I’m still a little ambivalent about a Black Meg Murray in the upcoming Wrinkle in Time movie. My feelings against it are easy to explain: in my totally book-biased opinion, movies made from books, especially beloved ones, need to stick as close to the book as possible. If I am recalling correctly, Meg has mouse brown hair that turns to a rich chestnut as she grows up. I don’t think her skin tone is discussed; her eyes are said to be beautiful but I don’t remember offhand if their color is mentioned. So based on all that, I’d be fine with her being biracial. Further, her mother is likely to be white (or biracial herself) having auburn hair, which oculd actually add a level to the story line. At the beginning of the story, she gets a lot of flack because her husband is missing; it’s easy to imagine the gossip being even meaner if he’s Black.

Also, sorry, Calvin is Irish-American, period. It’s canonical in the third book, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, as well as in the description of his red hair and freckles.

The argument for changing their race is also clear, though: we don’t have enough places for kids of color to see themselves and for white kids to see their real selves in someone who doesn’t look like them – and that goes double in older books. L’Engle had a terrible time getting the book published; maybe it would have been impossible with a Black MC. (Andre Norton managed it at least once – but it wasn’t her first book.)

Of course a Black girl can connect to Meg as written, just as I did – even though I didn’t live in a big house in a small village with Nobel-prize winning parents. And that would be fine, for one book ….. but not for a girl who has to see book after book after book after book about kids who don’t look like her, or see kids who like her only in there when there’s a specific plot reason for it rather than just because they are humans and this is what that particular human happens to look like.

What would be optimal, clearly, is to go back in time and change society so we inherit more diverse books. Since that’s not happening, well. I’ve got my Meg, in the book, the one I first went to Camazotz with. And my prejudice for sticking to the book is pedantry, far less important than a girl who is still building herself and looking for the books (and movies) to do that with.

(I still kind of wish they’d picked a biracial Meg, though, with brown hair – and given Daniel Radcliffe green contacts when he played Harry Potter. But I might be OK with a Harry who had the canonical black hair, green eyes … and Afghani roots.)

For anybody who’s wondering why I haven’t brought up the far-too-many movies who cast black characters with white actors or even make them white characters, yes, I’d hate that too. I’m just very much not a movie person; I’m only noticing these cases because they’re books I already care about. Make a movie of, say, The Kane Chronicles, and you’ll see me royally pissed off if they don’t get *both* Kane siblings’ physical descriptions and skin colors right – especially as their matter to the plot.