Back to IndieWire

‘Mulan’ Actor Jimmy Wong Calls Out ‘Tired Trope’ of Near-Silent Asian Roles on ‘The Boys’ and More

The "Mulan" actor is concerned with the near-silent Asian characters on "The Boys" and "The Umbrella Academy."

Karen Fukuhara in "The Boys"

Karen Fukuhara in “The Boys”


Jimmy Wong, who stars as Ling in Disney’s live-action “Mulan,” is calling out popular streaming series such as Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy” and Amazon’s “The Boys” for featuring prominent Asian characters that have barely any dialogue. “Suicide Squad” actress Karen Fukuhara stars in “The Boys” as a mute superhero named Kimiko, while Justin H. Min is featured in “The Umbrella Academy” as a super-powered ghost named Ben.

“Least favorite acting thing I’ve noticed during pandemic binge watching: incredibly sexy and good looking Asian actors playing characters with barely ANY dialogue because it’s supposed to be…mysterious?” Wong wrote on Twitter.

While fans replied to Wong noting there are reasons why Fukuhara and Min’s characters don’t have much dialogue (Fukuhara’s “Boys” character became mute as the result of abuse, for instance), Wong said the characters are two examples of a larger trend of near-silent characters of color. The actor directed his followers to a Twitter thread listing other characters of color who did not get speaking time equal to their costars, including Fukuhara’s Katana from “Suicide Squad.”

Wong also noted that “The Boys” showrunner Eric Kripke gave an interview earlier this year in which he expressed regret over how Fukuhara’s Kimiko was portrayed in the show’s first season. The showrunner said, “One of the things that I wished I could have done better in season one was to give Kimiko more of a voice. I think we stumbled inadvertently into a little bit of a trap. There’s the stereotype of a quiet Asian woman, and I was very conscious of not wanting to do that.”

“We really have to make sure that that character has a very strong voice and a very strong point of view,” Kripke added. “And just because she can’t speak verbally, it doesn’t mean that she can’t speak. And that she has opinions, and she’s a real person.”

The second seasons of “The Boys” and “The Umbrella Academy” are now streaming in their entirety on Amazon and Netflix, respectively.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox