Marvel Accused of Whitewashing in New Project, Creator Defends Actions Then Quits Social Media

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Kevin Feige presenting with flames effect

Credit: Inside the Magic

Marvel Studios is being accused of whitewashing after a leaked cast member caused conflict on social media.

Kevin Feige at D23 Expo
Credit: D23

The Marvel machine continues to move. Kevin Feige’s Marvel Cinematic Universe is heading towards its 33rd movie (Nia DaCosta’s The Marvels (2023) this November) and its next big release on The Walt Disney Company’s streaming service, Disney+.

The amount of content coming out of Disney’s streamer was a cause for concern when former Chief Executive Officer, Bob Iger, returned as leader of the House of Mouse. Since his comeback, Disney+ has had multiple titles purged from the service, including the recent Willow from Lucasfilm.

Bob Iger in front of the Disney logo
Credit: Disney

Related: Marvel Reportedly Pays Big Bucks for Game-Changing Piece of the X-Men

As for Marvel Cinematic Universe projects, the near over-saturation has come to a stop this year, with June 21’s launch of Secret Invasion starring Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and Ben Mendelsohn (Talos) being the first series to release on Disney+.

While fans await the arrival of the spy thriller, which, so far, is expected to be one of the more exciting things Marvel Studios has done, they are also waiting for other highly-anticipated, previously-announced projects to drop onto Disney+.

One of which is X-Men ’97.

Cyclops, Jubilee, and Wolverine in 'X-Men: The Animated Series'
Credit: 20th Century Studios

The “sequel” to X-Men: The Animated Series, which saw characters like Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, and Charles Xavier, AKA Professor X, take on Magneto and his forces, was massively popular when it ran between the years of 1992 and 1997. Developed by Eric Lewald, Sidney Iwanter, and Mark Edens and inspired by the characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, X-Men: The Animated Series was released on Fox Kids Network.

In November 2021, after word of an X-Men project floated for two years, Marvel officially announced it was to revive the X-Men series with X-Men ’97. Marvel Studios Animation and Beau DeMayo, who serves as head writer for the animated series, were announced at the time of the project’s reveal. It is set to debut sometime in late 2023 and will consist of ten episodes.

Wanda Maximoff/The Scarlet Witch in X-Men: The Animated Series
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Many of the cast members have been announced, and familiar voices will return to their characters from over 30 years ago. Cal Dodd as James “Logan” Howlett/Wolverine, Lenore Zann as Anna-Marie Raven/Rogue, and George Buza as Henry McCoy/Beast will reprise their roles from X-Men: The Animated Series, and others like Jennifer Hale, Ray Chase, and Alison Sealy-Smith will also come back for the Marvel television show.

Recently, a leak revealed that newcomer Gui Agustini will join the cast as Roberto “Bobby” da Costa/Sunspot, causing conflict online between fans and head writer Beau DeMayo.

In response to the posted casting, which is yet to be confirmed, Twitter user Lauren G. (@LuvLife289) wrote:

Soooo you’re whitewashing now

DeMayo (@beau_demayo) responded:

Don’t even. Look who you’re talking to. Moving on.

In Marvel Comics, da Costa, AKA Sunspot, is Pardo Brazilian and the son of Afro-Brazilian businessman Emmanuel da Costa and his white American mother, archaeologist Nina da Costa.

Sunspot from Marvel Comics
Credit: Marvel Comics

Other fans then began to question DeMayo’s response to criticism, with Mil (@ChampagnePuthy) replying:

It’s unfortunate that this is how you choose to respond. I was looking forward to this show but your behavior and response to this very valid criticism means I won’t be tuning in. I’ll be sure to my friends that’re X-men fans dont watch either.

To this, DeMayo said:

It’s not a valid criticism. It’s an uninformed one and I will defend my decisions and my crew — which includes several POC who have experienced the same hate and hardship that the X-Men do. They are not toys for you to debate. And I will not indulge fans believing that they are entitled to be the arbiter of someone else’s identity, and whether or not they are “this” or “that” enough. It’s ignorant and a violation of that individual’s personhood and I will get in your way. Such behavior swaps class for disrespect.

X-Men '97 Marvel logo
Credit: Marvel Studios

He went on to say that once Marvel gives him the go-ahead, he will be frank in his discussion about casting and the show as a whole. DeMayo added, “I smell the same scent of enraged engagement that’s too common in our culture — where we myopically spot a single fallen leaf we don’t like for some reason and then demand the whole forest be burned down to satisfy our riled-up indignation.” Before telling frustrated fans to “Save yourself some stress and just wait. You may just be surprised.”

The discussion continued with DeMayo admitting he “won’t get everything right” but will try his hardest to. He is writing Season 2 currently.

Beau DeMayo and Lenore Zann (center) with Rogue cosplayers
Credit: Beau DeMayo, Instagram

Related: Marvel Attempts to Save Struggling MCU as Explosive ‘Fantastic Four’ Cast Leaks: Report

After the conflict, which spanned many different reply threads on Twitter, DeMayo confirmed his Twitter profile would “be going dark for a bit,” stating he must protect himself. The Marvel writer promised that fans would be heard and decried those who called him a “race traitor.”

Only time will tell if the conversations happening here have any detrimental effect on the Marvel TV show or those involved in its development.

X-Men animated series beast crying
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Storm, Gambit, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Jubilee, Magneto, Cable, Bishop, Morph, Nightcrawler, Forge, and Sunspot, will appear in the series, as will Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw.

X-Men ’97 is slated to arrive on Disney+ in late 2023.

What do you think of this leaked casting? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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