4 Successful “Wokewashed” TV Shows and Movies

Whitewashing is when white actors are cast as non-white characters, and it’s been an issue in Hollywood for decades. Now, studios are seeing box office success by doing the opposite — known as "wokewashing."

Toxicity of Hollywood whitewashing

Whitewashing — casting white actors in roles meant for non-white characters — has been an issue in Hollywood for decades. But here are X times Hollywood did the opposite and it worked out just fine.


Prior to the 2018’s Aquaman, the nautical superhero was portrayed as a blonde white man. In 2014, Jason Momoa was cast in the titular role. He’s of Native Hawaiian descent and committed to incorporating elements of Polynesian culture and mythology to the role. The blockbuster’s gross. $1.1 billion.


The FBI thriller Quantico received praise by critics for its acting — especially by the TV series’ lead, Priyanka Chopra. The role of her character Alex Parrish was initially intended to be white and only a secondary character. Chopra signed on to change the perceptions of South Asian representation in media and became the first South Asian actor to lead an American network drama, she won 2 People’s Choice Awards for Favorite Actress.

Dr. Who

The BBC’s Dr. Who began in 1963 and has featured 13 actors in the titular role. Despite online backlash to having a female lead, in 2017, Jodie Whittaker was cast in the role to high praise from critics and former actors who had played the Doctor.


In the Spider-Man universe, Spidey’s love interest Mary-Jane Watson is typically a white woman with red hair. But in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, African-American singer and actress Zendaya plays “MJ,”a re-imagining of the character. In addition to receiving praise for her interpretation of the role, the films grossed a combined $2 billion.

The onus should be on those making the movie and casting the characters, but most Hollywood productions are still being made by the same people who thought nothing of whitewashing in the first place.