He may not be a household name, but Greg Berlanti is nonetheless among the creatives most closely associated with comic book screen adaptations in Hollywood. Sure, he’s done a lot of wholly original work, too, but be it as a writer, producer or director, he’s had a hand in shows based on everything from Archie comics like Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, to the entire Arrowverse of DC stories airing on The CW. Love him, or hate him, there’s no denying his influence on modern comic book-based television shows.
And modern is exactly how he wants his heroes to be, as Berlanti recently spoke about his intentions to modify the DC superheroes in his shows in a way that he believes will be more relevant to the audiences of today. While attending Variety’s Virtual TV Fest, he said:
“In the DC Universe especially, there’s been a focus on us recognizing that we want to create heroes that look and felt like today, not the 1940s or 1950s. They were all very well intentioned when they created those back then, but there’s a certain responsibility that you have if you’re going to escort these iconic characters into this generation to make sure they have the heart of that character, but they don’t have to have the gender or the color of that character or the sexuality.”
All American executive producer Nkechi Okoro Carroll joined in as well, reflecting on the ongoing protests from the Black Lives Matter movement.
“That unfortunate perfect storm created a moment where people couldn’t deny what was happening in this country anymore. Because of that and because of the magnitude of the response we’ve seen, it does feel different. … The speed with which so many companies, networks, studios, other entertainment entities put out statements in support of Black Lives Matter is not something we saw before.”
Race-swapping has already been fairly prominent in Berlanti’s work, most famously with The Flash‘s love interest Iris West and Supergirl’s pal Jimmy Olsen, both of whom are portrayed by African-American actors in spite of their caucasian depictions in their respective source material.
Changes to characters’ sexuality, on the other hand, have been less common, although Berlanti was the executive producer for the Batwoman show, whose titular heroine is canonically a lesbian on both page and screen.
Greg Berlanti is currently working on several new series premiering in the near future, including Superman & Lois, Green Arrow and the Canaries, Strange Adventures and an adaptation of Green Lantern. So, it’s safe to assume we’ll probably know more about these upcoming changes once these projects debut.