Rosario Dawson’s Time in the Marvel TV Universe May Be Coming to an End—Goodbye Latina Representation
Though Netflix’s Marvel shows have had plenty of white people, Asians, and a black superhero with his own show, Latinx representation of note has been practically non-existent. The lone consistent bastion of it has been the presence of Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple, who has appeared on every series save The Punisher. Now, according to Dawson, she may be moving on.
During an appearance at MCM Comic Con London this weekend, Dawson mentioned that her time in the Marvel Universe could be drawing to a close. Though she will be appearing in the upcoming second season of Luke Cage, Dawson says, “I don’t know if I’ll be back after this, to be honest, but it’s been an amazing few years. I’ve been on a lot of different shows. I mean, I don’t know if maybe they do a third season of Luke Cage potentially, or maybe if they figure out some kind of way for me to be on The Punisher—just so I can feel like I’ve done every show.”
Now, the Marvel Universe hasn’t always known what to do with her, but Claire’s presence has been a helpful and reassuring presence both to our heroes, and to audiences. However, Dawson’s personal life seems to be calling to her, as she admitted that “My daughter is in high school, so I kind of want to not be 3000 miles away for work.”
It is absolutely understandable that, after having been a part of these shows for the past three years that she’d be looking to move on, and it certainly isn’t her job to stick around to “represent.” But the idea of her leaving does shine a big ol’ spotlight on the fact that Claire Temple was very often the only reason that Latinx actors got consistent representation at all.
Daredevil seemed to do the best job of integrating Latinx into its depiction of a multicultural New York landscape, particularly in its first season, with not only Claire’s bilingual self holding it down, but with other minor characters with whom the protagonists interacted being Latinx and having Matt and Karen both be bilingual to varying degrees.
However, across the other shows, and even in Daredevil’s second season, Claire seems to be the lone source of all things Latinx. She’s the reason why another “name” Latina actress, Sonia Braga, was brought onto Luke Cage for three episodes to play her mother, Soledad.
Luke Cage did have another recurring Latino character during its first season in Wilfredo “Chico” Diaz Jr, a young man who worked at Pop’s Barber Shop and got involved with Cottonmouth. He ends up getting murdered by Detective Scarfe when he tries to turn himself in. He, too, only lasted three episodes. I guess that’s the magic number for Latinx actors?
This is strange, considering that Spanish Harlem is totally a thing, but you’d hardly know that from watching Luke Cage.
Like I said, it’s not as if the Marvel shows always use Claire well, or to her fullest potential, but she is a consistent presence who has lasted years. She’s also Afro-Latina, which is super important, particularly on a show like Luke Cage that tries to examine blackness in a nuanced way. Afro-Latinx need to be included in that conversation.
If Dawson ends up moving on, but there’s no recurring (or *gasp* lead) roles for Latinx in her place, there will be a huge hole in Marvel’s TV version of New York City. Which sucks, because so many of Marvel’s comic book creators are Latinx. You’d think that the people who help create the comics would be rewarded in part by getting to see themselves in the worlds of comic adaptations.
Let’s not forget that, though Latinx are 16% of the population, they only get about 5% of the speaking roles in film and television, making them the group most disproportionately represented in media. Claire Temple might be a “minor recurring character” in the grand scheme of things, but for a community that sees themselves so rarely on television to begin with, she can be everything.
Here’s hoping Marvel doesn’t forget that Latinx exist (for more than just a three-episode stint) if and when Dawson does leave.
(via CBR.com, image: )
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