Through a long and illustrious career, Bob McLeod is best known for co-creating the The New Mutants series at Marvel alongside writer Chris Claremont. While the news that a live-action movie based on his creations was opening in cinemas should have been cause for celebration, McLeod instead took to Facebook to write about his dissatisfaction with filmmaker Josh Boone’s recently released The New Mutants in a lengthy post that can be read below:
“I was very excited when I heard they were making a New Mutants movie. I thought making it into a horror movie was perhaps an interesting idea, but not at all how the characters should be introduced to the public at large. But, hey, my characters in a movie! I never would have thought that would actually happen. But then, I was disappointed when they didn’t give Dani braids, although I like Blu Hunt. I was disappointed when Rahne wasn’t a redhead with spiky hair, although I adore Maisie Williams. I was disappointed that Sam isn’t tall and gawky, although I do like Charlie Heaton.”
“But mainly I was very disappointed that Roberto isn’t short and dark-skinned. Yet another example of Hollywood white-washing. There’s just no excuse. So basically, #JoshBoone erased everything I contributed to the way the characters look. And now, the movie has come out at last, and apparently they’ve credited someone named Bob Macleod as co-creator. They couldn’t even be bothered to check the spelling of my name sometime in the last three years. And that can’t be fixed. That will be on the movie forever. I think I’m done with this movie.”
Fans responded to Bob McLeod commiserating with his grievances. Claremont also wrote his support for McLeod’s post, while comic artist Bill Sienkiewicz, who created artwork for the movie’s end credits, offered his help in clarifying the matter regarding McLeod’s misspelled name:
“Unbelievable – that misspelling is pretty egregious. I suspect a nameless exec. This wasn’t Josh’s screwup, he told me Bob would get a creator credit and he definitely knows how to spell everyone’s name. I will reach out to some folks at Disney to let them know – hopefully it can be corrected ASAP.”
While McLeod’s name can be corrected in the credits, the issue of white-washing will not be rectified so easily. Sunspot’s ethnicity in particular has been a source of contention ever since actor Henry Zaga was announced for the role of the Brazilian Afro-Latinx superhero. For his part, Boone’s previous attempt to justify the casting was seen as doing more harm than good.
“I didn’t care so much about the racism I’ve heard about in Brazil, about light-skinned versus dark-skinned. To me, it was I wanted to represent Brazil in a positive way and I wanted to find somebody who seems like he could look like a guy who’s had the silver spoon in his mouth, who has like a really rich dad and Henry just exemplified all these things.”
Directed and co-written by Josh Boone, The New Mutants stars Maisie Williams as Rahne Sinclair/Wolfsbane, Anya Taylor-Joy as Illyana Rasputin/Magik, Charlie Heaton as Sam Guthrie/Cannonball, Henry Zaga as Roberto da Costa/Sunspot, Blu Hunt as Danielle Moonstar/Mirage and Alice Braga as Dr. Cecilia Reyes. The film is now playing in theaters.