Hollywood's mutant power is apparently erasing gay multicultural characters from films.
Stephanie Marie Anderson

5 May 2016 - 12:31 PM  UPDATED 5 May 2016 - 1:15 PM

Josh Boone, director of new X-Men spin-off film New Mutants, this week posted a series of Instagram pictures unveiling what is likely to be the line-up of superhero characters that will make up the main cast.

The photos included four of the original comic's five characters: Mirage, Cannonball, Sunspot, and Wolfsbane, as well as Colossus' sister Magik, a popular character introduced later in the series.

Missing, however, was one of the original line-up and leader of the group, Karma (aka Xi'an Coy Manh).

It appears that 20th Century Fox has decided to replace Karma, a Vietnamese girl and one of the first leading lesbian characters in the realm of superhero comics, with Magik, a straight, white character - and fans aren't happy.

Responses to the image on Instagram included one from heynowjose, who wrote: "so we're just not gonna have Karma? Was there just too much diversity? Or you just couldn't even imagine a lesbian character? SMH."

Instagrammer mcnedelsky added: "Please don't erase Karma, not only a female Asian superhero but also a queer one," 

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The decision to seemingly replace Karma's character with Magik's in the film comes on the heels of GLAAD's report on diversity in Hollywood, which showed that of the 126 mainstream films released in 2015, there were 47 LGBT characters in 22 films. Of those 47 characters, only three were Asian or Pacific Islanders, and male LGBT characters outnumbered female ones three to one.

Despite the depressing numbers, Captain America: Civil War's directors, Joe and Anthony Russo, recently told Collider that the chances of an LGBT superhero were "strong".

“I mean, it’s incumbent upon us as storytellers who are making mass-appeal movies to make mass-appeal movies, and to diversify as much as possible," Joe Russo said.

“I think this is a philosophy of Marvel, in success it becomes easier to take risks."

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There's a tricky arrangement regarding the ownership of certain Marvel characters within film studios. While X-Men is a part of the Marvel universe, the X-Men characters are owned by both 20th Century Fox. Marvel Studios is also a subsidiary of Disney, which owns the rights to the Marvel characters in The Avengers, while also licensing certain X-Men characters from Fox.

X-Men: Apocalypse opens in cinemas on May 19.