Fear of a Black Heimdall

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  December 20, 2010 — 96 Comments

I gave this issue a glancing mention back in May, and thought that would be the end of it. But it seems I’m wrong, the issue of English actor Idris Elba, who happens to be black, playing Heimdall in the upcoming “Thor” movie has hit the newswires again. This time it is the Council of Conservative Citizens, an organization born from the segregationist White Citizens Council, making waves about this “attack [on] conservatives values,” and urging a boycott of the film.

“Norse mythology gets a multi-cultural remake in the upcoming movie titled “Thor,” by Marvel studios. It’s not enough that Marvel attacks conservative values and promotes the left-wing, now mythological Gods must be re-invented with black skin. It seems that Marvel Studios believes that white people should have nothing that is unique to themselves. An upcoming movie, based on the comic book Thor, will give Norse mythology an insulting multi-cultural make-over. One of the Gods will be played by Hip Hop DJ Idris Elba.”

First off “Hip Hop DJ” Idris Elba is actually a critically acclaimed British actor, not that such distinctions matter to groups like the CCC (they also think the Black Panther comic is “extremist”). Further, as I said the last time, this is an adaptation of a comic book, and not an adaptation of the Eddas. Anyone who actually paid attention to said comic book over the years would know that the pantheons of “gods” in the Marvel Universe aren’t racial/cultural manifestations of the divine but extra-dimensional aliens/beings who decided to take these forms.

“Yes, Marvel’s pantheon are ostensibly Norse gods. They have Nordic names, they’re fond of horned helmets and axes, and they love a night in the mead hall. But they are not ethnically Nordic or Scandinavian. Marvel has fudged them into a category of “extra-dimensional aliens” who possess technology so powerful and advanced that humans classify it as magic. One could get into a headache of an argument wondering why they favor the look of the early medieval, but hey, whatever rocks their world. They’re gods / extra -dimensional aliens. We may not even be perceiving them accurately, but in whatever way our feeble human brains can comprehend their awesomeness.”

Here’s Marvel Comic’s official take on these “gods”.

“Inhabiting the Nine Worlds in the other-dimensional Asgardian system are six races of humanoid life forms. Each race is different and intelligent, but the most powerful race is that of the Gods. The Gods are the most human looking and believed to have inhabited Earth at one time only to move to Asgard sometime later. Norsemen and Germanic tribes used to worship the Asgardians nearly a millennium ago and that is why some of the names differ slightly like Wotan instead of Odin. Even though certain Gods are still interested in humanity such as Thor, the Asgardians do not have any more active worshippers or seek to have any.”

Now, unless your personal pantheon also includes Ego the Living Planet and Galactus (portrayed as far stronger than any of the gods), these are not the gods of the Norse that were, and are, worshiped in the real not-comics world (in addition, the notion/assertion that gods couldn’t change the color of their skin if they wanted to seems like an insult to their power). Anyone going to the Thor movie, or reading the comic, hoping for a religio-cultural thrill, will ultimately be disappointed. These are Marvel’s toys to play with, not divine beings (unless your Norse gods talk to you in a faux-Shakespearean patois and team up with enhanced human beings to defeat evil).

This controversy over what will most likely be an extended cameo by a black actor in an overwhelmingly white cast is entirely manufactured to draw attention to the CCC. They seem to miss being called racists so much that they are baiting comic book fans into doing it. Sadly, though I searched and searched, I couldn’t find their boycott pages for when Christopher Lambert played Raiden, or Keanu Reeves the Buddha. It seems their quest for purity only goes in one direction.

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    An actor. In a movie. Based on a comic. The mind wobbles. Take me back to the Hindus protesting that Newsweek cover, please! At least they were protecting divine imagery to which they hold sacred allegiance.

    "It seems that Marvel Studios believes that white people should have nothing that is unique to themselves."

    I recall Black Power advocates in the Sixties offering lists of things allegedly unique to white people. That was about the time the label "reverse racism" was invented…

  • Helio Pires

    Yeah… these people seem to forget Thor is often referred to in Old Norse sources as being red-haired, but oddly enough I don't see them protesting against the fact that in the comics and movie He's shown as a blond man… Go figure!

    Besides, depictions of the Gods are often influenced by the social reality of their worshippers: Romans had statues of Celtic and Egyptian deities fully dressed in Roman fashion, Catholic saints were depicted with oriental facial features in China and Jesus, though a middle-eastern man, is often shown as having blue eyes and blond hair in Hollywood movies. So if today's society is multiracial, I don't get all the commotion on a black Heimdall.

