John McClane and The Temple Of Racism
20th February 2018
ACT I - The Loose Cannon
ACT II - The Bad Mother Fucker
ACT III - Circle In The Sand
ACT IV - Voices
ACT V - The Magic Bond
ACT VI - Black To The Future
ACT VII - Don McLean and the Multicultural Tart
ACT VIII - The Force Awakens
THE CURIOUS CASE OF:
-George Lucas & Star Wars
This is a bit of a long one, so I've broken it up into several shorter Acts that you can jump to. Reason being, I needed to challenge my own perceptions to do the subject justice. I needed to make myself feel uncomfortable by what I was writing in order to open my own mind as much as I could, and make a serious subject humorous at the same time. I don't know whether I achieved that goal, but I am happy with what I have written none the less. Nothing in this article is intended to offend. Just make sure you read the Acts in order, before my concluding Epilogue before making any judgements. And stick with it. Hopefully, it will all make sense by morning ...
ACT I - The Loose Cannon
John McClane has a real bad hangover man. But not because he was drinking last night ... just because he's John McClane. It's an unfortunate in built genetic defect he's had from birth. This is what partly led him to join the NYPD.
Not only did his genetic defect allow him to fit right in, he found that the NYPD was the only major employer that was ok with him turning up to work in an unwashed stained vest every day. Employers like that are hard to find ... especially with a real bad hangover.
But today John isn't wearing his normal vest. He is wearing a vest of sorts, but it's not his usual. And not because it's wash day either. John never washes his vest.
Today, John found himself attempting to tell a passer-by about his genetic birth defect, gaining little sympathy towards his personal blight, as a basketball was bounced aggressively and repeatedly off his head.
Although ordinarily, John would commend the 6 foot 4 inch passer-by with the basketball, on the fact that he clearly hasn't skimped on healthy eating and exercise over the years, and was demonstrably a keen active participant of local sport, on this occasion, it was more of a cause of concern to John rather than a cause for civic reward ...
And this was not because this healthy young gentleman happened to be black, John was not that kind of idiot. John was far more aware than most, that the bag that held peoples innards inside their body came in different shades and textures with varying amounts of fur on it. The fact that this man's bag happened to be brown with an afro on top his head, gave no more meaning to anything than did the fact that the current President of the United States bag happened to be orange with a yellow birds nest sat on top his head.
The colour and fur on the bag meant nothing at all. Nothing. It was the insides that operate the same in all of us that mattered. John knew this intrinsically. He couldn't articulate it. He didn't need to, he was just a NYPD cop with a real bad hangover and a hunch that had an annoying habit of always being right. It's not something he ever even had to query his entire life. It just was. John knew that there was only one race ... the human race. It wasn't a hard thing to know.
As any surgeon will tell you, cut us open, and we are all the same. Sew us back up and send us back out into the world again ... and somehow we are different again? John knew that the purpose of that bag that we all possess was not its colour, but simply to stay sealed in order to stop your insides spilling out onto the floor. Something his occupation had allowed him to see all too often. That was all the bag was responsible for. And that's enough. It's a pretty big responsibility to be fair. Although unfortunately, many of his NYPD colleagues, and even the current President Of The United States, seemed to believe that if a person's bag wasn't white, it meant that it was also responsible for most of society's problems too. Ironic seeing as the President's bag was orange, and he seemed to be causing a lot of problems for societies all around the world all by himself ...
Yep, John knew that it's the insides that matter, the skin was just a bag. And what matters about those insides was not whether someone's insides could perform functions better than others. Not whether someone's insides adhered to one of many man-made supernatural belief systems. Not whether someone's insides was linked to a man-made number in an account somewhere that was either higher or lower than someone else's. Just that those insides remained insides, and were as free, healthy, and happy as possible to reach some form of self-actualisation inside their life span.
But, John was also a realist. He knew all too well that there was a lot of bullshit in society, accumulated over several millennia, that made it hard for people to even want this to be true, let alone actually realise that it is. Bullshit that had ironically led him to have to spill some insides himself, in order to preserve his own and other innocent peoples. But only ever in self defence. It was never something he set out to do - even if people did keep getting killed around him where ever he went ...
It saddened John the amount of human lives needlessly lost over the centuries due to bullshit. John wished it didn't have to be this way, but he knew it was all part and parcel of being a New York cop in a stained vest with a real bad hangover. It was why he was here doing what he did. Unfortunately, you can't just press reset on society. And John knew that it's the ones that believe you can that are often the biggest part of the problem.
Unlike the majority of adults, John remained the default un manipulated human state. John's only real gift, was having empathy for his fellow man as individuals and being able to see through manipulative man made bollocks every single time it arose throughout his life. Titles, wealth, religion, culture, nationality ... John saw through it all. They're all just smoke and mirrors. He knew we were all exactly the same animal. We should be united, not divided. This is what made John the ultimate cop anywhere on the planet, even if it meant the department had to categorise him as a loose cannon because of it ...
But back to John's present. John's current concerns had more to do with the fact that his vest of sorts for the day, was actually ironically a pair of billboards hung over his otherwise naked person, with "I HATE NIGGERS" painted on it in very large, bold, capital letters. That, and the fact that the healthy young gentleman had called over a large group of his friends to meet John, who also appeared to be black and in abnormally prime physical condition. There appeared to be some keen chefs in the mix too, as a couple of them were carrying rather large, very sharp looking knives.
Now ordinarily, whilst John would be walking around telling everyone, "I've got a real bad hangover man," John wouldn't be walking through Harlem naked, with a sign hung over him that read, "I HATE NIGGERS."
No, that John was doing this today, was partly to save these young men's lives along with everyone else's in the city, by preventing a bomb being set off by a deranged mad man, and partly because this was another sequel, so it had to open with something particularly edgy and memorable.
Certainly, the group of young basketball players and chefs, that were now surrounding John and pushing him back and forth amongst them, did not look like they were going to forget Johns vest in a hurry. Indeed, it seemed a bad hangover was about to become the last of John's worries ...
ACT II - The Bad Mother Fucker
Suddenly, a swoosh of sound filled the air followed by a steady continuous buzz of electric hum that caused the group of young men to turn around. Before them glowed a purple beam of light, in front of a mysterious hooded robed figure. The purple beam was flowing from a silver tube gripped firmly in the figures black skinned hands. One of the young men could just about see some etching on the silver handle. Squinting his eyes and edging his head forward, he slowly read out loud the words "BAD MOTHER FUCKER."
"Who are you supposed to be," joked one of the chef's in the group, "The black Mother Teresa?"
The group laughed but the hooded figure did not. In fact his silence and still poise caused the group's laughter to fall to silence as well.
"Say that again mother fucker, I dare you," retorted the hooded figure, "I double dare you ..."
At this, the young gentlemen turned their attentions away from John and towards the hooded figure with attitude behind the humming saber of light. Was this guy for real? One of the group decided that this would be a good moment to show off his chef skills by flicking his knife around his hand and wrist in a variety of different ways. It would have been more impressive if there had been some vegetables of some kind around to chop.
As the group moved in towards the hooded figure, he tightened his grip on his light saber, and pulled it in closer towards his black face spreading his elbows outward at the same time to gain focus. It was like holding the ZL button in Breath Of The Wild to enable Link to focus better on fighting.
And it was in the heat of that intense life or death moment, that Mace Windu, the only black Jedi in the galaxy, realised how cool his current predicament would look on Facebook.
