Christopher Nolan’s trilogy received a cult following after its release and has been named as one of the most well-accepted superhero endeavours of all time, at least until recently. The Dark Knight Trilogy was praised tremendously by fans of the franchise for various elements (especially the villains) for many years, until a major flaw in the trilogy was pointed out on Twitter recently: whitewashing.
RELATED: How The Dark Knight Changed Comic Book Movies Forever
Whitewashing a film is to “alter (something) in a way that favours, features, or caters to white people.” Fans are accusing Christopher Nolan of whitewashing some of the key villains in The Dark Knight trilogy, and honestly, the proof is there. In this case, the alteration that was made is casting white actors into the roles of the villains that are canonically not based on white characters.
Particular attention was drawn to the characters Ra’s al Ghul and Bane.
Ra’s al Ghul was played by Liam Neeson in the trilogy, but his character has generally been depicted as having an East Asian ethnic background, but later comics emphasized an Eastern Roman origin. What with the identity of Ra’s al Ghul being explainable through the passing down of title from member to member in the League of Assassins, fans weren’t too upset about this one, rather just disappointed.
Bane was a case that particularly upset fans, as he was played by Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight trilogy, despite the fact that Bane in the comics is a mixed-race villain, having been born from a British father and a Latina mother.
RELATED: The Dark Knight Trilogy – The Batman Movie Standard
Was Christopher Nolan Wrong?
Whitewashing characters is 100% wrong. No debates there. Representation in movies and media are extremely important, no matter the case. If a character is a certain race in comics, there is really no good reason to recast them as a white character when having them appear as their canonical identity would better serve the character.
But did Christopher Nolan do this on purpose? This was during a time when production studios would famously whitewash their cast with the argument that they were making the decision based on the merit of the actor, and while Liam Neeson and Tom Hardy are fantastic actors, it shouldn’t have happened that way. But is casting always the director’s choice?
RELATED: These The Dark Knight x Batman Playing Cards Are A Must Have
Director Christopher Nolan spearheaded The Dark Knight trilogy and was praised worldwide for his filmmaking techniques that felt grounded, grand, and expansive. The result of his work was a well-loved Batman adaptation that fared well in comparison to attempts by huge superhero development groups like DC and even Marvel.
Now, ten years later, some DC fans have started labelling the Oscar-winning director as racist and ignorant, as he has also been criticized for his lack of representation in his past films.
It’s important to note that this is a problem of the past, as the director has made many moves to make his movies far more inclusive in more recent years.
RELATED: 10 Years Later, Tom Hardy’s Bane Deserves A Lot More Love
We would love to hear your take on this.
Do you think Christopher Nolan is a villain or was he (and The Dark Knight Trilogy) wrapped up in the whitewashing habits of the majority of Hollywood at the time?