    White supremacists need to get a life.

    • HeatherN

      This is all just my opinion, but I'll take the whole thing with a grain of salt (and understand the meaning of artistic license), and teach my son the true stories and Asatru faith at home, because I certainly don't trust Hollywood to do that for me.

      PS. If you just loved the Thor comics as a kid, then definitly go see it, they made it for you 🙂

    • And the church said Amen.

  • I'm afraid many great movies have been ruined by political correctness and "demographic appeal" recently. 'I Am Legend' from a few years back was an excellent example. The book is great. The movie not so much. The two bear little resemblance.

    • Jason Pitzl-Waters

      The failure of "I Am Legend" has very much to do with the mangling of the plot, and almost nothing to do with the casting of an African American in the lead role.

      • It's my humble opinion that the mangling of the plot and the removal/alteration of many things rose out of the desire to appeal to the masses and play safe. Of course, having Will Smith as the main character doesn't ruin it automatically, you're right. Having all the "good" main characters minorities with the "bad" blue-eyed zombie was just icing on the cake and maybe I'm even reading too deeply (I doubt it). Of course, they changed so much that even if they retained the original appearances as given in the book it still would have been ruined.

        I'm sorry, I should have elaborated but I wasn't saying that merely "minority" actors were the cause of that movie's fail at all.

        • AcidQueen

          I think you are reading far too much into the movie. Perhaps you have some issues that need to be worked out?

          • No, not really. That seems to be a pretty common question/accusation here though when someone posts something that a lot of other people don't seem to like. After a while it kind of loses its clout and just makes the other side look like they're hiding some insecurity or something, you know?

      • I thought Will Smith was the best thing about that movie.

  • valerieherron

    "Maybe it was that "teeth of gold" line in the Edda that convinced them this would be okay—we all knows how dem bruthas loves a bling grill, yo. 0_o"

    Are you f***ing serious? I hope you realize how ignorant and bigoted that statement is.

    • Saddly given how Hollywood is stereotype central I could see this. Also I think Bear was being tongue in cheek.

      • valerieherron

        "Also I think Bear was being tongue in cheek."

        If that was the case, I do apologize. I also agree with you on the Hollywood comment.

    • Praxidike

      I took that as snark.

    • Considering how often Hollywood fails at writing real people it wouldn't surprise me if some idiot executive had the same thought.

    • Boar

      Are YOU f***ing serious? I hope you realize how utterly cluetarded that reply is! Did I *really* need to include a "</sarcasm>" tag for the literalists?

      I would've thought switching from erudite, grammatically correct English to faux ghetto dialect would've been enough to signal my satirizing of Hollywood's cultural ineptitude, frankly. 🙂

      As I said, there's no logical ground for complaint. But then, there's no logical reason to go messing with both a revered classic comic AND an ancient mythology, either. It's hardly bigoted to have an "awww, gee whiz" reaction to pointless mucking about with things one loves.

      • valerieherron

        I apologize for the misunderstanding.

  • lynn

    I'm outraged that they're all speaking English in the new Thor movie! Everyone knows that the Vikings spoke Old Norse! Can't we Old Norse speakers have anything for ourselves? Boycott, NOW!

    • Bang


    • Old Norse died out for good after 1349. Becouse so many learned ppl died of the plauge. We can only try to interpit what Old Norse would sound like, but not say for sure.
      I'm Norwegian, and the language does not really bother me. As It has died out, and I want others than Norwegians to be able to see this movie. But a black Heimdall is pushing it, veeeeery Far!

  • HeatherN

    Ok, so I read a little on the CofCC. They like to push traditional Christian views. So why do they care if a Norse god is misrepresented in a movie.
    I am an Asatruar, but I'm also a rational adult who understands that Hollywood movies are for entertainment, and this is seriously NOT going to become some "conversion to/perversion of Asatru" thing. I just don't think the gods are that petty anyway.
    Will I see it? Eh, it's possible, my husband loves comics and most of the comic book based movies that have come out.
    Will I be mildly annoyed? Sure I guess, but in the grand sceme of things there are more important things to worry about than misrepresentations of gods in movies made for entertainment.

    • In addition to pushing "traditional Christian views," the CofCC is a White Supremacist organization, and this can be verified by checking their entries on either the ADL or SPLC's websites.

  • HeatherN

    I'm sure that 95% of the folks that go to see this film will have no ties to Asatru or the heathen community, in fact, I bet half of those will be under the age of 12 and not likely to care one whit about any religious ideas tied to the film.

