Marvel's Spider-Man: Homecoming is the latest Hollywood film accused of whitewashing its cast. Earlier this week, we reported that Michael Barbieri has joined the cast of Spider-Man: Homecoming. It was said that his role was a new character, not based on the comics, but the anonymous source didn't stop the description there. The source said:
Barbieri’s character will be a new one, though he’ll be based off the Ultimate Spider-Man character Ganke…His affinity for Superheroes and unwavering optimism and support of his friend are his standout characteristics, which can be expected to be found in Barbieri’s new character.
Tom Holland plays Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but in 2011, Marvel introduced a new Spider-Man in its 'Ultimate' comics line. The person behind the new Spider-Man was Miles Morales, who is half-Black, half-Hispanic, and he has a best friend named Gank Lee, a Korean-American. Although Spider-Man: Homecoming is not about Miles Moales, and Barbieri is not playing Ganke Lee, this didn't stop fans from outraging about whitewashing the role.
Here are some tweets of the outrage:
The accusations are not well-grounded since the source of the description isn't official. Neither Marvel nor Sony announced the details of Barbieri's character. The source may be right, and director Jon Watts and writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstei may have intended to cast Barbieri as Gank, but that's probably something they wouldn't announce to the public right away. They would most likely have cast an Asian actor if it was meant to be Ganke, but after all this isn't about Miles Morales, and I don't think Peter Parker ever met Ganke in the comics. Beside,s the film's cast is already diverse including Tony Revolori (Guatemalan American), Laura Harrier (African American), Zendaya (biracial, half-White, half-Black). Why would they whitewash an American-Asian character?
This is just one of the many cases of whitewashing accusations on films we've heard this year. Earlier this year, critics bashed Gods of Egypt for casting Caucasian actors portraying Egyptian roles. Then there's Scarlet Johannson playing a cyborg character in Ghost in the Shell. Then there's the controversy of casting Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in Marvel's Doctor Strange.
Spider-Man: Homecoming will be released on July 7, 2017.