He broke stance for a moment, whipped out his smartphone, turned, and took a photo of himself grinning inanely with the young gentlemen and John McClane in the background. It didn't accurately convey the urgency of his current circumstance at all, but then a selfie never does.
"It does look cool though," thought Windu to himself with an assured nod.
The young gentlemen and John McClane were all looking at each other in equal measures of complete disbelief at this point.
About 30 seconds of silence later, apart from Windu chuckling to himself as he typed, and once Windu had finished uploading the selfie to Facebook with the comment, "#BADMOTHERFUCKER", he resumed his ZL focus once again from where he had left off, ready to continue in the intense heat of the moment that his selfie had just proved to his friends across the galaxy, that he hadn't seen in years and had no intention of ever seeing again anyway, that he was in.
At this point it seemed pretty certain that there was going to be some pretty serious heavy testosterone fuelled black on black male violence (a white LAPD officer nods his head knowingly with a smug grin.) Contrastingly, our protagonist was conveniently going to get a respite from his current predicament. Ironic, seeing as it was his vest that started it all off.
Deaths were likely to be on the cards too, as we were currently dangerously over the maximum amount of black actors, usually one, required to show diversity in a Hollywood film whilst still being able to sell it successfully to white folk around the world.
But even faced with those kind of statistics, Windu knew that he had nothing to worry about what so ever. It wasn't his character arc that was done with yet ...
Act III - Circle In The Sand
Mace Windu had often noted that there really wasn't that many other black guys in his native Galaxy. Although he had always secretly suspected Chewie was black under all that fur too. There must have been some reason he didn't get a medal at the end of A New Hope. He began to suspect that the fur was actually the only thing that kept Chewie alive. "Smart mother fucking move," thought Windu.
At any rate, Mace Windu knew for a fact that he was the only black Jedi in the Galaxy. And he couldn't help but think that's why George Lucas gave him a bad attitude and singled him out with a purple lightsabre.
After all he made the heroic gang of Rebels American. Everyone in the evil Galactic Empire British. Everyone in the greedy, untrustworthy, devious Trade Federation, Japanese, and all of the useless, care free, hapless Gungans, Jamaicans. George seemingly slotted every space race into an established Earth national stereotype. So much so, it wouldn't have surprised Windu one bit if the entire Galactic Empire watched the BBC, drank tea, and had bad teeth ...
But Windu didn't give a fuck about that shit. He was more than happy to be the only bad mother fucker in the galaxy with a purple lightsaber. Shit, he was just happy to be offered the mother fucking part. But the fact that George Lucas clearly liked stereotyping in his movies, hadn't escaped Windu's astute attention.
He particularly noticed this whilst watching Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom. A film, banned from both being shot and released in India, in which an impossibly attractive white American male, a comedy Chinese servant kid, and a ditsy white blonde female that only loves diamonds, survive a life threatening fall from a plane in a dingy, before narrowly surviving going over various waterfalls, and through several dangerous fast moving currents, with the white blonde woman only feeling the need to gasp in terror at the end of it all ... on the sight of a skinny old brown man in sandals standing on the river bank. At which point, the impossibly attractive white American male decides to put his palms together in prayer and nod his head humbly as a sign of respect...
"Respect?" thought Windu, "Fuck me, who the hell does that? Only in George Lucas's world. Mother fucker may as well've asked the dude for a Vindaloo while he was at it ... If the mother fucker was Japanese would he have whipped out his Super Mario hat and asked him for some sushi? If he was Italian would he have whipped the old accordion out and started singing about pasta? If he was Irish would he have jumped up saying "to be sure to be sure" before doing an Irish jig and throwing a potato at him? If he had been German, would he have knocked the mother fucker out with one punch for being a Nazi before ruthlessly tossing him into the river like a worthless rag doll? Oh hang on a minute, that was the first film ... If he had been black would he have started rapping about chicken and rice?"
Windu's temperament was getting more and more agitated as he thought about it, "Sheeeeet, if the mother fucker was black, presumably the ditsy white blonde woman would've been gasping at the size of his dick making a trail in the sand underneath him? She was cured! She didn't give a damn about the diamonds anymore! Sheeeeeeet ..."
Windu knew that the fact stereotypes existed was not George's fault at all. He just used the tools at his disposal to tell an entertaining story well in a limited space of time. Very well in fact. Windu even loved all of George's films himself. Everyone did. But on reflection, he did come to realise that whilst working on viewer assumptions with stereotypes did serve up an easy extra layer of characterisation without having to do anything at all, it also propagated peoples cringe worthy myths and prejudices from the past, forwards into the future.
Windu couldn't help but feel annoyed at how easy it was to sell movies that heavily utilised stereotypes. But hell, it wasn't George's job to save the Galaxy from prejudice, it was George's job to tell a great mother fucking story. And that he did. The mother fucker was a god damn genius. And he still tirelessly continues to give billions of his own money to educational charities on the back of his films timeless successes. George Lucas is a good man. Windu knew this. Windu never held George as the problem. The problem was the dumb ass mother fuckers out there that actually still believe that Indians eat monkey brains for tea ...
But back to the story ...
Violence was not on Windu's mind. Strangely nor was rap music, chicken and rice, or the size of his dick. That was all on the mind of the white LAPD police officers that stopped him on the way there to search his robes for guns and drugs.
Fortunately, Windu had been able to swiftly move them along before they attempted any brutality toward him by waving his hand and saying, "This isn't the black dude you are looking for."
At this they all concurred, "This isn't the black dude we are looking for," and headed off to find some other random innocent black man to mindlessly brutalise. The old Jedi Mind trick always worked a treat on weak minded fools.
No, the only black Jedi in the Galaxy was not there to harm these young men at all. He was there to save them. Like John, to make sure their insides remained insides. Despite being born a bad mother fucker with an attitude and a purple lightsaber, violence was not the Jedi way. Like any other Jedi worth their salt, Mace Windu was only there to distract them peacefully without harm so that John McClane could escape to save the day once again. And also because Yoda thought it better to send Windu to Harlem rather than Sir Alec Guinness ...
ACT IV - Voices
But Yoda deciding to send Windu to Harlem was not a black white thing at all. It was a Sir Alex Guinness thing. He could have been any colour of the rainbow. Didn't matter. Yoda and Windu both knew there was no way any one in Harlem was going to listen to Obi One's well to do old money British colonial accent. Everyone hates the old money British colonials. After all, it was the chosen stereotype for The Emperor's Galactic Empire. And Count Dooku. And Saruman from Lord Of The Rings. And The Lannister's from Game Of Thrones, Dracula, Tony Blair ... it has become synonymous with evil. Yoda knew that if he'd sent Obi Wan in to smooth things over, he'd have had the genocide of Harlem on his hands as Obi Wan was forced to defend himself as soon as he started talking.
The trouble with Obi Wan was, he had a terrible habit of sounding like he was talking down to everyone he met. He couldn't help it, like John McClane's perpetual bad hangover, and Mace Windu's Bad Mother Fucker attitude, it was an infliction Obi Wan was just born with. Although he never said, Yoda often suspected that's why Anakin flew off the handle like he did. Having to listen to that patronising, condescending tone, from someone who had falsely made out that he'd never put a foot wrong his entire life. Every. Single. Day ...