    I think those of us who are heathen, since we are obviously not going to stop the film from being made or aired, should look at this as an eventual opportunity for our faith. Sure it's flawed, but how many new people will it introduce our pantheon to? How many of those might start looking for more info and stumble across the fact that there is a true religion based on this culture and pantheon? How many children might have thier interest piqued and want to hear more tales of these god/desses (lets face it, Thor has some exciting adventures in the Eddas as well).

    • To be fair, I don't think anyone is going to go to this movie expecting it to be a reinterpretation of the Eddas. That would be like using "Sabrina" or "Charmed" or "The Craft" (sigh) to teach your family about Wicca. I might go see this movie, but not because I'm a Pagan– I'll go because I like Marvel Comics.

      I get what you're saying in that it may draw positive attention to the gods loved and revered by Heathens and Pagans, but I'll hold that judgment myself.

  • jaundicedi

    I hadn't read Thor since the 60s so the "space Aliens" thing is a surprise to me. If Loki was black I would be concerned and so would a lot of Blacks, so I suppose the Asatru have a right to a certain amount of indignation if they choose. The phrase, "It seems that Marvel Studios believes that white people should have nothing that is unique to themselves." reveals the true agenda of this particular group however.

    • Pagan Puff Pieces

      (Did Stargate get it from Marvel or vice versa?)

      Indeed. I don't have much opinion on this, since comic book movies do some strange things with their source material (for better or worse). I guess I can understand how making the characters less recognizable would make a big fan upset.

      But wording it like that?

      This is coming from someplace completely different from "It doesn't look like the artwork!"

    • Zaratha

      "If Loki was black I would be concerned and so would a lot of Blacks…"

      How many blacks do you actually know? Just curious. Because personally, I'd think a black Loki would be freakin' awesome. Also, I'm not really understanding the surprise here, given the basic gist of the CCC's sentiment gets repeated in these comments all the time by various people. (I kindly direct you to the Neofolk clusterfuck from the other day.)

    • cypheroftyr

      I'm black and I don't give a damn if Loki was portrayed as black. You want to know why? This is a movie adapted from a COMIC not a literal translation of the Eddas. As a black Asatruar I'm laughing my ass off at these people who are so up in arms about the European Nation of the US and why can't whites have anything just for themselves. Newsflash they have had plenty to just themselves.

  • thehouseofvines

    I opposed Keanu playing the Buddha. Then again, I oppose his being given any acting role, period, regardless of what it happens to be.

    • Do you seriously think anybody could have been a better Ted "Theodore" Logan? Admit it, he owned that role.

      • thehouseofvines

        That is perhaps the single exception to this rule.

  • Apparently none of these people have witnessed the sign barrage at ComicCon 2010's counterprotest of the Phelps family: http://open.salon.com/blog/bob_calhoun/2010/07/23

    Scroll down to the bottom: "Odin is God. Read the Mighty Thor #5" Or, a plain photo is here: http://www.amptoons.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2

  • valerieherron

    I am confused as to what the specific problem is. I don't understand why a personification of Heimdall with dark skin could be of even vague annoyance to anyone. Is it that the actor is of African decent, or is it that it isn't consistent with traditional visual representations of the god? Would this be an issue of the actor was Irish? He would be white, but he wouldn't be Norse. Just curious.

    I'm truly not trying to be inflammatory, and would love an explanation. In all fairness, I am not of the Asatru faith, so I could easily be missing something.

    • HeatherN

      Asatruars view thier religion as the indigenous religion of Northern Europe. While Ireland runs far more Celtic it was historically visited by Norse, some of whom settled there too. So it gets lumped into "Northern European" along with Germany, Denmark, Belgium, northern parts of France, Iceland, the UK, Scandanavia, parts of Russia (I think), and maybe a few other countries on the continent.
      A lot of the ire comes from a stylized comparison, ie how would it go over if they made a movie involving a large number of African tribal god/desses and cast some very white folks to play them. (Once again, my stand is movie=entertainment, not much more).
      Many Astaruar find it disrepectful, or in a fit of pique, simply "not fair" that no one seems to care, or that they can't assert thier cultural heritage due to how concerned the world is with things being "politically correct."

      • valerieherron

        Thank you for the explanation, HeatherN 🙂

        In regards to Asatruars that feel this movie situation is unfair, going along with the aforementioned stylized-comparison scenario, I suppose it's too bad that Idris Elba isn't half-Dutch. That would clear up the issue with cultural representation, and then no one would have to worry about him being Black. Right? (Sorry, I'll stop now.)

