‘Suicide Squad’ is the most diverse superhero cast yet

Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

The much anticipated Suicide Squad, a villainous take on the classic superhero movie, opens in theaters on August 5. Despite some early negative reviews, the third film in the DC Extended Universe franchise is still poised to open at around $140 million and has already broken Fandango’s pre-sale ticket record for August.

Part of the hype could be due to the movie’s star-studded ensemble cast. Suicide Squad boasts talented names such as Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie and Viola Davis. Talent aside, there is something unique about the cast of this flick — they are racially and ethnically diverse. In fact, compared to other high-grossing superhero ensemble casts, the movie has the most diverse cast yet.

Using data from Box Office Mojo and Ethnicelebs, PrettyFamous — an entertainment research site powered by Graphiq — analyzed data to determine the racial and ethnic composition of other high-grossing superhero ensemble casts. They aimed to see how these films stacked up against Suicide Squad in terms of cast diversity.

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As visualized above, the film outpaces other superhero casts by a large margin. Of the main characters, 41.66 per cent are a racial or ethnic minority. Superhero films often have millions of viewers, so a diverse cast of characters has the potential to change the standard of whitewashed blockbusters for the audience.
Accurate portrayals of any country’s make-up, including the U.S. and Canada, are few and far between in the film industry. The closest contender is Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, whose cast is one third minority. On the other end of the spectrum, the cast of Iron Man 3 is 11.11 per cent minority, with Don Cheadle as the only African American cast member. The Avengers is even lower at 8.3 per cent, the movie’s only minority actor is Samuel L. Jackson.
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Hollywood often receives criticism for casting white actors and actresses as characters that should be played by minorities. Matt Damon is currently under fire for his leading role in the upcoming production The Great Wall, a film rooted in Chinese history. Emma Stone received similar backlash for playing the Hawaiian and Asian character Allison Ng in the romantic comedy Aloha.Suicide Squad is also fairly gender diverse. Four of the main characters are women, a welcome departure from the usually male-dominated superhero genre.

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