Captain America: Brave New World star Anthony Mackie slams the Harry Potter film franchise for its lack of casting diversity, lamenting the absence of Black actors throughout the acclaimed fantasy movie series.

Speaking to Inverse, Mackie criticized Harry Potter's shortcomings regarding representation which have been echoed by many critics of the movie series since its 2001 inception. The Marvel Cinematic Universe actor believes the films would have been better served with more young Black actors and people of color integrated throughout. "Harry Potter had no f---ing Black friends. Frodo walked across the entire universe and never met a Black dude. I want to see Frodo in the hood, which if I ever do Saturday Night Live is going to be a skit I’m going to do," Mackie said.

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Based on J.K. Rowling's award-winning book series, the Harry Potter film franchise has long been under scrutiny for not featuring enough Black and minority characters during its extended run. The most notable Black stars in the Harry Potter flicks were George Harris, who played the pure-blood wizard Kingsley Shacklebolt, and Alfred Enoch, who featured as Dean Thomas, a Gryffindor student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, Harris and Enoch's roles were relatively minor with little dialogue throughout the eight-movie run of Harry Potter. Additionally, the films and books were accused of improperly handling non-Caucasian cultures, as well as perpetuating some stereotypes with the few characters of color they had.

The Problems With the Harry Potter Franchise

Perhaps aware of their alleged misgivings regarding representation, the Harry Potter franchise hopes to fix things through the upcoming titular series on HBO's Max streaming service, which will adapt all of Rowling's eponymous books for the small screen. Reportedly, the Harry Potter reboot aims to have more people of color in its cast, as well as the writer's room, with industry insider Jeff Sneider saying on the Hot Mic Podcast that people behind the scenes are making a "concerted effort" to make this happen. The Harry Potter series received a 10-year order from Max this past April ahead of its adaptation.

The Harry Potter film franchise proved a highly successful one, earning $7.7 billion in ticket sales worldwide while making Daniel Radcliffe a household Hollywood name in the lead role. However, Rowling has cast a dark cloud over the franchise for her various statements about the transgender community, sex and gender identity, which, in part, have led to fans rejecting the upcoming series. Radcliffe has been particularly vocal against Rowling for her comments, though HBO has all but avoided the controversy when addressing questions about the series.

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Mackie is currently filming Brave New World, with his character, Sam Wilson, assuming the role of Captain America for the first time in the acclaimed film franchise, succeeding Chris Evans' Steve Rogers. Mackie features in the MCU tentpole alongside Danny Ramirez, Carl Lumbly, Liv Tyler and Harrison Ford. Along with Brave New World, Mackie's upcoming projects include the Peacock post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, Twisted Metal, and is developing a new film, Spark, which chronicles Claudette Colvin's undervalued role in the Civil Rights Movement.

Brave New World opens in theaters on Jul. 26, 2024. Meanwhile, the Harry Potter reboot is expected to hit Max in either 2025 or 2026.

Source: Inverse