      • Zaratha

        "A lot of the ire comes from a stylized comparison, ie how would it go over if they made a movie involving a large number of African tribal god/desses and cast some very white folks to play them. (Once again, my stand is movie=entertainment, not much more)."

        …and that ire would come from an entirely false equivalency. The last time I checked, white people were in the distinct majority, and have all the privilege. If you think I'm being militantly "PC", ask yourself this question: where are the films you mentioned about African deities? They're not even being made in the first place to even have casting controversies. Ask yourself why that is. (Neil Gaiman has stated repeatedly that he refuses to have Anansi Boys optioned because he knows damn well everyone would be made white, and would rather the book not be filmed than let that happen. Good on him.)

        Here we have ONE side character from a comic book version of their mythos being changed to a black person, in a cast that is still overwhelmingly white. Meanwhile, just in the past couple of years, the Prince of freakin' Persia was played by a white man, the entire world of Avatar: the Last Airbender was whitewashed, and this sort of thing happens so frequently there's actually an entire category for it on TV Tropes. So forgive me for not really feeling the crocodile tears here.

        I also heard no outcry in the Pagan community when Andromeda, an Ethiopian princess last time I checked, was played by a blonde white woman in Clash of the Titans. To the contrary, I had people arguing with me that she's not "really" black so it's fine. Granted, that was the least of that movie's problems, but I still find it telling.

        • I agree with 90 to 95% of your opinion here. I don't know where the African tribal stories are, by word, mouth, written or theatrical. I don't make these things. After speaking with peaple I trust I also see modern Asatuar as wanting to see something they can claim as thiers, which this film will not do. The Africans can't make such a claim either, "Roots" is certainly not thier ethnic film. Once again I defend MY status, movie = entertainment, my faith I will teach at home to my children, my heritage has nothing to do with most anyone else's heritage (please take pride in where YOU come from), and glad Jul to all, or however you celebrate the season. 🙂

      • Sakis Selene

        Let’s just look at this an call it a day the all father created all men an creatures on Midgard Norse an non to say other wise takes from. His power an the creation of Midgard like wise the norse hordes even landed in northern Africa raided there an the mid east he creat high men an low .. Other races chose chase Ettins nature spirits from America to Africa to Asia …

    • Mhaoil Lain

      "Would this be an issue if the actor was Irish? He would be white,…"
      Really? Have you ever been to Ireland? The U.K.? I mean, in this century? The world is changing, and this statement speaks of an obsolete romantic idealism similar to that of the Christian Fundamentalist's world view that simply does not apply any longer.
      Why not a Black Heimdall? Black Asatruars? A white Buddha, or, dare I say, a Black Irishman?
      How about this? He's a damned good actor and can play the role well. The colour of his skin should be of no more significance than the colour of his eyes.
      Thank you Bob Marley.

      • valerieherron

        I suggest you actually read the rest of my comments.
        I've been saying this whole time that it shouldn't matter if this actor is of African ancestry or not. I was merely trying to point out with this statement that I think some people are taking issue with the fact that the actor is black but are instead saying it's an issue of cultural representation. I personally do not think this should be of even slight annoyance to people, I very much agree with your above statement.

        This is a good point, however, I should have been more specific. I do realize that there are people of many different backgrounds that live in the UK.

  • kauko

    "Asatruars view thier religion as the indigenous religion of Northern Europe."

    A bit of a pet peeve of mine and I hear it from heathens a lot, so I can't help but respectfully correct this: not all of Northern Europe was Germanic, there were and continue to be other, non-Germanic, peoples living there who have their own pagan traditions.

    • valerieherron

      Yeah, I was wondering about that as a person with some Basque ancestry.

      • HeatherN

        I guess I made a broader generalization than I should have. I know there were plenty of different pagan traditions in Europe, I was just trying to make a point not offend anyone (don't worry about it, I have plenty of my own pet peeves so I respect your critizism.)

        Perhaps I should have phrased it as "A lot of Asatruar view thier religion as AN indigenous religion of Northern Europe." Even though what we practice today is a modern reconstruction based on lore and historical references (a lot of which was preserved by monks, go figure, since the historical tradition of the north was oral not written), and would probably not be recognized by our ancestors.

        Anyway, I digress, I'll close with a Glad Jul to all, however you celebrate! Enjoy the eclipse tonight!