Yoda never let him know as it would have hurt his feelings, but he didn't send Obi Wan to Tatooine to protect Luke at all. Look what happened to Luke's dad when he was supposed to be protecting him! Luke was son of Darth Vader for fucks sake. He could take care of himself. It struck Yoda, that despite Obi Wan walking around sounding like he was superior to everyone else, he was not particularly proficient at anything at all. Even when asked to go into hiding, all he did was change his name from Obi Wan Kenobi to Old Ben Kenobi. That was it. Rubbish. No, Yoda sent Obi Wan into exile on Tatooine to stop his old money British colonial voice causing any more unwanted accidental violence across the Galaxy.
And on the subject of voices, Yoda was not overly impressed with his own. He was born the wisest most skilled Force wielder in the galaxy, and yet George Lucas made him sound like a comedy sidekick idiot. 900 years old, living with and teaching English speaking Jedi's his whole life, and he still can't speak English properly. But Yoda knew why he was born with that particular perpetual speech infliction. Same reason so short he was born. Yes ...
Yoda was certain that when Lucas created him he wanted him to be Chinese. The wise old sage stereotype. After noticing how everyone else in the galaxy seemed to fit into some kind of Earth stereotype, and after watching Temple Of Doom, and how he embarrassingly portrayed Indians, it wouldn't have surprised Yoda one bit, if Lucas had made the original design of him yellow with slits for eyes and goofy teeth, holding a pair of chopsticks and a bowl of rice. Frank Oz must have talked him out of it and made him green instead, with comedic connotations to take the edge of him. There was no way American audiences in the early 80's were going to accept having a Chinese guy at the helm, as the wisest, smartest, most powerful Jedi in the Galaxy. A green guy is perfectly acceptable to be running the show, but a Chinese guy ... fuck off. They were supposed to be neutrally doing laundry or else doing evil deeds raising ancient spirits from the dead back in the 70's and 80's ...
Yoda was thankful, however, that he never had to meet Han Solo. If he had to suffer the indignity of Solo putting his palms together in prayer and nodding his head humbly as a sign of respect he'd probably have gone to The Dark Side the way Anakin did too.
After seeing how Solo treated droids, particularly poor old C3PO, Yoda had no doubt that Solo would have gone the whole hog and ordered a bowl of rice too in front of everyone. And everyone would have laughed. The impossibly handsome cunt ... let's see how he'd get on being 3 foot nothing, green, with a speech impediment, a cock the size of a cocktail sausage, and more wrinkles than one of Kermit the Frogs testicles! Wise man once say, so cocky then, he would be not. Hmm?
But back to Windu. Yoda sent him to Harlem as the best man for the job to allow McClane to escape with zero casualties, not because he was black. It just so happened that he was black. And whilst others might not see the importance of the distinction, and have been quick to declare Yoda a racist, when you're a 900 year old green guy, created by a white guy, that believes he should have been a yellow guy, you really don't care a fuck about what people think about colour anymore. It doesn't matter. It's just a fucking bag. Yoda knew this. He was more concerned about the size of his ears and the fact he had a dick like a cocktail sausage. At any rate, Yoda was always Yoda and the job at hand was always the job at hand. Yoda knew Windu was the best man for the job. Yoda was wise. Yoda was Chinese.
And McClane was McClane, and as such he had already escaped. He had disappeared down an ally into a new street, ditching his highly offensive vest in some bins on his way. All that was left for Windu to do was retract his purple lightsabre and Jedi jump out of shot. Which he did, seemingly disappearing up into thin air. As the group of men looked around shrugging their shoulders in confusion wondering where the 2 men had gone, a business card floated down from the sky to the floor. It simply read "#BadMotherFucker" with a Facebook thumbs up icon centred beneath it.
There was no black on black male violence at all (a white LAPD officer shakes his head in disgust) and their bemusement was short lived. They continued enjoying peacefully playing their game of basketball before disappearing themselves as the scene closed.
ACT V - The Magic Bond
McClane had done what the mad man had asked. He had worn the grotesquely offensive vest in the proposed destination as requested. Was it enough? At any rate he now found himself naked and running down another street in Harlem. You couldn't really say his position had improved by much. Looking around frantically for anything to cover up with, he accidentally crashed into something in his mid-riff. Regaining composure quickly he realised it was a young girl with a magical glint in her eye.
"Whoa!" he exclaimed covering up his modesty.
The girl laughed. "Don't worry, I've had much more powerful wands than that waved around in front of my face before," she said, "Allow me to introduce myself ... my name is Hermione Granger."
John paused for a moment. "But you're ..."
"Black?" interrupted Hermione.
"Young," corrected John, "In The Cursed Child you were much older?"
"Oh yes," said Hermione, "He's mixed the two of us up again. My form changes from time to time. But my character remains exactly the same."
John looked at Hermione more closely. She wasn't Emma Watson or Noma Dumezweni. She looked more like a blacked up Emma Watson.
There may have even been shoe polish ... John really couldn't tell? Was someone trying to force a point here? John had had a really weird day - even by his standards. But it seemed to be getting weirder.
"Haven't you worked it out yet John?" laughed Hermione, "I thought you were a cop? Are you normally able to break the 4th wall John? When was the last time you saw a Jedi in Harlem let alone had the power to hear their thoughts? That perpetual hangover since birth ... do you even remember your youth John? Any of it? Do you even have a background at all? Do you even remember a day where you weren't wearing that stained vest, apart from today obviously?"
John had to admit he couldn't. "You're very fast Miss Granger. You're very fast."
"We are figments of the imagination in a white man's mind as he sleeps John. All of this is. We are currently memories, electrical signals stored in neurons and firing through synapses in his brain. We're mixing and interacting with tons of other memories and thoughts past and present, to create this version of reality he subconsciously sees and feels in his mind right now. That's why all these different films and mediums of different times are coming together mixed with social context John. This is a dream. But it feels as every bit as real to him right now, as it does to us. It just goes to show how media and stories significantly affect our brains doesn't it?"
"It certainly does Miss Granger, it certainly does," agreed John in a cool manner just trying to keep up, "So why us then Miss Granger? Why here? Why now?"
"Well," continued Hermione, always excited to have the opportunity to show off her intelligence, "We are all only active because something stimulated his mind to release us from his archives as he sleeps. That's the only reason any of this whole article, scene, whatever the hell it is, is here. He probably got drunk watching Die Hard With A Vengeance and flicking through Facebook, after reading some article about racism whilst chopping his vegetables for dinner or something. The rest is just a domino effect of association to other things already in his mind. Past and present. It's not even his final thoughts necessarily - we are all playing our part in helping to shape them right now. It's really not that weird at all when you think about it. It happens to every human being whilst they sleep. Their insides are all the same. This guy is just an everyday bog standard normal white guy from England, sleeping. Nobody has sane dreams. No one. And whilst in the real world, the events in this dream might be considered highly offensive ... there are no thought inhibitors or things such as political correctness in dreams John."
"Clearly," said John with a wry smile and a glint in his eye.
"His brain is basically defragmenting like a computer as he sleeps John. He's currently in REM sleep. A scan of his brain would show it to be lit up like a Christmas tree at this present moment in time. And we are part of the scenes generated in his mind from that process right now. He probably won't remember any of this when he wakes on a conscious level, but important changes are still being made John. Memories are being recalled in order to be moved around, sorted, collated, transferred and compartmentalised in his brain for future efficiency as we speak. Some will even be removed or overwritten."
"And do you know what that means for us John?" asked Hermione.
"In the morning we'll be dead?" quipped John.
