When Disney's acquisition of Fox was finalized in 2019, many had immediately assumed it meant the scrapping of Fox's own X-Men franchise with plans to incorporate the X-Men into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But some were initially doubtful of recasts for the MCU, including former X-Men actress Alexandra Shipp, who was cast as Storm in X-Men: Apocalypse.
As for Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige's plans for the X-Men, he assured fans that the property is constantly being discussed, and the MCU debut for the mutants is only inevitable. The MCU has already included multiple X-Men-related locations shown in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and the trailer for the Doctor Strange sequel.
However, Shipp has since had a change of heart and even expressed her thoughts on how the MCU should better change Storm from past adaptations in a recent interview.
A Storm of Darker Complexion
In an interview with ComicBookMovie.com while promoting her new film Asking For It, Dark Phoenix star Alexandra Shipp was asked about her time as Storm in the X-Men franchise and whether she would be open to returning as Ororo Munroe.
She cherished her time in the role, claiming that it was "definitive of my 20s to be part of that" and that it was the first time she had worked on such a big production. This is not to mention reprising the role of Storm played by Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry:
"I loved the experience. I think it was so definitive of my 20s to be part of that. I’d never worked on anything so big and to also be able to play not only one of my favorite superheroes growing up, but also reprising a role Halle Berry played was a huge honor."
However, Shipp has moved on from wishing to return to the role but hopes that "a woman of darker complexion" is cast as Storm when she eventually gets into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Shipp noted that "it's about time that we see that representation" and that "the little girl in me" would like to see it too:
"In the future, I think I’d like to see a woman of darker complexion play Storm. I think it’s about time that we see that representation, and I’m more than happy to see that. I think it would be really great. The little girl in me would really like to see that."
Comicbook Adaptations & Colorism
Fans of Storm were understandably disappointed when Alexandra Shipp was cast as the goddess in X-Men: Apocalypse. As was the case with her predecessor, Halle Berry, Shipp was biracial as the daughter of a black father and white mother, resulting in both adaptations of the character sporting a lighter complexion than in the comics.
In the comics, Storm was born to a Kenyan mother and an African-American father, sporting a dark complexion and spending most of her life in Kenya. Shipp being seemingly self-aware of her casting in the role and pushing for the next actress to have a complexion as dark as Ororo Munroe's in the comics is likely to be reassuring to many.
But to fans' frustration, Storm isn't the first or last character in Marvel adaptations to be depicted with a lighter skin tone. For example, The New Mutants cast Brazilian actor Henry Zaga as Roberto da Costa, aka Sunspot, who is biracial in the comics with a dark complexion.
Even co-creator of Sunspot Bob McLeod blasted the film for miscasting him, stating that it was "Yet another example of Hollywood white-washing. There's just no excuse." But this problem isn't exclusive to past adaptations, as Marvel Studios has gotten similar criticism for casting Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez.
Chavez was initially depicted as an interdimensional visitor to Earth but was coded as an Afro-Latina with a dark complexion. In contrast, Gomez is Mexican-American with a distinctly lighter skin tone than the comic character. It wasn't helped when her recent comic run retconned Chavez into an Earthling and further cemented her parentage and dark skin tone.
However, it should be made clear that these actors and actresses, especially Gomez, shouldn't be blamed for their casting, since the buck stops at the casting director. So, hopefully, Storm won't be cast with another biracial actress for the third time in a row when she makes her way into Marvel Studios' X-Men.