        • valerieherron

          Glad Jul to you, HeatherN 🙂

        • kauko

          Oh, I wasn't offended, I've just heard it a lot from many heathens and since I'm one of those non-Germanic northern Europeans (Finnish) it has become pet peeve territory for me 😉

    • Also, not all of "Northern Europe" is, well, European. In fact, Northern Europe is one of the (many) places where the whole idea of "Europe" pretty much goes all to hell.

      Religiously speaking, Germanic Paganism is heavily influenced by Asiatic/Siberian elements. Of course everyone knows that, but a lot of people try to pretend otherwise.

      • There was also a great Roman officer in Britain who was a native Ethiopian; damned if I can remember his name, though, but memory tells me that he married into the local population. This was also a non-too-uncommon thing in the Roman Empire.

        • Yeah, the Romans were all about miscegenating before miscegenation was cool.

  • Robin Artisson

    You must be new here. Or you don't read here much. I was making a joke. If you go back to the recent story about the Hindu Group which was trying to say that the Hindus owned the right to control how the images of their Gods are used, you'll see that I laughed at the idea, and said that no one owned images of the Gods.

    • Beatty Page

      Having just watched the classic Marvel cartoons I’m still worried that “Thor” is going to give me a brain aneurysm from wondering why he doesn’t talk in a faux Elisabethan accent as Doctor Don Blake.

    • valerieherron

      Don't you hate how badly sarcasm translates online? It always gets me in trouble.

  • Love the title of this post!!

    • Zaratha

      Flava Flav did frequently wear a viking helmet, after all. 🙂

  • elnigma

    Idris Elba will probably be really cool. But Natalie Portman ruins everything.

    • Robin Artisson

      Not from where I'm standing.

  • William Hood

    Jason, you seem to be glossing over the fact that the CHARACTER in the comic book isn't black either. While I agree with what you're saying, I think there's another side to the question such as WHY have Idris Elba play Heimdall? I mean, they tried to stick to Thor's original look. Why not have Ken Watanabe play him instead? People don't make casting decisions with no thought behind it. It's not like someone said, "hey, let's have a black guy play Heimdall, just for shits and giggles!! tee hee!" I didn't see the point in having Michael Clarke Duncan play the Kingpin and I don't really understand the point in having Idris Elba play Heimdall either. Ultimately, though, I don't give a crap. I'll still go see it just like I went and saw the Daredevil movie. Besides, it's another lead-up to The Avengers that I can't miss. 😉

    • Steamblade

      Perhaps he was the best actor to read for the part. Just a thought

  • COfCC really be stretching to maintain some kind relevancy these days, as if their previous organizations ever were remotely germane to any topical discussion since desegregation in the 1960's or before. I surely expect to see legions of crew-cutted white men milling about in front of movie theaters everywhere now. 😉

  • seeker

    Mmmm…Natalie Portman is Jewish, the white supremacists have no issues with that?

  • Seeker

    ps: I wish they would complain when white actors are cast to play Genghis Khan and even historical figures of African descent.

    • Oh, people *do* complain about that — just usually not White people, perhaps that's what you meant to say?

      • Mamiel

        Yes, there is much outcry if an French actor plays a Cuban or a European actor plays Cleopatra even though there are ethnic Cubans and Cleopatra was ethnically Macedonian. Go figure.

        • Haven't talked to many Native Americans/First Nations/Tribal Alaskans or East Asians lately, have you? Google "Mickey Rooney Breakfast at Tiffany's", "Christopher Lee Fu Manchu", "Al Jolson", "blackface", "yellowface", and "portrayal of Native Americans in film" for a minute, then get back to me.

          I'm not talking about Afrocentrist ideas of what Kleopatra may have looked like, I'm talking about **remedial history of film**.

        • Also, look up the race controversy surrounding the very recent film 21 — this is based on the real-life events of ASIAN-AMERICAN students. But the cast of leads? WHITE, WHITE WHITE.

          Gods above, you really have naught a clue what you're talking about. Do you think that cos you've got your blinders to it, then the problem doesn't exist — or are you really *that* much convinced that the various Euro-Amerikan cultures are *really* an "oppressed majority"?

    • Actually, yes they do. See: http://www.racebending.com/v3/

  • chuck_cosimano

    All I know is that of all the characters in the Marvel Comic, Heimdall had the coolest helmet and no matter how fervently I invoked Galactus when young the earth was not destroyed.

