Big Screen or Small Screen? DC, What’s Up With Your Recent Decisions? | Opinion

~*~ This is my opinion based on reports and my observation. ~*~

Recently, there have been many articles about the amount of Hispanic representation in media. Unlike other marginalized groups like Asians, African-Americans, disabled, and LGBTQ+, Hispanic representation in popular media has gone down, not up in the past two years.  As a Latina working in the entertainment field, I know firsthand how important representation is for my community. I grew up with a handful of Hispanic characters to look up to in film and television. That number grows smaller when I take away the ones that depict hurtful stereotypes.

As a 30-year-old mother, I have witnessed the slow rise of representation. My son has more Latinx characters to see himself in than I did as a child.  However, access to that representation has often been kept on the small screen, behind a paywall, or both.  Disney’s Elena of Avalor, their first fully Latina princess (Sofia the First was half-Latina), was put on Disney Jr. like her forebearer. Disney Jr. is a cable channel, which means you have to pay for it.  Disney’s Stuck in The Middle was a live-action series about a large Latin family, which plays into the common stereotype that all Latin families have many children. Even Nickelodeon’s Casa Grande follows a similar plot and trope. But this article is about DC/Warner Bros. so maybe I’ll get into the other companies another day.

When  I learned of DC/Warner Bros.’ upcoming roster, I was elated! Their Batgirl would be played by Latina actress/singer Leslie Grace, Blue Bettle, Jaime Reyes would be getting his own film, Supergirl in the Flashpoint movie will be played by a Latina, Jessica Cruz would be a part of the live-action Green Lantern Corps series, and Michael B. Jordan is producing a film about Val-Zod (aka Black Superman).

Not only is it fantastic casting but a critical moment to bring Hispanic representation to the superhero genre in an impactful way.  The Hispanic community has been waiting for this moment for a while! So, why is it that majority of these films will be exclusive to HBO Max? Fans will get to see Supergirl on the big screen as an accessory in the Flashpoint film, but all the other IPs will be tied to HBO’s streaming service. Is this because you don’t believe that the Hispanic community would go to a theater to see these films? Are you concerned non-Hispanics won’t pay for a ticket to see these films? Is this to keep the budgets for these projects small? Is this an attempt to make these features inaccessible to those who don’t have cable or can’t afford a streaming service?  My mind races with so many reasons why this decision would be made. Especially when other DCEU films like Shazam 2, Black Adam, Aquaman 2, Flashpoint, and The Batman are all getting theatrical releases.

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Their decision is disheartening, but it’s not surprising.  If you keep track of DC’s “experimental” shows, they are all on HBO Max. Young Justice, Titans, and Doom Patrol feature diverse cast members of different races and sexualities, redefine gender, and openly discuss mental health. These shows have more vital stories, better acting, and high-quality production than their CW shows combined. DC/WB even decided to move Stargirl from streaming to the CW. What makes the superhero equivalent of Hannah Montana a more compelling and marketable show than Doom Patrol?  Michael B. Jordan is one of the most prominent actors in this generation, yet you don’t think he has enough box office draw to get people to pay to see his Superman?

Shenanigans GIFs | Tenor

Disney CEO Bob Chapek called Shang-Chi & The Ten Rings an “interesting experiment,” I believe that Warner sees these Hispanic superheroes as “experiments.”  If it works then, it was a successful experiment, and if it doesn’t, well, at least we didn’t pay too much and made it difficult for that community even to see it.  Shang-Chi and The Black Panther have shown us that people are ready and wanting to see stories from different cultures! We’ve had the same old recipe for the past ten years; how about adding some spice? Don’t just take your Latin cast; make them the funny sidekick, the love interest, or make them an alien with painted skin.

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Let them be the star because somewhere is a Hispanic little boy, a little girl, an older man, a middle-aged woman, a non-binary person waiting to see themselves in them. They need to see themselves as spectacular, heroic, and celebrated! Representation matters.  The Latin community are a proud people; they dedicate their lives to embracing their rich heritage and sharing it with the world. DC/WB, it is your turn to embrace them. Give them their moment in the sun. I promise you that migente, my people, will show up and show out.

I hope that I’m wrong. I hope that DC is planning to announce the films will get theatrical releases during DC Fandome.  I want to see extravagant trailers, Spanish directors, and Latin artists on the soundtrack. I want to see Warner Brothers fully embrace the unique aspects of each Hispanic culture. Please, prove me wrong! But, I can’t ignore how their decisions make me feel and how they make my community feel.

Then again…it is just my opinion.

What do you think about DC’s recent decisions about non-caucasian lead projects? Am I overthinking? Am I on to something? Let’s politely talk about it in the comments and online.

And to all my Latinas, Latinos, and Latinx, I wish you a Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! WEPA!

About Yali Perez

When she's not writing about pop culture for Fandom Spotlite, curating social media for the*gameHERS, or helping to produce the DB4L podcast, she is a single mom to the coolest kid in the world. In Yali's free time she likes to bake, exercise, watch horror films, and play Mario Kart. Yali's goal as a writer is to share her nontraditional and colorful view of the world with readers everywhere.

View all posts by Yali Perez

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