Science Suggests Superman Could Be Black, and Twitter Imagines the Hateful Backlash

Science Suggests Superman Could Be Black, and Twitter Imagines the Hateful Backlash

Hollywood tends to deal with a lot of backlash whenever they cast a superhero of a different race than, presumably, what the comic book source material indicates. Most recently, that included the Fantastic Four reboot, when actor Michael B. Jordan was cast as the Human Torch. Imagine, now, what would happen if the same change were to occur with the most iconic superhero of all time: Superman. 

According to Forbes, scientifically speaking, casting a black actor to play Superman would make sense, in short, because he takes his energy from the radiation of the Earth's sun, like with plants and photosynthesis. Technically, of course, Superman is an alien from Krypton, but for the sake of Hollywood, that just means if we're going to be true to the scientific evidence and source material, we need a black actor. 

"I believe the case for changing a character's identity is made stronger if the rationale makes sense based on origins and powers," JV Chamary wrote for Forbes. Superman's home planet of Krypton orbits a red sun, and Chamary proves with science that for Superman and his Kryptonian heritage, "the best pigment color for absorbing solar radiation would be black." 

Instead of changing a hero's race in a limited run, perhaps audiences could accept a change to such an established character's canon, "if it's based on logic, not gimmick. And that brings us to Superman," Chamary writes. 

That's all well and good, but the previous, hateful backlash from fans of other superheroes indicates this hypothetical transition would not be a welcome one. At least, you know, from racist white people, as the Twitterverse contemplates. 

In the meantime, though, the concept is pure speculation. The current Superman, British actor Henry Cavill, will be reprising the role for at least two more movies: the forthcoming Justice League films. Until then, at least science is on the side of continued superhero diversity. 

Read more: And the Role of Iron Fist, Marvel's Kung Fu Superhero, Goes to ... A White Guy!

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Miles Surrey

Miles is a staff writer at Mic, covering culture. He is based in New York and can be reached at miles@mic.com.

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