Put a notch in your “acknowledgements that we live in a culture that prioritizes a more honest depiction of the actual diversity of our society than that of decades past” belt. The Flash, the CW’s Arrow spinoff featuring the titular DC character is racebending its female lead and love interest in order to create a more diverse cast lineup.
At least they are according to leaked open casting sheets publicized by Bludhaven Banter. Here’s what the call says about Iris West, The Flash/Barry Allen’s longtime flame and eventual wife.
IRIS – 22-28 – African-American – As smart as she is beautiful, Iris is in grad school studying psychology. She’s also Barry’s mile a minute, fast-talking, quick-witted best friend. Her father, Detective West, took in Barry when his mother was murdered, and his father was wrongly accused and imprisoned for her murder. In a tough childhood for Barry, she was the one “not tough” thing. She’s unaware of Barry’s strong feelings for her.
Iris’ father, named only as Detective West, is also a role being offered to an African American actor, indicating that the nuclear West family is likely being presented as fully African American (rather than interracial, for example). The Flash is a character who has had a number of sidekicks and replacements, all descended at least partially from the West family, for example, Wally West, the Flash of the DC Animated Universe Justice League cartoon, is, in comics, Iris’ nephew. Considering the number of bit characters, sidekicks, and other expanded universe references the crew of Arrow likes to make, this isn’t a simple decision abut making Barry’s will-they-or-won’t-they relationship an interracial one: it’s also about significantly diversifying the Flash legacy.
(via Comic Book Resources.)