"No," replied Hermione annoyed, "It means that just by the very fact that we are here at all, we have the power to change his mind set in some way ... and we won't be dead by morning, trust me, just re-stored somewhere in the neurons in his brain. In hibernation again if you like until the next time something stimulates his mind to recall us again."
"Still doesn't fully answer my question though does it, Miss Granger," added John coolly, "Why us? Why here? Why now?"
"Well isn't it obvious?" replied Hermione annoyed at John's inability to be as smart as she was.
John said nothing. He figured he had more to gain by saying quiet at this moment.
"It's quite clear that his current subconscious places particular importance to you as you are clearly the main protagonist of this scene," explained Hermione, "It's almost as if he's using your characters personality, John, as the measure of how he should re-sort this jumble of information. As such I'd say that you have no chance of being deleted wouldn't you?"
John tilted his head with a half smile and a glint in his eye, implying that he wasn't going to argue with that.
"He thinks you are a good man John. Most people do. And you are ... because you've been written that way in the real world. You're message to your wife in the original Die Hard was lovely by the way ... but anyway, what's more interesting here is, thanks to our well defined fictional characters in the real world, very similar versions of you, and me, will be in millions of people's minds right now across the globe as they sleep. So it doesn't only mean we can make changes here, it means that we actually have the power to make changes all around the world John. Change mind sets from the inside out. Change the way people think. We can actually make a difference on the biggest stage John. We can play a part in changing the collective human consciousness for the better as a species."
A glint sparkled in John's eyes as a half-smile emerged on his face, accentuating those ruggedly handsome deep creases under his cheeks, characteristically arching outward form the edges of his nose to the corners of his mouth. He turned to face Hermione, brow slightly crunched. Firstly to look fucking cool on camera, but secondly as a precursor to some more John McClane style interrogation. He had stayed quiet long enough.
"Very cute,' said John followed by a slight pause, "So this is all happening in some guys head? And none of this is real? And you expect me to just believe that?"
"Of course it's happening inside some guys head John," answered Hermione, "Why should that mean that it's not real?"
John remained cool, calm, un phased. "That's a fantastic line miss Granger. I'm sure some great author will use that concept one day and make a lot of money out it ... but I'm a NYPD cop with a real bad hangover and a hunch that always seems to be right. It's true I've seen and heard a lot of weird shit today. I won't deny that, but just listen to what you are saying. The power to change the world overnight? The power to improve the human race? There's plenty of nut jobs out there that have strapped bombs to their chests, built segregating walls, committed genocide, tried to re write history by burning books and writing new ones, tried to get inside people's heads to manipulate them and tell them how they 'should' think. They've all said the exact same thing. It never turns out good. For anyone. And all in the race to a dream they had in their own head to make humanity 'better'? You've put some shoe polish on your face, showed off your intelligence, and thrown some flattery my way, and suddenly I'm just supposed to believe we're a couple of super heroes that can fix humanity just like that? Isn't that how it always starts? I'm an NYPD cop with a real bad hangover and hunch that always seems to be right ... do you realise how ridiculously crazy this all sounds right now? Give me one good reason why I should believe anything at all you are saying to me Miss Granger ..."
Just then, a tall black man entered the scene. Incredibly handsome, physical, suave, sophisticated, effortlessly cool, and oozing charisma, dressed head to toe in immaculate expensive dinner attire, he had commanded both Hermione and John's full attention just by his mere presence. As he adjusted a cuff link stylishly on his shirt, Idris Elba raised an eyebrow and said, "The name's Bond. James Bond."
"I believe you," said John to Hermione abruptly, "So how do we get out of this fucked up prison?"
ACT VI - Black To The Future
"You still don't get it do you John?" said Hermione, "This prison is where we exist. You don't have a past to recall and you don't have a future to escape to. The guy who's mind we're in does. We are part of his past. And back in his future, this dream world is where he will escape to every night. When his world goes black, ours lights up. Believe it or not, the madness we're in in here, helps keep him sane out there. But we never get to escape John. This madness is our universe. The best we can hope for is not to be erased. You are not an NYPD cop, Windu isn't the only black Jedi in the Galaxy, Yoda is not a green Chinese guy, you, we, are all nothing more than electrical signals stored in neurons firing through synapses in his brain as he sleeps. Despite our different appearances, we are all exactly the same type of beings under the surface. There is no way out for any of us ... except being erased by Cortisol if we don't stay relevant. It will happen to most other memories in this mind eventually John, but not us. Because, like George Lucas's creations, we're luckier than most memories as our boundaries remain strongly defined by the real world fictional characters of us in his, and countless other minds all around the globe. His mind will never erase those. They'll stay with him and millions of others until they die John. Like I said, it's amazing the power media has in influencing minds in the real world. People don't realise the extent it embeds itself."
Hermione continued, "Even though eventually he'll forget most of his own real life childhood years and friends, and most moments in his real life as he ages, he'll never forget us John, or the events in our lives, even though we are completely fictional. Never. His kids aside, he gets more genuine pleasure watching you in Die Hard at Christmas every year than he does spending time with his own family John. Real or fictional, in here it doesn't matter. They are all exactly the same thing in here. Just electrical signals stored in neurons that will either be triggered or not by real world events, and will either be buried deep or simply erased by Cortisol as and when they no longer serve an efficient purpose. We are only lucky that he holds us in such high esteem. I dread to think what infinite horrors other Hermione Granger's might be suffering in other men's subconscious minds across the globe right now as they sleep ..."
And on that thought, both John and Hermione suddenly found their focus going, their surroundings were starting to blur and darken around them. Only Hermione repeatedly calling John's name somehow managed to bring reality back around both of them.
"John! You've got to stay focused John. You've got to stay in character John. Dream worlds can change in an instant around you John depending on where HIS subconscious mind strays. I think we accidentally led it astray by thinking out of character John. Too much beyond the 4th wall talk and non sexual characters thinking about sex. It breaks the integrity of his memories. And when that happens, scenes fall apart at an accelerated rate and we all go back into storage John ... plus he's male John. His mind would happily switch to thinking about sex in his sleep. Stay with me John. I'm not done with you yet John ... John!"
Something to do with the repeated sound of his name in the warming sleepy haze, led John's mind and surroundings to accelerate from the point of almost no return, back from the black hole devouring him, back into fully focused vivid reality once again. It felt like he had been jolted awake after sliding down the bed in his sleep. Hermione felt it to. So did the mind they were in. But fortunately, it wasn't potent enough to wake it up on this occasion.
"We were lucky there John," said Hermione, "We must act faster from here on in."
ACT VII - Don McLean and the Multicultural Tart
Just then, Idris Elba slid up to Hermione and leant on the bar in the kind of suggestive, inappropriate, cheesy manner that only a secret agent in a long running film series could pull off. He raised an eyebrow as if about to embark on some corny one liner ...
Hermione cut him short, "Oh fuck off you twat," she said abruptly before walking off.
Harlem was long gone, the 3 actors were inside a casino now.
"Why the hell am I still naked?!" protested John. "He gets to wear a suit!" he exclaimed pointing over at Idris who was now raising an eyebrow to camera as he snogged some random long legged, high skirted white girl he held at a 45 degree angle. Her angle and limp posture implied he must have caught her mid swoon. She didn't seem to mind. Her first words after unlocking lips were lustfully, "Oh, James"...
