Year of Origin: September 2016
Platform of Origin: Twitter
The Wound: As live action adaptations of science fiction and fantasy narratives have ramped up in the past 10 years (both in sheer numbers, production values, and profile), fans have become more vocal about these adaptations being opportunities for inclusion. The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is preparing for a several years-long, ongoing series of film adaptations that will steadily include more new “live action versions” of previous comic book-only characters. Tumblr user AthiestJ (who is also @lsiwica on Twitter) initiated the #RyanPotterForTimDrake campaign to urge studios to choose an Asian-American actor (and martial artist) as its on-screen Robin, due to debut in the next few years in film, in order to repair the wound of “default white” choices that adaptations often pursue when casting live action films.
Although AtheistJ organized the campaign, the initial idea was first mentioned on Twitter by Potter himself in what I would call an “off hand” tweet. Fans of his and the blog, @Geeks of Color, picked up on the idea and the blog suggested the initial form of the hashtag, #RyanForTimDrake, which evolved two days later in the more “formal” campaign hashtag.
Ryan’s initial Tweet on 9/4/16
@GeeksofColor (blog) tweet in response on 9/6/16.
@AthiestJ’s tweet to push for the trending campaign, which resulted in a noticeable trend on twitter that day and subsequent fan art, tweets, and blog posts.
Perhaps the most notable bends from this movement have come from Ryan Potter himself. Potter picked up on the campaign after the hashtag began to trend on 9/8/16 and began to use the hashtag and concept in his own social media. He even created a fanfilm “audition” tape of himself in support of the movement 2 days after the campaign began and shared it on YouTube.
The impact of the narrative bending in this case is still unfolding. Many of the Twitter uses of the campaign tagged the studio making the upcoming DCEU films (as they were directed to do by AthiestJ) in hopes of demonstrating their support and enthusiasm before the casting process had even begun. In this case of participatory culture, fans are getting out in front of the studio’s choices in hopes of steering the adaptation. In this way, a casting of Ryan Potter, or any POC actor, would be an act of co-casting and co-writing the story.