  • I have a question, too: why don't you ask that to the CCC? They're not a heathen organization, so why, according to you criteria, should they have the right to comment on a modern adaptation of heathen gods? At least a pagan shares a focus on the pre-Christian world; or maybe you think academics, be they historians of religion or of Old Norse History and culture, shouldn't say a word on modern Heathenry just because they "do not embrace our folk"…

  • AcidQueen

    Might I suggest looking up the word "sarcasm" in the dictionary? Followed closely by "satire".

  • mamiel

    I meant ethnically French Cubans

  • My objection is in relation to the Marvel character itself, and not in any way having to do with religion. I simply don't like it when a character is drastically changed, or a major aspect thereof. Call it a fanboy complaint, but that's what it is. I still say an actual ginger should have been used for Johnny Blaze, like Eric Stoltz, or Nicholas Cage's hair should have been dyed red… or something.

  • Vermillion

    Bah. Honestly if you're that worked up over a COMIC BOOK movie then…well these people are sad anyway so.

    Honestly speaking as a black geek I could care less if Heimdall was black or white. I want the movie to not suck.

  • Crystal7431

    My Gods do speak to me in faux-Shakespearean patois. That or someone's playing a terrible joke on me.

  • Crystal7431

    Probably another awful comic book remake my husband will insist on dragging me to. The only thing I'll get out of it is very fit shirtless men waving around medieval weaponry. Ah, well. It's enough I suppose.

  • Not being an expect on Norse culture and or Gods, but having studied them Thor was the main God in Asatru and the ruling God of prosperity, fortune, luck, but was too a God of Justice his sacred tool the double sided Hammer he is a God in which was known for protection and most of all his kin, a war God and one in which was aggressive, certain of victory without seeing this movie I cannot speak on the contents of it nor comment.

    • In looking up the White Citizins Council, I found them to be a white supremacist organisation founded in the South in 1954 and sorry to say I take everything anyone has to say with a grain of salt when they cannot accept that other beliefs systems exist and focus on awakening all to the Ancient Knowledge that existed prior to all of humanity.

      When watching a movie I take from it the core or hidden meaning and if that core meaning is distorted, then yes, I shall make it noted of the discrepacies.

      Many Blessings to All this Yule Tiding, Winter Solstice and Christmas Season. May all be blessed with health, wealth, and happiness and may you all be with those whom you love and may you never hunger, nor never thirst.


    • ::sigh::

  • deerwoman

    It does not bother me that Heimdall is being played by Idris Elba.

    However, I was annoyed by the Comics Alliance article linked within this entry which repeatedly dismisses the actual Norse Deities (not just the Marvel incarnations) as "totally made-up-by-medieval-drunks gods of Norse mythology" and "made-up mythological gods that never existed." Comics Alliance is right in calling out the CCC as racist, but there's no need to throw a culture's traditional beliefs under the bus to do so.

    • Now THAT is a complaint worth making.

      Honestly, the Gods can appear to people however They like; I *personally* think that they may use some consistency so that those who worship Them can recognise each-other, but if I met some-one who was very insistent that Eros appeared to them looking like, say, more Lenny Kravitz than Leonardo DiCarprio, I'm not going to question that — in fact, I'll probably start looking for the consistency on appearance that may be less obvious.


    It's racist the black guy always dies in the movies and in this Heimdall proly dies so the made him black.

    • better hope he isn't wearing a red Starfleet shirt….that would be a dead giveaway.

  • I too was a bit reupulsed by Marvels explanation of my mythology and religion. I suppose they were being pc, but denial of something that actually exists (and has existed in greater and greater force since the 1970s) is a mythos and "the gods have no interest in anyone worshipping them now" What, they will not exist without us!? We are as important to them as the very grass that grows in Midgard. No slight intended, all that is, is vital to our existance.

  • SKB

    Wow, The idea that this needs explaining is annoying! Ok, for the galactically stupid, here it is in crayola crayon! Heimdall, since the invention of the comic book, IS WHITE!!!!! He's WHITE!!!! When they make a Black Panther movie, they should use a Black actor because he's Black!!!! He's BLACK!!!! I can't even imagine what the blacks, or the media would say if a Black god was played by a white guy!!!!! Wow, the world is doomed with stupid people who don't care about Orwellian history rewriting! It is just a movie, but it is the principle of it!!!