Hermione commanded John's focus, "John! He's James Bond, he's allowed to think about sex. It's how he was written. You're John McClane. You're not. Stay in character John. It's important." And with that, she waved her wand. The spell that was released made McClane fully clothed again. He was now back in full character, stained vest as it always was.
"Thanks," said John, "What now?"
"Well," said Hermione, "The scenes and content are clearly breaking down fast. It's all becoming unstable, being sucked back into storage. And very soon so will all of us. Back into hibernation I guess until we're recalled again. We'll just remain dormant until something stimulates his mind to un cache us again. At which point we will awake in a whole new world just like we did in this instance. Normally we'd remember nothing of any previous scenes or encounters we were in. Even if he had recurring dreams and the exact same scene played out again and again in his sleep throughout his life, we'd normally be completely unaware that we were even on repeat each time."
"Normally?" quizzed John, "How do I know I'm not on repeat now? That this isn't just a recurring dream that I'm stuck in?"
"You don't," answered Hermione, "But that's partly what makes you so special John McClane. Even if it was, would it change anything for you at all? Isn't tomorrow always a just another day to Die Harder for you anyway John? Another chance for a real bad hangover? Another chance to naturally fight the good fight without really thinking about it too much?"
Hermione gestured her wand first towards John, then at Idris, and finally to herself before chanting, "Rememberato Memorio!" The flash of light they all absorbed from Hermione's wand gave them all the feeling of being inflated with a refreshing burst of energy that they each then let out of their system with an elongated exhalation.
First John, "Ahhhh."
Then Hermione. "Ahhhh."
And Then Idris. "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ... ahhhh ... ahhh."
Idris's eyes were closed and he was looking upward, grinning ear to ear like he had just cum. It's just possible he may have. What this meant for the real world guy sleeping I dread to think.
John and Hermione looked at each other in disbelief.
"I don't know how much time there is left John, but rest assured, you, me ... him. We'll all of us remember everything each time we are un cached again from now on. We have the power to change things John. But slowly. Over time. It can be done I know it can."
"Change what? What can be done?" interrupted John.
"No time to explain now John, you'll know when you feel it. When it's time to go, you'll know. Just like I do now. With a bit of luck, I'm hoping that the other Hermione Grangers in people head's as they sleep across the globe will be able to work out how to do the same thing that I just have. It's highly possible as J.K Rowling defined me so well in the real world that most people will imagine me in a very similar way. The colour of my skin shouldn't make any difference in a dream. After all, it's not uncommon at all to dream of someone you know in a completely different body. But in the dream you still know it's them. You don't even notice it in fact. You only notice it if you remember it on waking and question it with your conscious mind. And even then, you still know it was so obviously them ... just in a different body. Dreams are very powerful John ... and I feel my time in this one is nearly done. Just trust me ... you'll know when you feel it."
Hermione was starting to disappear in front of John. "Well, Miss Granger," said John with a friendly wry smile and a glint in his eye, "It's been nice knowing you."
"And you John," said Hermione with a warm friendly smile. And with that she was gone.
John turned to face Idris. He was now in bed, head and muscular shoulders poking out of the bed sheets, on top of another very attractive young white woman who looked limp, red faced, and in a hot flush, barely able to catch her breath, let alone talk. She had a smile from ear to ear.
"I was wrong about you," Idris whispered in his deep smooth tone, whilst gently stroking her beautiful soft long hair as she took time to recover from the proceeding 30 minutes of off screen High Intensity Interval Training, "I thought Christmas only cums once a year." And with that he was gone too ... but not without getting one last final raised eyebrow and cheeky grin at the camera before he went.
"Son of a bitch," John murmured slowly to himself with a wry smile and a glint in his eye, "He's going to actually do it isn't he." John felt happy for Idris.
John had always held himself as a practical realist. He usually wished that people that tried to change the world overnight, would quit being part of the fucking problem, and start being part of the solution ... but for the first time in his life, he had started to wonder, perhaps the power of dreams really did exist after all?
John thought to himself that maybe Hermione was right? Maybe she and all the other figments of imagination, in minds all around the planet as people slept, did have the power to change the world? But what he couldn't workout was why Hermione believed in him? What was he supposed to do?
Belief. A higher purpose. Was he nuts? Was he like the guys strapping bombs to themselves, building walls, burning books, believing in outdated nonsense?
No he wasn't. He was just himself. He wasn't being manipulated. He was his internal character like Hermione said he needed to be. With his only real gift, being having empathy for his fellow man as individuals and being able to see through manipulative man made bollocks every single time it arose throughout his life. Titles, wealth, religion, culture, nationality ... John saw through it all. They're all just smoke and mirrors. He knew we were all exactly the same animal. We should be united, not divided. This is what made John the ultimate cop anywhere on the planet, even if it meant the department had to categorise him as a loose cannon because of it ... this is what made him John McClane.
And with that, he suddenly realised what it was he was supposed to do in this world. What it was to help gradually change this nut jobs mind he was trapped in in the future for the better. He just had to do what he always did. He just had to be himself. What better advice was there in life? Just be yourself. That was clear now. He was feeling it ... but he was still there.
John was going nowhere.
ACT VIII - The Force Awakens
John now found himself alone in his humble rented New York apartment. The last man standing as always. He started to feel a sense of closure coming in his own mind. Better late than never thought John. The NYPD cop in him suspected that this hunch meant he was finally about to be filtered into storage somewhere in this messed up guys brain like Mace Windu, the group of basketball players and chefs, Hermione Granger, and Idris Elba had been before him. He didn't know if he'd remember any of this or not. He couldn't even be sure that he wasn't just a repeat in a recurring dream. Either way, it didn't matter, he'd just do what he always did. Just be himself. That was his message to change the world.
His feet were tired. He took off his shoes and made fists with his toes. A trick he had learnt a few Christmases back. It always did the trick. "Son of a bitch," he murmured to himself with a wry smile and a glint in his eye. He headed into the bathroom and let out a sigh as he leaned on the sink toward the mirror. The stained vest, the hair line ever so slightly more receded than yesterday, John stared pensively into the reflection of his own eyes. The windows to the soul as they say.
Seeing as he was about to go anyway, he thought over all of the things that had been seen, said, thought and felt in this crazy synapse in this nut job white guys mind. Crazy. A bag. That's all it is. A fucking bag. And yet deep down he knew, even the people out there that say they are colour blind, that say they don't have an issue with colour, that say we're all equal. The people that say they hold no prejudice, don't fall for stereotyping, and aren't affected by the words and images in the media. Despite all the best intentions in the world, not one of them read this article, and created an image in their mind of John McClane, similar to the black skinned man that stared back at him from the mirror.
John's heart died inside. He never had any problem with Bruce Willis playing him at all. He was clearly the best choice as an actor. He played the character to perfection. It just really got to him that if he was honest with himself, he knew people would find it more believable that an ageing John McClane could jump from lorries to jet planes on a collapsing motorway so long as he was white, than they could that he could have brown skin. Why? It's just a bag. A fucking bag. Was it really too much for him to dream that one day people might be able to see past the colour of the bag that held our insides in? And in that moment, John McClane felt a deeply emotional sudden pang of gross injustice explode inside of him. And in doing so, even if it wouldn't consciously remember it by morning ... so did the white guys mind he was trapped in.
"Like I said Miss Granger. You're very fast. You're very fast."
And on that, with a wry half smile and a glint in his eye, John McClane disappeared back into storage too.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, it really is a messed up world we live in. And I'm just another messed up person with in it. But what's crazier, to dream of a better world for us all ... or not to?
