermaid, which seem to be prompting deep outrage and indignation among fans who are arguing that the projects’ increased diversity has weakened their faithfulness to the original stories.
Amazon Prime’s new The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power series first drew widespread anger from some fans because it casts black and Asian actors as characters across the spectrum of fictional Middle Earth races. Their chief complaint was that the decision to include non-white characters had ruined the authenticity of Tolkien’s world.
When Disney released the first trailer for its live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, featuring Halle Bailey as Ariel (above), thousands of YouTube users went nuts, leaving more than 2 million dislikes and countless derogatory comments on the trailer, and creating memes ridiculing the film for casting Bailey and mocking all of its supporters.
But wait. Hobbits, elves, orcs, and mermaids aren’t real, so should it matter what race they are? Is casting non-white actors in movies made from books or stories where the characters were presumed to be white disrespectful to the source material? Or is this backlash transparently racist.
So, with that as the background, here’s today’s provocative question for you.
Does diversity casting in TV shows or movies, where fictional characters who were presumed to be white in the source material are portrayed by non-white actors, concern or bother you? Why do you feel that way?
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