KJ Apa and Isabel May have been cast as The Wonder Twins in the live-action DC film for HBO Max. Apa, famously known for his role as Archie Andrews in Riverdale, will be playing Zan. He is a shapeshifter…of sorts. He can change his biological structure and take the form of water, ice, or air. May, known for her roles in 1883 and Alexa & Katie, will be playing Jayna. She has even cooler powers than Zan because she shapeshifts into any animal form.
Not so surprisingly, as soon as the news dropped, many were side-eyeing the decision. And honestly, we are too. We never really watched The Wonder Twins growing up. But that doesn’t mean that we didn’t know what they looked like: East Asian or at least POC. But they’re aliens? Well, duh. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t Asian-coded or that people in different POC communities didn’t connect to them. And to many, this feels like white-washing and a loss of an opportunity to give us more East Asian heroes.
But don’t take our word for it on what people think of this casting choice. Here’s what some people are thinking, starting with those who are honestly confused at the casting because they always thought The Wonder Twins were Asian.
Others are blatantly calling out the casting choice of Appa and May as a missed opportunity for Asian representation in the media we create in 2022, especially because they saw themselves in The Wonder Twins growing up.
Others were reminding people that KJ Apa is half Samoan, which is a good thing to know. We honestly didn’t know that.
And of course, there are those who think people complaining is just “woke garbage.” *rolling of the eyes because we didn’t want to include this bit but balance, right?*
Ultimately, it’s not up to white people to decide if The Wonder Twins were Asian-coded or POC-coded. It’s up to those in the communities who saw themselves in The Wonder Twins, that get to decide. So, please shut up, listen, and learn from those in your life who are calling out this whitewashing of characters. Because no matter if they’re aliens or not, they are being whitewashed and that’s a conversation worth having.