  • While I appreciate Jasons attempt at rationality with his message of "it's a comic book, not religion," I'd have to disagree. Because I believe that the illustrated form is a more true way to express that which is Spirit, we do indeed have to take comic books and cartoons very seriously when dealing with religious proclivities.
    Does Mickey Mouse adequately represent "Mouse Spirit?" perhaps. Are cartoons about "super heroes" actually expressing sublimated paganism, I think so. Therefore, when dealing with an illustrated form using less hidden messages,(such as Marvels vast plethora of pantheons) we cannot help but note these are expressions of faith, spoon-fed though they may be.
    Now to 'live' representations; for me personally, they're a less satisfactory answer to the question of
    "how to represent deity" and harken back to the Ludi Apollinares of Rome.
    My personal objections aside, we must note that humans have always represented their gods in drama (or at least as far as history can tell) and have always sought to portray their gods in a manner most befitting the nature (or sphere of influence) of the deity in question.
    Herein; I objected to Reeves as Siddhartha, I object (posthumously) to Boris Karloff (and A. Vosloo) as Imhotep, and I objected to Sri Ganesh being played by a person of African descent on the show 'Supernatural' as well as Baldur being a dark-haired, Mediterranean looking man in that same episode.
    All of this to say, I disagree with Heimdall being played by a person of African descent because it loses the spirit of the mythology, but the boycotting, the racism involved and the protests are unnecessary. Let Marvel have their "token." I'm sure, as a community we could come up with, market and successfully sell a movie that's 100x better.

    • Sorry, for those purists out there, in publicizing my objection to certain characters from certain faiths I may have overstepped my bounds…or at least given the wrong impression. I'm NamHa Kemetan, not Buddhist, Asatru, or Hindu. I simply used these to illustrate the point.

  • Windchild

    Ok so let me get this start, someone who worships the Norse Gods and Goddess is mad that a Comic Book Move has changed the Lore. That is kind of what they do to sell a move. I AM a worshiper of the Norse Gods and Goddess and so is my family. I have been a comic book lover since I was a girl. (So scene the 80's) So I can say this and mean it. So What!! It's a move based on comic book!!! (It look really HOT!) Thor is RED head Not some blond guy!! I am sure the Hollywood messed things up. They never said this is a move about the Lore of Thor!! Then I would be pissed.

    I am just glad it is NOT like what Disney did to the Hercules move. Yuck! If this get's people interest in to these Gods, great let them find out the real story about their Lore!! Go read a book and look it up. I think Norse Gods are find just getting air time. How Meany Stories out their talks about the Greek Gods and Goddess. Like the "Lighten Thief" which gave a twist on old lore. I can't wait to more cultures get their Gods some descent air time. Like Egyptians God's or Aztec God's. The going to go in and rewrite things. If you want the truth go look it up.
    I would love to tell the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) take a deep breath and sit down. Or did they for get about the Goddess NOTT: Goddess of Night. The daughter of NARVI, she is black!! Because she is NIGHT!! What about the dark dwarfs and Elfs who are also Black!! In olden times if you probed your self then no one cared what you look like only if you could protect the group or not.
    Grow up!! IT IS THE MOVES!!

  • AW1

    I don't care about the actors skin color, but the idea of having a Norse god as a black man is incongruous with the entire cartoon series and doesn't make sense. Changing Kingpin to a black man didn't really change the character, but changing Thor to a black man fundamentally changes the character. It was a thoughtless decision and I am sure will ruin the movie, fans will simply not like it and no one else is going to watch the movie because it doesn't even make sense from a non-comic point of view. This was a very bad casting move and I hope it doesn't sour another go at the franchise.

  • RobinNJ

    As a long time reader of Marvel and DC, the point everyone is missing is that the character of Heimdall is a white male. Created by the Norsemen, in their own image. I would rather Marvel or the powers that be, create a NEW on screen character in the name of diversity.
    The argument from fans is not that they are racists, they are just purists in the sense that some things, especially race as pertains to a character, should not be changed.
    The irish actor, white guy play was dumb to suggest, that only tries to trivialize the problem in such a way as to also confuse people.
    I was upset when I heard, and I probably will rent this from Redbox as my protest. I think that may be why Losers didn't do well, because I heard that the character Roque was white in the comics? I didn't know that, not reading it, but I will say this, I liked the movie – NOT knowing that of course, doesn't make it right, but when you are catering to fans of the material and appealing to the non-fan base, RACE changing of characters shouldn't be a consideration.
    Shame on kenneth branagh for this choice. As if he didn't learn anything from "Wild Wild West"?
    I like Elba, but really his comment is off on this as well.
    Their are lots a great black characters out there – black panther, mr terrific, blade, the falcon (from the ultimates)
    How would everyone, fans and blacks feel if The Black Panther was played by Chris Evans?
    Fans both white, black, asian, hispanic wouldn't STAND for it! Why, because we know the character, we love him for who he is and we respect that. As a white fan boy of comics from 1973-1995 (when i stopped) I bought black panther, I bought black goliath, captain america and the falcon, never once questioning race. Don't sell us comic fan boys up the river, we are not a hive of retchid of scum and villiany, we are diverse and open minded and tolerant, just not of race changing of our favorite superhero's where FINALLY technology has caught up now to give us great representations on film of them!
    Nuff Said

  • Bookhousegal

    Eh, not this again. I have to tell you that if I were an Asatru looking to get cheesed about a comic book, I'd be looking more at calling the Gods antiquated space aliens, never mind the skin color of an actor.

