If ever there was a prime example to use as a case against comic book “purity,” and the dominance of overzealous fanboys in fandom spaces, the recent reveal of the character Domino for the upcoming Deadpool movie sequel would be it. Ryan Reynolds gave fans their first look at Domino today for the highly anticipated film, and the internet went wild. Many were excited, (and rightly so because Zazie Beetz as Domino looks phenomenal) yet, there were some areas of the internet that just were not happy with Domino’s movie-verse look for a “variety” of reasons.
I put variety in quotes because the issues that some of these people took up against the new look had no variety at all. The ones who had issues with Domino mainly didn’t like the fact that she didn’t have super pale white skin, as she’s been known to have in her comic book appearances. Also, some didn’t care for the fact that she has an afro now… go figure.
Now, I’m sure there are some comic book fans who are going to call foul, and say I’m putting race into something where it doesn’t need to be. That they simply want a true interpretation of a character they’ve come to know from their comic book reading. They’ll claim that there’s nothing wrong with wanting her painted white, because plenty of actresses have played in fantasy and had their skin changed to supernatural hues in order to portray a character. Believe me, there were plenty of these people using Zoe Saldana’s Gamora role for reference all over the web today. This is the thing though, read this next line SUPER carefully:
IT’S FANTASY. IT ISN’T REAL, AND CREATORS ARE ALLOWED TO CHANGE CHARACTERIZATIONS IN ORDER TO APPEAL TO BROADER AUDIENCES.
Read the previous line back if you still have issue with what I’m saying here. So called comic book purists can give all the reasoning in the world, but short of “she needs pale white skin in order to have her powers” there is NO REASON she has to be painted white. There is also no reason why she can’t have kinky hair as opposed to straight. There is no reason why she can’t have white skin around her eye, to contrast with her beautiful brown skin, as opposed to black pigmentation around her eye.
NO REASON AT ALL- except YOUR PREFERENCE.
There’s also the issue with her name. There’s claims that due to ONE of her origin stories (comic books give characters different origin stories all the darn time based on the verse and timeline) that her codename of Domino was given because of her pale white skin and black coloring around her eye. They claim that by changing her skin tone her codename useless.
Domino, also known as Beatrice, also known as Neena (in fact even her original name is shrouded in mystery), can still have the codename with or without pale white skin. Her actual powers deal with luck and making it so events fall into place the way she wants. One can argue that although her white skin may have been one of the reasonings for her codename, one could also say she was given the name due to her luck- luck and probability being heavily associated with the game of Dominos. So no, her codename does not need to be tied to her looks. And even if that were the case, there are such things as black dominos.
Then again, why even go through the back and forth of logic when it comes to how this fantasy story can be changed to how the creators see fit?
That’s not the point.
The point of this is that some people need to come out of their fandom bubbles, and understand what the interpretation of this character means for representation and diversity. That may not be important to some, but for those people who are part of marginalized communities who live in a world where mainstream representation that isn’t tokenism is still ever so slowly making progress, the Domino movie-verse interpretation is a step in the right direction.
To use Zoe Saldana’s Gamora as an example to prove my point, all too often when Black women, or non-white women, are added into fantasy genres, they aren’t allowed to have their NATURAL skin tone. Zoe has had this happen to her twice now (Avatar and Guardians of the Galaxy). Paula Patton was green in Warcraft. Lupita Nyong’o was unrecognizable as the yellowish older alien Maz Kanata in Star Wars, and those are just a few recent characters. At times it has been that Black women are either having to paint their skin something other than brown to appear in fantasy movies, or aren’t present at all. There have been some recent strides, but the representation is minuscule in comparison to their white counterparts, who although there have been white actresses painted different colors, there are also a whole ton more who were allowed to have their natural skin as well.
Domino’s skin tone is not a make or break for the character. It just isn’t.
Let it go.
Is Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow the equivalent to Jean Grey, since they both have red hair? Or does the “they all look the same now” only apply to Black women? Not all Black women with afros look the same.
Do better, people.
Further, comic book movies and television show interpretations are allowed to switch things up when translating something to screen. Especially if the original stories appeared in times where diversity wasn’t as dominant. These interpretations are allowed to adapt and evolve to their full potential. So yes, this might mean that Iris West isn’t a redhead, or Valkyrie isn’t a blond, but it isn’t the end of the world if they aren’t.
As a community of passionate fans of entertainment, some people could use a real hard introspection as to why certain changes (such as gender and race) of some characters truly bothers them, when most of these changes do nothing to harm the heart of the storyline. Rather they offer inclusion and representation to certain demographics who are greatly under represented.
What’s REALLY bothering you here?
Is it the fact that without Zazie being painted white you have to face the fact that she’s a Black woman?
Don’t worry, it’s all make believe…
Article originally appeared in Polipop Culture Blog