Why is there still such a fuss over Idris Elba as Heimdall?

Discussion in 'Thor' started by Arach Knight, May 7, 2011.

  1. Arach Knight

    Arach Knight Abstraction of Logic

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    I stayed away from Thor news and just watched trailers on Marvel's youtube page. I saw the movie and thought it was absolutely fantastic. As I slowly started going through older posts here, and recent news on other sites, I have seen that there is backlash over Idris Elba's casting as Heimdall. In the year 2011, when we understand how diverse the planet is. When we understand that ethnic variation is about environmental factors (darker skin to protect from the sun, lighter skin to absorb more sun in clouded environments). When many countries are no longer homogeneous. People are still this caught up on race?

    When Angelina Jolie was cast to play an Afro Cuban in "A Mighty Heart," most people didn't care. When Angelina Jolie played Fox, a character who was originally Black in the comic book version of Wanted, no one even batted an eye. White people have played Egyptians. 300 is revered as a movie about the bravery of the Spartans, even tough it made Persians look like mutants, demons and monsters. Heck, Jake Gyllenhaal played the Prince of PERSIA. He certainly isn't an Arab. Ben Kingsley, a white Briton, played Ghandi, an INDIAN. It seems clear to me that the issue here isn't ethnic casting and unfaithfulness to the source, but rather seeing a Black man occupy a role for which racists have high esteem. If it is a minority being portrayed by whites, even if they are historical people, or poor representations of minorities on screen, then no one cares. If minorities fulfill roles of traditionally white characters, then suddenly it is a horrible assault on white culture.

    Sure Norse mythology is a cultural staple for Scandinavian people, but I don't see anyone of these people complaining about the inaccurate representations of zombies, which believe it or not, are religious in origin. Zombies come from the African/Haitian syncretic religion of Voudoun. However, most zombmie movies are about viral outbreaks rather than Voudoun priests. No one complains about how the Native American Wendigo is treated as if it were a werewolf like creature, which is an inaccurate representation of Native American cultural heritage. If it's good for the goose, it is good for the gander. Either no one changes any cultural history when reimagining/reinterpreting it or everyone is free to reinterpret it.
     
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  2. Franklin Richards

    Franklin Richards Well-Known Member

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    You're wrong. It's because Heimdall "looks" white and Elba doesn't. It's because Elba looks nothing like his "blood sister" Jaimie Alexander. It's because Kirby never drew a black Heimdall.


    You're trying to elevate this to racism and it's not. Well not for me anyway.


    :thor: :thor: :thor:
     
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  3. The Morningstar

    The Morningstar Well-Known Member

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    **** all those idiots. Elba absolutely rocked as Heimdall.

    He may be white in the comics. But it doesn't really matter. It's not as though they have changed Black Panther to white.
     
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  4. SuperFerret

    SuperFerret King of the Urban Jungle

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    They're gods and family resemblances in mythology aren't too strong anyway (most of the more well-known mythological monsters are offspring of more or less human looking dieties), and Morningstar is right, Elba was awesome as Heimdall.
     
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  5. Franklin Richards

    Franklin Richards Well-Known Member

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    I don't doubt his acting ability. Just like I don't doubt Meryl Streep's ability. I just think she would be miscast in this role.


    :thor: :thor: :thor:
     
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  6. hatebox

    hatebox Well-Known Member

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    I'm a fan of Elba but I wasn't too taken by the Gatekeeper. His role felt a bit superfluous to me. Maybe he'll be more present in sequels.
     
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  7. The Morningstar

    The Morningstar Well-Known Member

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    I can understand some concern. But really, Heimdall is a supporting character. And I know he is called the "Whitest of the Aesir" in the myths or something. But I just don't think it's that major an issue. Heimdall's skin colour isn't really that big a deal.

    Now if they went and changed the race of Black Panther or something? That isn't just changing his skin colour... that's fundamentally changing the character.
     
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  8. The Morningstar

    The Morningstar Well-Known Member

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    I doubt he'll be more present in the Avengers. I'd really, really love to see him have a bigger role in Thor 2 though.

    Whilst there wasn't really much to the character other than being an essential part of the Asgardian mythos, Elba's presence was just so commanding and awesome. I loved his droll sense of humour too.

    "Well I can't open the gate for you"

    Loved that scene.
     
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  9. Franklin Richards

    Franklin Richards Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]


    :thor: :thor: :thor:
     
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  10. The Morningstar

    The Morningstar Well-Known Member

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    lol what I mean is, changing Heimdall's skin colour isn't actually changing anything about the character, his personality etc.
     
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  11. SuperFerret

    SuperFerret King of the Urban Jungle

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    Nothing about Heimdall hinges on him being white, and the portrayal in the movie proves that. T'challa, on the other hand, needs to be black.
     
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  12. The Morningstar

    The Morningstar Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. Put it better than i possibly could.
     
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  13. SuperFerret

    SuperFerret King of the Urban Jungle

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    That's because I'm the goddamn SuperFerret.
     