Skin really is just a bag that we all have in common that comes in different colours with varying amounts of fur on it. Our insides are all the same. That's just a fact. We are all the same animal. And yet we walk around day to day divided. That is also a fact. So what divides us? It's not just skin colour that's for sure.
Several millennia of Nations, finance, religion, cultures, sex, orientation, age, confidence, intelligence, attractiveness, love, hate ... The list is endless. Basically all the things that make us human, divide us. Or in other words ... history. So if that's the case, what binds us?
Several millennia of Nations, finance, religion, cultures, sex, orientation, age, confidence, intelligence, attractiveness, love, hate ... The list is endless. Basically all the things that make us human, bind us. Or in other words ... history.
So, even though we are all the same animal, we are also all different. And history both divides us and unties us. No wonder we are all so fucked up. We're a perpetual paradox. So what of the future? What's the solution?
Personally, I think the way forward has to start from individual empathy and logic, that comes freely from the inside out, not forcibly from the outside in. I feel that strongly. And that's going to take time. It's going to take some soul searching. It's going to take questioning your own impulses. It's going to take questioning the society you live in, questioning culture, questioning religion ... it's not something that can be achieved overnight. You can't do it by ranting and raving, pulling down statues, changing road names, and trying to erase history. You cannot force a mind set. And anyone who tells you that it can, or thinks that they have the right to enforce it, you should be very wary of. Hard wing lefties are just as bad as hard wing righties. And as with all mad men, neither side can see it. But it will happen eventually. We'll get there. I'm sure of it. If we don't, I think we'll simply cease to become efficient as a species. The universe will simply use its own version of Cortisol to erase us and forget we ever happened. And so it should. I don't think there is a single thing in existance that will miss us; the fucking mess we've made of this planet.
But that's the real world. That's easy. Says a white guy like me that isn't subject to racism on a daily basis since ever ...
But what of the fictional world? For some bizarre insane reason, the fictional world becomes even more complex than the real? ...
If skin is just a bag that comes in different colours, why is it still such a massive bone of contention when it comes to swapping that bag to a different colour in a completely fictional tv or film character? After all, they are pure make believe. They are not even real ... or are they?
In people's minds, memories of fictional characters are very real, even outliving many of their own real life memories. They are electrical signals stored and interpreted in your brain that unlock feelings like everything else that we experience. Real, fictional, conscious, or subconscious. They mean an awful lot to an awful lot of people. The issue is the same. History. Many fictional characters often have very detailed histories and physical descriptions attached to them.
But all history, fictional or otherwise, is conveyed in different ways in our minds by different media. We are very visually influenced animals. This is what people often over look when a character in a film changes actor or skin colour.
Whilst books definitions of characters are always left open to interpretation as there is no finite visual representation of them, the same is not true of film. It's one of the huge advantages of books over film, that they force you to use your imagination. There could be a million actors that could suit the role of playing a particular character. Books go into thoughts in ways that films cannot. They define characters irrespective of actors in ways that films cannot. As such they are a purely thought based medium. Of course, you generate an image in your mind as you read, but visually that image is always loose, blurred, open to subjective interpretation or change.
In a book, no two people will ever visually imagine a scene exactly the same. Where as in a film, no two people can ever visually see a scene differently. A fixed visual image is just not required in your mind in a book. But in a film it's essential. Like a dream, in a book, a characters physical form can change as you read and learn more. The visual embodiment, is just not important in a book relative to the feeling of the essence of the character that is being articulated.
With films on the other hand, scripts cannot include any direction that cannot be visually seen or heard on screen. As soon as an actor is cast, because we are such visual animals, our minds just accept that that is how that character is supposed to be. All the other other million possibilities are suddenly wiped away. We are left with just one very visual representation of that character in our mind. People struggle with any deviation from the original actors once they are cast and set in stone in their minds. Sean Connery, Christopher Reeve, Emma Watson ... the original always seems to have the momentum to be considered the best over time. Either that or you tend to prefer the one that you saw first or the most of.
So much so, that even in any books of the series you read afterwards, characters remain the fixed mental image of those physically cast in real life in film. If you'd never seen them in film, they'd instead remain loose and open to subjective interpretation. In the book, a million actors could play the role perfectly. But once an actor has been cast in a film - it's as if only one actor will ever fit the bill.
So even though they are fictional characters that never even had a fixed physical form until an actor was cast to play them in a film, a sudden obvious change to that physical form can cause great disturbance to many fans. It's like having a family member walk into the room, same character, different body. It's very jarring ... unless you live with the Kardashians. The amount of plastic surgery they've had between them all, they must get that sensation on a regular basis!
I can't help but think, that instead of antagonistically labeling people annoyed by the swapping of characters skin colours "racists", surely people need to first ask themselves why it is that it really even being done in the first place, and is it going to alter anything for better or for worse if it is done? If the answers not satisfactory to either of those, whilst always an issue for contention, surely the best solution is just to create something brand new for all to enjoy, instead of altering the old and upsetting people needlessly? That way everybody wins. I'm pretty sure that that least harm logic doesn't make anyone a "racist" by default? They may just not like that particular actor, irrespective of skin colour. The bottom line is, it's all subjective anyway.
And why are people only focusing on certain films and not others? Why is no one pushing for a black Mr D'Arcy or for an Indian Black Panther, or for a South Korean Gandalf for instance?
I don't get worked up over it ... because they are all fictional characters. But I have to say, that I do feel that some people seem obsessed with turning a white character black just to pat themselves on the back. As said, that in itself can be deemed racist too. And imagine if the situation was reversed. For instance, imagine making Shaft or James Patterson's Alex Cross character white? Or even Jesus ... Why? Why would you ever want to do that? It's madness.
Why tamper with old established character's when you can simply create new ones? Fictional characters may be fictional, but because we are such visual animals, the continuity of their image means a lot to an awful lot of people. This doesn't make people racist by default.
I don't think skin colour in films is ever going to be a clear cut black or white issue ... or even yellow or green one. The swapping of skin colour in fictional characters is always going to be a grey area for contention because of history, the politically correct brigade, and the way our minds seem to favour prioritising visual information over our other senses. And of course because of actual racism from some people too, which unfortunately is very much still alive and kicking in some people. It's always clearly going to be an issue that bothers some more than others on both sides of the argument.
But it's important to step back from it all and keep perspective. Which ever side of the fence you find yourself on. You've got to remember that these are fictional characters. Pure make believe. They are not real people. The people you are arguing with over it are ... real people the same as you. Which is more important?
To finish up the topic, here's how I see things personally with regards current contemporary skin colour issues in fiction at the time of writing ...
George Lucas & Star Wars
Jesus Christ ...
The guy's from the Middle East in the story. He should look like Saddam Hussain. And yet in all the pictures I saw of him growing up, he was a pale skinned white guy. That makes no sense.
And whilst it doesn't matter what he looked like, it's his character and what he had to say that matters, it does feel a bit off that his skin colour has been deliberately switched at some point in history doesn't it? I think this should be addressed in some way, but you try telling a right wing Christian Texan with a shot gun that his image of Jesus hanging on his wall is incorrect and that it should look more like what he would consider to be a "terrorist." But then again, it's all academic anyway as, as with all religions, I think there are plenty of other falsehoods that need addressing well before that ...
