At one point, Alexandra Shipp was creating dissent within the X-Men film fandom with her comments about light-skinned actresses like herself playing Storm. Now, in a new interview with Comic Book Movie, Shipp has had a change of heart. In the interview, she talked about what she felt about playing the character, saying, “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.”
As far as colorism playing into Hollywood’s casting, she said, “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.”
This is a far cry from what Shipp said between 2018 and 2019, as we've previously reported.
During those years in particular, Shipp took on fans who said they wanted to see someone darker play the character, who has traditionally been depicted as darker-skinned in the Marvel comic books.
She originally started the rift between herself and fans when she tweeted back at people who wanted to see a darker-skinned Storm on screen. As she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018, “[I tweeted back] at people who criticized me for not having dark enough skin for my role in X-Men because we’re not going to have this conversation about a cartoon character. You’re not gong to tell me that my skin color doesn’t match a Crayola from 1970. Growing up, when I was reading the comics, I pictured her looking like me. For any Black girl, for there to be a Black superhero, we picture them looking like us.”
"When I auditioned for the role, I wasn't like, 'Oh man, I'm not dark enough,'" she continued. "I was like, 'Finally, this is my moment. I'm not playing Harriet Tubman with a prosthetic nose and darkening my skin tone. I would never do that."
She also clapped back at fans who said they’d rather see Kiki Layne take on the role in future X-Men installments, especially since she was reported as “actively plotting” for the role at the time.
“I won’t ever bad mouth a fellow actor. I won’t ever actively try to take another hard working actor’s job. Y’all can keep trying tp in Black women against each other but it won’t work on me, honey. Stay blessed,” she tweeted, adding, “Black Twitter is so powerful. One second we’re trying to rally and define why our lives matter, the next we’re making each other feel like we’re not worthy of one. I’ll only spread and give love, no matter what tone my skin falls under. Bless up y’all ima go back to work.”
Also, making matters worse for herself, she told Comicbook.com in 2019 how she pitched a Storm film to 20th Century Fox, proposing that Yara Shahidi and Amandla Stenberg join her and Halle Berry in portraying Storm at different points in her life.
“Okay, so this is what I’ve come up with,” she said at the time. “I think it’d be really cool if you had me and Halle [Berry] both teaming up together and fighting a baddie. We have to save the planet past, future, present and maybe throw in Yara [Shahidi] in there, and have her be a young one, or Amandla [Stenberg] be the younger one. I think it’d be even cooler. So I feel like we just gotta get a whole bunch of Storms together, because then people will just be like, ‘Oh my God, that’s so much Storm.'”
To be fair, her idea is based on the precedent set by Berry as a light-skinned actress portraying the character. But Shipp’s idea couldn’t have rubbed salt in the wound more regarding darker-skinned actresses being left out of the Storm casting equation.
While Twitter can be harsh, the underlying criticism revolving around Storm being perpetually lightened in films rings true. Perhaps after stepping away from the X-Men franchise for now, Shipp is able to see what people were actually criticizing.