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  14. The Morningstar

    The Morningstar Well-Known Member

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    Hey man, I don't want no beef. Ferret's are not ones to be ****ing with... let alone SuperFerret's.
     
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  15. Franklin Richards

    Franklin Richards Well-Known Member

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    Except for the intent of the author. The historic significance of the worshippers from where he sprang. The logical relationship between him and Sif. The 50 years of presidence from the source material.

    Making him black is arbitrary. Unless it's because of White Guilt or Affirmative Action. Occam's Razor says leave him the way he was written.


    Again. Token Black.


    :thor: :thor: :thor:
     
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  16. The Morningstar

    The Morningstar Well-Known Member

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    Elba's performance elevated the character waaaay beyond "token black guy" though.
     
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  17. Franklin Richards

    Franklin Richards Well-Known Member

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    Did his performance make you believe he was white? Cause in that case...


    :o


    :thor: :thor: :thor:
     
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  18. The Morningstar

    The Morningstar Well-Known Member

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    No, why should I give a crap if he's white, black, purple, green etc? The performance was good, he played the role of Heimdall brilliantly. That's all that matters to me.
     
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  19. SuperFerret

    SuperFerret King of the Urban Jungle

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    White by default and f*** 'im. It works.
    These aren't the historical Asgardians. Also, f*** 'em. It works and their culture is basically dead.
    Fenrir, the mighty wolf that is supposed to kill Odin in Ragnarok and Sleipnir, Odin's eight-legged steed are Loki's children. If a horse and a wolf can have a human-looking half-giant father, a black dude having a white sister should be no problem. Again, f*** it, it works and there's nothing regarding their blood relation in the movie anyway.
    Things change in adaptions, so f*** it, it works.
     
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  20. Marvin

    Marvin Well-Known Member

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    um, like blood and skin tone have any place with divine creatures.
    that being said they are I believe aliens in this movie. Still look at loki, he's blue...or is he.

    "Why is there still such a fuss over Idris Elba as Heimdall?"

    because he looked like a giant golden fork.:yay:
     
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  21. Franklin Richards

    Franklin Richards Well-Known Member

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    I see. So how long have you been legally blind?

    :D


    :thor: :thor: :thor:
     
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  22. Arach Knight

    Arach Knight Abstraction of Logic

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    I am not elevating anything to racism. I am witnessing it. There is a clear double standard. I love how you dodged all of my examples. Heimdall is fictional. Angelina Jolie played a real life mixed-ethnicity person. Where is your indignation for that? I don't see anyone caring about Fred Armisen playing Prince and Barack Obama, even though Armisen is not black. Also, the Marvel version of Thor has little to do with the actual Nordic myth. Who is to say that Marvel's Heimdall is even related to Sif? Loki isn't evil in Norse mythology (at least not until he aids in the murder of Balder) and he certainly isn't Thor's brother, not even his step brother. Why doesn't that upset you?

    Heck, why aren't you upset that Thor is blond in this movie? In the myth, he is red headed. Loki is a Midgard giant in the myth, not a Frost Giant. Why isn't that annoying you? You are cherry-picking one inaccuracy, that has to do with race, and ignoring a host of other inaccuracies that have a greater impact on the character relationships. Also, if you can accept Thor and Loki as brothers in this film (inaccurate to the myth), even though Loki is really a BLUE Frost Giant, then why can't Heimdall be the black brother of a white Sif (assuming that Marvel's Heimdall is related to Sif)? Can't Heimdall be adopted/step just like Loki is to Thor? What does that tell you about your "indignation?" Are you concerned about faithfulness to the source or are you concerned about race?

    For the record, I hate this modern globalist liberal agenda. I don't buy into the "global citizen" garbage that people are forcing down our throats as of late. I am happy to be an American. I think it is fine for people to love their heritage and to revere it and to embrace their ancestry for all that means. Be it slaves rising to freedom or ancient epic heroes. However, I take issue with selective indignation on an issue. If you hate inaccurate ethnic casting, don't just be upset when it comes to white characters. Be upset when it comes to any out of character casting. Call shenanigans on Ben Kingsley as Ghandi. Become livid at the thought of Jake Gyllenhaal playing an Arab. I am not upset by these ethnic inaccuracies, because I personally care more about better acting than accurate aesthetics. However, if you are concerned about accurate aesthetics and not the acting, then don't be a hypocrite.
     
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  23. Microchip

    Microchip Gettin my applesauce back

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    Intent of original author doesn't matter, this is a movie interpretation of Thor and in this version, he's black. I don't think there is a relationship between him and Sif in the movie.

    :thor: :thor: :thor:
     
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  24. The Morningstar

    The Morningstar Well-Known Member

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    Ben Kingsly is actually half Indian :D
     
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  25. Franklin Richards

    Franklin Richards Well-Known Member

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    I see. Short on logic and long on opinion. I look forward to seeing your response to SuperFerret being portrayed by a Mongoose in the upcoming film.

    :awesome:


    :thor: :thor: :thor:
     
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