    Frankly, I think that apart from really liking the actor, it really doesn't hurt to put paid to notions that the appellation 'The whitest God' is referring to some modern racial supremacism.

    I can think of a lot of comic book movies where characters didn't get cast much like I'd see comics as portraying them. Usually turns out OK, though. I mean, Michael Keaton as Batman? How'd they pull that off. 🙂

    You know, for all I liked the X-men movies, I always had an impression of Rogue as more matronly, scrappy, and imposing. 🙂

    As portrayals of Gods go, sometimes things relay work out, even if they're odd: Isabella Rosselini as Athena in that Odyssey production comes to mind. She hardly seems the type, but puts a whole new take on things.

    Sometimes, it's terrible, too. I can remember like Hercules or Xena went to Ireland and the portrayal of the Morrigan (Pretty much everyone and everything, really) was just awful. Some kind of whiny young chick or whatever. They could have found a lot of better actors for *Her,* of whatever color, that would have portrayed Her better. There are a *lot* of things far more important than appearance.

  • Tepintzin Huehueocelotl

    I saw the Thor movie last night as a free show for the military. While having a black Heimdall dressed in gold was a little odd, Idris Ebla played him very, very well, with presence and protective menace.

    The movie is really, really entertaining. And I'm a Thorswoman!

  • Bookhousegal

    Well, I don't think these racist groups would want to admit their Jesus wasn't white, anyway. They just don't like the idea of *non-white* Gods. At all. That'd be cause they're *racists,* get it? 🙂

  • Anonymous

    So…If I am a fan of the comics and just wanted Heimdall to be portrayed as he appeared in them, then I became magically and immediately in a racist?

    What really gets me it is the hypocrisy of the whole situation. I bet if Storm, Black Goliath, Falcon, Luke Cage or Black Panther would be portrayed by a white man/woman (Wich I would find upseting and horrible) then it would be ok to demanding to be loyal to the source material

  • ThorOdinson

    The whole point of casting is to find a guy/girl that looks the part AND can play the part. I don't care if the character is supposed to be Russian but is played by a Canadian… if the Canadian actor looks like the Russian character, can produce the essence of the characters personality and muster a decent Russian accent… than this is a succesful casting.

    So who cares that Portman is jewish… or that Heimsworth is Australian… Heimsworth looks like a big scandinavian guy and does a good Thor impression, that is the point.

    Is the point even to produce characters that are intended to look Scandinavian? Frankly that is secondary to cast actors that look like the ACTUAL MARVEL CHARACTERS. YES, THERE IS LENGHTY MATERIAL ON HOW THESE GUYS ARE SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    You will notice that the casting of Odin, Syf, Loki, The warriors 3 (Volstagg, Fandral and even the asian Hogun) all show an attempt at casting actors that look like th actual Marvel characters… some attempts more succesful than others. YES… even the east asian guy cast as Hogun does look like the Marvel character… who in reality was based appearance wise off Charles Bronson. I guess in drawing, it could be interpreted as east asian even if a more "Charles Bronson" looking guy would have been preferable, Tadanobu Asano (the actor) is way to skinny. Volstagg could have been better casted to but I thought Odin, Fandral and Syf were pretty good.

    So at every turn the idea behind the casting was to take appearance into consideration… except when it came to Heimdall where they obviously did not even try. The guys has nothing of the actual comic book character.

    It screams "We wanted to plug a black actor somewhere" really… so frankly the racism is on THEIR part if you ask me. They are the ones that stopped and figured… hey we cannot not have a black actor in this movie… we need to re-envision a white depicted character as black.

    It's the film makers that decided to do race representation management to start with.
    I guess they feel black actors require affirmative action.

    And seeing as it's clear as day to people pointing it out, it's those people pointing out the ridicule of the film makers' decision that should be called racist???

  • Heimdall is white, Shaka Zulu is black. Case closed.