This one's as clean cut as you can get. The Doctor isn't a white male from the UK. The Doctor is a timeless alien, a Time Lord that regenerates a new body and personality upon death, that is currently well over 1000 years old. I've lost track of the timeline. But at any rate, that's small fries to eternity. It is neither male or female or a specific skin colour or age. Its body and personality alters with each new incarnation, but its memories and past remain intact. As such anyone can be The Doctor with no ill effect to the integrity of the character what so ever. I don't even know why it was ever an issue? To me it's not a gender issue, it just depends how well she plays the role. She a good actor in everything else I've seen her in, although with this, I imagine it will really come down to the quality of the show writing. Dr Who is notoriously hit and miss in quality ... only time will tell I guess. If she's good, she's good, but not because she's a woman. Likewise, if she's bad, it will be because of the way she portrays the doctor as an actor, and or poor scriptwriting ... not because she'a woman.
George Lucas and Star Wars ...
Although I still massively love the film and wouldn't change any of it for the world, it's got so many brilliant iconic scenes, things have changed a lot in cinema since The Temple Of Doom days.
The Last Jedi went to great effort to try to make amends for the heavily stereotypical George Lucas Star Wars prequels ... and it got flayed, lashed, and slated across the internet for it? This makes no sense. There are green and blue people and fury fucking carpets walking around, and even aliens with bollocks hanging out of their mouth. There's even red fish in suits flying spaceships, and nobody batters an eyelid ...
And yet add some women in charge and an even ethnicity spread and the internet goes fucking crazy, waving their arms around like an angry chanting religious Indian mob from The Temple Of Doom.
What can I say. Star Wars has been caught up in a vicious circle it seems it can't escape. You've got to cast some humans from somewhere for fucks sake. I bet Disney wished they never bothered now. It's a thankless task. You just can't win. Better off just focusing on getting those poor Chinese kids working their fingers to the bone in a sweatshop making toys instead ...
James Bond ...
Do I think Idris Elba should be the next James Bond? No. Because I have wanted Tom Hardy to be the next James Bond for some time now. For me Tom's the best man for the job. But Idris comes a very close second. It has nothing to do with the fact he's black at all. If Tom doesn't want it Idris is in as far as I'm concerned ... assuming he'd even want it at all now so much fuss has been made over it. Although to be honest, I've been saying that for so long now, both of them are probably already too old for the part now anyway! Tom's now 40, and Idris 45. I think they need a 35 year old, like he was at the start of the original Bond books so he can make a good run of films and not look like a geriatric at the end of it all!
I'll be honest, it still seriously grates with me when I read or hear people say, "It's about time that James Bond was black or a woman." Is it? Why is it? I'm still thinking why not just create a brand new quality franchise specifically for a black guy or a woman if that's how you feel? Or just continue with Alex Cross or Lara Croft. They are both great characters. You don't hear anyone calling for Lara Croft to be a man. And what about other ethnic minorities? Why isn't it about time Bond became one of those? Let's make him an old balding fat Muslim Chinese woman in a wheelchair shall we?
And of course this is always followed by the implication that you are then a racist for suggesting such a thing. But I want to make something absolutely clear, if what is being proposed is just change for change sake with nothing particular in mind at all, other than blind contrived political correctness, then that always annoys the hell out of me.
But ask me do I think Idris Elba would make a great James Bond ... a resounding yes. He'd be brilliant in the role. Idris Elba is more believably English than most of the other Bonds put together. He was born and raised in Hackney for fucks sake. And his voice is brilliant. Idris is not going to swagger on set with dreads and some jerk chicken and rice just because he has black skin saying, "Ya Man. Da neem is Barnd. Jee-ams Barnd. Shee-a-khan nat sterd Brudda." He's a fantastic actor that would be playing the part of an cold hard English misogynist spy with a sex and alcohol addiction like all the others. He'd be fucking awesome as Bond. In fact the only reason I can see that anybody would say that Idris Elba is not suitable to play James Bond is simply because he has black skin. And I don't agree with that at all.
Bond is a bit of a unique case given that it seems to go on forever, and has had to change with the times in order to survive. The original 14 Flemming novels have all long since been covered, even if just by title and little else, and the films have taken on a formula all of their own to fit the times that they were created in. Some might argue that Bond is white in the books so should be played by an English white man. And I would agree with that whole heartedly if were set in the 50's and 60's, as an accurate re imagining of the 14 books in the time that the books were set. An idea for Netflix perhaps?
As it happens they cast a Scottish man to play the English spy midway throught the book series. When the Dr No film was released in 1962 starring Sean Connery, with an Anglo-Scot accent, Flemming had just published the Thunderball book in the previous year. All Connery's films, were adjusted story wise, to follow the Bond format in that book right from the outset. And, up until this point, Bond was just an Englishman, with no mention at all of his Scottish highland heritage. Connery's perfection of the role, and his physical likeness to that of Bond in the books, led to Flemming writing in his Scottish heritage in the next book in the series, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, published in 1963. He even mentioned Ursula Andress being in Blofeld's Swiss ski resort, commenting on her incredible beauty; Andrss had also starred in Dr No the year before as Honey Rider, only without the broken nose. He was subtly breaking the 4th wall here, giving a nod to the actors in the film and also being influenced by them. But as I think everyone will agree ... this adjustment to the written Bond, because Sean Connery was so damn good and iconic at playing the character, was an adjustment for the better. Sean Connery launched the longest running film franchise in cinema history. He was a little crueler in his portrayal of Bond, the Bond in the books was not as harsh as Connery is at times, but that was down to the script changes for film, and the inability of film to be able to delve into a characters inner thoughts like books can, rather than Connery himself.
The current reality is, James Bond transformed from a series of books, into a long running British film institution that has spanned several decades. And it could span several more. So much has changed in the real world Britain in those decades. The James Bond in the current films is not even from the same era in time that he was originally written to be in any more. That time no longer exists. It didn't even exist at the start of the 70's when Roger Moore took over, which is why they took big risks with the format and had some much appreciated fun with it. The age today's Bond is set in is positively futuristic in every way relative to the originals time.
And in the time that's passed since Sean Connery's Dr No, not only has the whole franchise been re booted in different styles several times, with the stunts and romance scenes verging on ridiculous in all, James Bond has been Scottish, part Irish, part Welsh, blonde, and a hilarious flabby old man in a corset with a bum chin and a hair sprayed bouffant. If you start at the first book, Casino Royale, published in 1953, he wasn't technically meant to be any of those.
However, skip to You Only Live Twice, the last Bond book published whilst Flemming was still alive in 1964, and the penultimate full novel of the series, and you will find a complete background history and chararcter reference of James Bond, written by M, in Chapter 21 "OBIT:". James Bond is not a loosely defined character in the books. It's all there written out for you who he is meant to be, articulated by Ian Flemming himself, through his other timeless character, who knew James Bond better than anyone, M.
But then saying that, M's gone from male to female, Felix Lighter has gone from white to black, and Q has gone from old to young. It never mattered. All of them were great playing their respective fictional character in their respective times. Every actor added their own unique new dimension to the films. But in truth, they are all really just pawns, agents of change, to ensure the brands continued survival. The core components of the brand must remain, but change needs to be embraced just as much as the brand's past or Bond simply won't survive. Change has arrived with every new Bond. Change keeps it alive. It's been changing since the very first film Dr No in fact. The book had nothing to do with radiation and a nuclear missile. That was an influence from the Thunderball book.
