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A Change of Character

A Change of Character

In Discussing Who Episode 10 we discussed the (potential) ramifications of changing a character’s age, sex, race, and sexual orientation. We pondered whether or not, for example, a character’s race was essential to his/her essence, or if it were malleable when paired against a story’s backdrop.  


The inspiration for the episode partially came as a result of reading an article about Hydra and Captain America written by author Ma Nishanta. The author referenced Marvel Comics’ coming under fire for making Thor a female. Then, the same occurred when bestowing the title of Captain America to Sam Wilson, Steve Rogers’ sometime sidekick A.K.A. The Falcon.


Our own Lee Shackleford previously suggested discussing WHO a character is. Go beyond the story and discuss what makes a character tick. “What are Tony Stark’s motivations? Why does he do all these things?”  

The above set the stage to discuss changes to a character’s age, sex, race, and sexual orientation.  As a companion to the episode, the following showcase many of the examples used during the discussion.


AGE – Old Man Logan and Jean Grey

Jean Grey

Marvel Comics’ Wolverine and Jean Grey are dead!  Long live Jean Grey and Wolverine!

Wolverine in Discussing Who

Currently, in Marvel Comics’ continuity, Jean Grey is a teenager. James (Logan) Howlett is no longer Wolverine – the title belongs to Laura (X23). Logan, instead, is a very old man well past his prime.  (No, it is not an alternate world or some other version. This is current Marvel continuity.)    

Young Jean Grey

Does this matter?


AGE – The Doctor


Matt Smith was the youngest actor cast as The Doctor. His replacement, Peter Capaldi, only lacked a few months to be of equal age to the late William Hartnell when he was cast.


Does this matter?


AGE – Contemporary Moriarty


Moriarty in the traditional Sherlock differs from that of the current (hit) Sherlock series. Is the Moriarty of the series drastically different from the Professor James Moriarty, as originally written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? Does this change the dynamic of the relationship between hero and villain?


RACE – Iron Man and Green Lantern


John Stewart replaced Hal Jordan back in the 1970s. Then, in the 1980s, James “Rhodey” Rhodes became Iron Man. Does race matter less when assuming a title?


RACE – The Black Panther Vs. Johnny Storm

Black Panther

Does a character’s race play a central role in defining the character? Or, does the character’s story determine the impact of such a change. Listen to Episode 10 to find out what we think of the difference between changing the race of Johnny Storm in opposition to the same with The Black Panther in recent/upcoming movies.


RACE – Psylocke Vs. Psylocke


We mentioned Betsy Braddock in Episode Nine and we mention her again in Episode 10. We explain the characters’ change from a caucasian-to-Asian female.  


If the fact happens in the story, does it change the impact?


SEX – Missy

The Mistress

Missy…need we say more?  (Well, say something nice!)


SEX – Thor


We discuss how Thor is now a woman in the comics. Like with Iron Man and Green Lantern, does it matter less if Thor is considered a title and not a name?  


Lee told us of a time when his wife, Dr. Karen Dill-Shackleford, Media Psychologist and faculty member at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA, made the following observation:

“If Sherlock Holmes can be a mouse, why can’t he be a woman?”


Why not, indeed?  HERLOCK!

We even give honorable mention to Thor Frog!

What do you think?


Does a character’s sexual orientation define the character? Would it differ if said orientation was changed long after the character first premiered? We discuss the coming out of the X-Men’s Iceman…to himself.  

Iceman is gay

What do you think?  


Discussing Who Episode 10

What did you think about the above? Let us know in the comments.

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