Regé-Jean Page Speaks on His Reportedly Racially Motivated Rejection From Syfy's Krypton

Regé-Jean Page at the premiere of Mortal Engines at the Regency Village Theatre on December 5, 2018.
Regé-Jean Page at the premiere of Mortal Engines at the Regency Village Theatre on December 5, 2018.
Photo: Morgan Lieberman (Getty Images)

Among the many, many bombshells dropped in Tuesday’s revelatory, distressing Hollywood Reporter exposé on more of what Ray Fisher dealt with, both during and after Justice League, were allegations that Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page had not been cast as Superman’s grandfather Seg-El in the 2018 Syfy series Krypton because he is Black. Now, Page has spoken out about the matter.

Advertisement

The THR piece cites “multiple sources” who told the trade that Geoff Johns—DC Comics writer-turned-DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer who oversaw the DC movies at the time as well as DC’s live-action television products—rejected the idea of Page’s casting because he believed Superman fans “expected” Kal-El’s grandfather to look like the DCEU’s Superman, played by the white actor Henry Cavill.

THR writes: “Multiple sources tell THR that the show’s creators were passionate about doing some nontraditional casting and that Regé-Jean Page, who would go on to become a breakout star of Bridgerton, had auditioned for the role of Superman’s grandfather. But Johns, who was overseeing the project, said Superman could not have a Black grandfather. The creators also wanted to make one superhero character, Adam Strange, gay or bisexual. But sources say Johns vetoed the idea.”

While Johns’ has not commented thus far on the Fisher allegations, his rep did reply to THR via email for its recent report. It states: “Geoff celebrates and supports LGTBQ characters, including Batwoman, who in 2006 was re-introduced as LGBTQ in a comic-book series co-written by Johns,’ says Johns’ rep in an email. Johns also pitched Warners on developing a television show around the first LGBTQ lead DC superhero television series, he adds. As for the role of Superman’s grandfather, the rep says Johns believed fans expected the character to look like a young Henry Cavill.”

Another DC TV series—CW’s Superman & Lois—has been the source of other allegations recently of racially based comments from Johns. Recently let go writer Nadria Tucker tweeted, “I haven’t spoken to Geoff since the day on Krypton when he tried to tell me what is and is not A Black Thing.” More on that from our friends at the Root here.

Advertisement

However, the Krypton casting allegation was clearly not news to Page, who expressed his disappointment over Twitter, “Hearing about these conversations hurts no less now than it did back then. The clarifications almost hurt more tbh. Still just doing my thing. Still we do the work. We still fly.”

Ray Fisher, who has remained steadfast in his ask for accountability on Warner Bros’ part, also had something to add on the matter. “I appreciate Geoff Johns bringing on a crisis team to try to explain away his discriminatory behavior, but his excuses are WEAK,” he tweeted. “If Geoff believed fans expected Superman’s grandfather to look like ‘a young Henry Cavill’—why was he ok with the Zods not resembling Michael Shannon?”

Advertisement

Fisher is speaking about Black actors Colin Salmon, who played the iconic Superman villain General Zod on Krypton, as well as Georgina Campbell and Ann Ogbomo, who played other members of the Zod family. And it’s a fair point, to be honest.

Honestly, the Hollywood Reporter piece is just one of many wake-up calls that force the industry to take notice and take notes. There are sure to be more reports like this, and of course, more horrible, systemic racism to be uncovered (in all industries). Hopefully, this will provide another step to Hollywood’s inevitable reckoning of its actions and its problems.

Advertisement

For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.

Advertisement

Rob Bricken was the Editor of io9 from 2016-18, the creator of the poorly named but fan-favorite news site Topless Robot, and now writes nerd stuff for many places, because it's all he's good at.

DISCUSSION

smi1ey
smi1ey

Ok what am I missing here? We have Superman, a character that is extremely white, with extremely white biological parents. Why then is it shocking to think that his grandparents would also be white? I wouldn’t expect a black actor to play the grandpa of a non-mixed white character anymore than I would expect a white actor to play the grandpa of a non-mixed black character. Now, do I think it would be cool to see superman recast as a a mixed or black character? Hell yes! I could easily see Regé-Jean Page cast as a relative of a black or mixed Superman. Hell, he has the jawline to play Superman himself! But if the goal is to cast relatives of Cavil’s superman, who’s about as white as they get, why wouldn’t they also be white?

If a casting call went out to cast Cyborg’s grandparents, I would be surprised to see any white actors even remotely considered for the role. Obviously white actors have a major advantage in Hollywood, and I fully understand the need to give non-white actors a chance at more roles, but this just seems like such a stretch to me. As always, if I’m being a moron about this and need to shut up and listen, feel free to call me out. Maybe there’s something deeper to this story that I don’t understand.