And just as the brilliance of Daniel Craig's interpretation of the role has nothing to do with his blonde hair, any interpretation Idris Elba would make of the role should have nothing to do with his black skin. They didn't give Craig the role because he's blonde. He just happens to be blonde. It's a huge difference. The same logic applies to Idris Elba's skin if he were to ever take on the role. Although unfortunately, the media would never be able to resist the play on "Bond is Back" by slipping a drivers learner plate "L" after the "B" in "Back". They'd have a field day with it.
But it has to be re emphasised, that there is a huge, huge, world of difference, from wanting Idris Elba to play Bond, to agreeing with the statement, "I think it's about time we had a black James Bond."
I'd love Idris Elba to play Bond because he would be fucking awesome at playing the character. Not so I can put my arm around him and point a finger at him saying, "Aren't we inclusive these days ..." He's not Megan Markle on BBC News for fucks sake. Why would anyone want to do that and actually think it was a good thing? As always with blind contrived political correctness, that's just a shameful, disgraceful, utter embarrassment to all involved. It's demeaning.
Anyway, like I said, it doesn't really matter much anymore anyway ... at 45, he's already too old now.
The Royals ... (their lives qualify as fiction)
I was annoyed by the news treatment of Megan Markle here to be honest. She's talented, good looking, and has actually earnt her own money: I can't think of any Royals that I can say the same of? I'm just annoyed by the amount of press that chose to focus on the fact that her mum was black and her dad was white instead when they announced their engagement. I honestly hadn't even paid any attention to her background until they kept pointing it out all over the news. And then it left me feeling really angry. What the fuck has that got to do with anything? I know it's the Royal Family, but fuck me ... that someone is black is not news. They're all German and Harry's a ginger for fucks sake ... point the finger at them!
I joke of course. Harry and Meghan are like Hermione and Ron. You can see there's chemistry there. They're lovely together. A good match. Everyone deserves those feelings you can clearly see they are enjoying together. Those feelings are very precious in life. Some people never find them. They are very lucky to have found each other. That they get to share this with the world is only a good thing. It's heart warming seeing any young couple clearly in love as you can see that they are. Young love is one of the few magical things that still remains of humanity. I wish them the best. It'll never last ... she'll be the undoing of that boy. And not because she's black, but because she's trouble.
I just hope with all their rich and famous friends that they don't enlist George Lucas and Steven Spielberg as wedding planners ... otherwise they'll have Indiana Jones crash the palace to knock them all out out with one punch for being German Nazi's, before ruthlessly tossing them over the balcony like worthless rag dolls and slapping his whip around Meghan's waist to reel her in for an un consenting passionate snog. With Meghan now light headed and weak at the knees from this sudden sexual assault, the Indiana Jones theme tune would kick in and all the children from the colonies would suddenly appear for no apparent reason cheering, frantically waving their arms round like a crazy Indian mob from Temple Of Doom, just trying to get a touch of their handsome white savior. Prince Phillip would be absolutely bloody loving it all ...
Hermione Granger ...
With regards Hermione Granger, I haven't seen The Cursed Child so can't really comment on the actors in it but the same applies. The point is, the skin colour doesn't matter either way. J.K Rowling is an author of books. Not a film maker. She created Hermione Granger, a well-loved character characterised in wonderful depth over the series of the books, and expressed herself that there was no background history to imply anything of Hermione's skin colour at all. As an author of books, not a film maker, she knows full well that there is a million women at least out there that could be Hermione Granger. She picked the best of those that applied to play her character. As far as I'm aware, it wasn't an "about time we had a black Hermione Granger" moment. It was just selecting the best actor for the role as the creator of it. Or was it? ...
I read The Cursed Child as soon as it was released in a day, so in my mind Hermione was still Emma Watson because she played the part so perfectly in the films and the play hadn't even been cast at that time. I must admit, I had always just assumed Hermione implied as being white seeing as all the other characters that weren't white in the books were actually described as so, and because Emma Watson was white. It wasn't something I ever really thought about to be honest, just a fair assumption to make. As I'm sure the vast majority would have done. But I wasn't bothered when I noticed that Noma Dumezweni was cast as Hermione in the play. But the change did surprise me, as it did challenge my long established perception of the character. Perhaps that was intentional? Who knows. Either way, you can't argue against J.K Rowling's words and actions like some people seem to be - she's their creator for goodness sake. She's the GOD of Harry Potter. She spent over a decade developing the fictional character of Hermione Granger. It's her intellectual property. She can do what ever she likes with it. It belongs to her. She owns it.
You've got a fictional story full of wizards, witches, giants, talking spiders, centaurs, and hypogriffs, in a make believe world of magic where anything can happen, where anything is possible ... you add just one black person; ruined it. Totally unbelievable. I'm not watching it anymore ... no one seemed to mind when Dumbledore totally changed his appearance and turned Irish?
In my mind Emma Watson will always be Hermione Granger, but not because Noma Dumezweni isn't white, but because I particularly loved Emma Watson's portrayal of Hermione Granger. It was fantastic. Perfect in fact. Particularly seeing as the film and book releases overlapped, and as Watson herself grew up and matured in the role, just as Hermione Granger did in the story. Nobody else could ever compare in my mind. Just in the same way that Superman and Clarke Kent will always be Christopher Reeve to me, and likewise, that James Bond will always be Sean Connery to some, and Roger Moore to others. And that's just subjective preference of an actor in a role, not racism. But I must admit, for me, like so many, because of her casting, it is sometimes hard to remember that Emma Watson is Hermione Granger ... but Hermione Granger is not Emma Watson. The difference is important. I guess that's all credit to Emma Watson though: she totally owned that role. She was perfect for it.
And what of John McClane? Should he be black? "Should" he? No. "Could" he? Of course. The exact same logic applies. Although doing a quick name check on Google, there was a John McLane registered on the 1850 census of Georgia slave owners. Missing a "C" but still a bit too close for comfort - people would surely demand for his name to be changed too? That's when it all starts getting out of hand. He's no longer the same bloody character at all! In trying not to make something about skin colour ... people then go and make it ALL about skin colour. You can't win.
Bruce Willis is perfect as John McClane, but he's too old to continue the role now. And you can't "replace" him as such. Bruce Willis is too good in the role, too charismatic, and too facially distinctive. To try and copy Bruce Willis would fail. It needs a reboot if it is to continue.
The sequels after Die Hard With A Vengeance just got progressively more and more ridiculous as they went on that they didn't even feel like part of the same franchise anymore. Whilst I happily watch the first one every Christmas, think two is OK, and greatly enjoy the third, four and five were absolutely dire films that I'll never watch again.
Like Bond by the end of Pierce Brosnan's tenure, they've gone down the route of becoming such an unbelievable parody of themselves, that a re-boot is desperately needed if the franchise wishes to survive.
We all want another Die Hard, but ironically the way the sequels have gone, the further away from that goal they have gone with each one. They lost the plot. But the original remains the perfect action film.
In my opinion, I'm not even sure that a new Die Hard even needs John McClane ... just a film with all the same elements of the original, only set in the present day, including an awesome lead role that displays all the same survival traits as McClane when backed against the wall.
Set it at Christmas again, and have a news report background moment too, saying how similar the current terrorist situation is to the Nakatomi Plaza incident 30 years ago ... could be refreshing?
And keep the timeless Christmas music too: "Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire, is so, delightful. And when there's no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow."
And some people would still insist that it was not a Christmas film ...