Race Lift / Diversifying A Cast

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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Ultimate Marvel incarnation of Nick Fury is black. Or rather, deliberately styled after Samuel L. Jackson. This was to lead up to Jackson having a role in the Iron Man movie as the man himself (he allowed the usage, having it written into the deal he would play the part when/if a movie(s) were ever made). Within the series, this has undergone some lampshading with a conversation with Nick being asked who he would like to see in a biopic about himself. The answer? Samuel L. Jackson.
  • While the Marvel Universe Wasp is white, her Ultimate counterpoint became Asian-American. She even mutters about Lucy Liu being suggested to play her, as they look nothing alike. Later, though, the new artist started drawing her as white in a rather egregious case of artistic license. Alas, it will never be known if she would have stayed white or not, as soon thereafter she was eaten by the Blob.
  • The Ultimate version of Tony Stark changes his mother Maria into a Hispanic woman, making Antonio Stark half-Hispanic. The Ultimate Iron Man mini-series that came up with the "Antonio Stark" name has effectively been rendered Canon Discontinuity.
  • Snowbird is an Inuit demigoddess with white skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. The Ultimate version of Snowbird looks closer to a realistic depiction of an Inuit woman, sporting brown skin and black hair.
  • Ultimate versions of the Abomination and Crimson Dynamo are Chinese (the originals were both Russians), Hurricane is a North Korean woman (the original was a white male), and Swarm is a Syrian woman (the original was a white male).
  • The second iteration of The Vision is a black man.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man features several race-lifts.
    • Ox, a minor mook in the mainstream continuity, is a black man in the revamp, and given more of a personality (the other one was known for being a Silent Antagonist). He's even shown to consider reforming at the end of his first arc (but doesn't, in favor of becoming a Goldfish Poop Gang).
    • The Ultimate version of Ben Reilly is a young, African American lab assistant, rather than a clone of Peter Parker.
    • The second Scorpion is Maximus Gargan, a Mexican version of Mac Gargan, who was the original Scorpion in the 616 universe. This also makes him an Affirmative Action Legacy of sorts since the first Scorpion in the Ultimate universe was a clone of Peter Parker.
    • Taskmaster is black.
  • In 2004 Legion of Super-Heroes reboot, Star Boy was changed from white to black, with this incarnation being used in the short-lived Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon. Sadly, black Star Boy also suffered from having every defining characteristic of the character stripped from him (right down to having his girlfriend Dream Girl reassigned to be Brainiac 5's love interest).
  • Karate Kid (no connection to the movies) has also been Race Lifted back and forth to and from Asian a couple of times. Though to be fair, in his original version, he was Eurasian with a Japanese father and a white mother.
  • In the Age of Apocalypse universe, X-23 is half-Japanese due to being the daughter of Wolverine and Mariko Yashida, rather than simply a clone of Wolverine like in the main continuity. Accordingly, her civilian name is Kirika rather than Laura.
  • The Batman foe Killer Croc had his origin told in one of his first appearances, Batman 359, which showed that young "Waylon Jones" was African American before his severe skin condition left him looking like a monster. But since he was a green crocodile man in all his appearances in "the present," some people assumed he was originally white (including at least one colorist doing a flashback). More recent interpretations (including some Alternate Universe stories such as Joker) have undone this unintentional racelift and correctly portrayed Waylon as an African American.
  • The publisher of Dilbert (not cartoonist Scott Adams) colorizes the Sunday strips and picks the race of minor characters. This results in Unfortunate Implications as when they made a corrupt security officer black (he's white in later reprintings). This happens because there isn't anyone in Dilbert who isn't either corrupt, an idiot or severely flawed in some other way.
  • Nighthawk and Blur are both black in Supreme Power, a modern day update of the original Squadron Supreme series.
  • In the Multiverse of the DC Universe, there are several worlds where normally-white heroes have their races changed. Earth-D, a retroactive addition to the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Multiverse, sported an Asian version of The Flash, black versions of Superman and Supergirl, and an Arab Wonder Woman. In the post-52 Multiverse, Earth-23 features a black Superman and Wonder Woman note , while another unidentified Earth from Countdown had Korean American reporter Linda Park as her world's Flash.
  • Just Imagine... Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe has Batman as a black teenager and Wonder Woman coming from Peru rather than Paradise Island.
  • Greg Pak's X-Treme X-Men featured a black version of Cyclops.
  • Power Girl is Chinese in the Tangent Comics universe, while Superman is black.
  • The Green Lantern's daughter Jade is Chinese in the Ame-Comi Girls universe. Her civilian name is changed from Jennifer-Lynn Hayden to Jade Yifei.
  • Heather Hudson is changed from a white redhead to a black woman in Exiles.
  • The hardcover edition of Kingdom Come identifies Angela Margolin (white) as the mother of Irey West, the new Kid Flash and daughter of The Flash. When Irey was made canon in the DCU years later, her mother was changed to Linda Park (Korean American), making her half-Asian.
  • In the Batman/Doc Savage crossover, this is done to Doc, who is of mixed-race in this continuity. Rather cleverly, this explains his old school nickname of "The Man of Bronze", as his unique skin tone is now a result of his mixed European/Asian ancestry.
    • The sketchbook at the back of the one-shot suggests that if DC's whole "First Wave" line of Two-Fisted Tales hadn't collapsed, their version of Black Canary would have been non-Caucasian (probably Indian-American, but possibly of Korean or Middle Eastern origin).
  • In the Marvel Mangaverse, The Punisher is Japanese. And a woman.
  • When first introduced, the minor X-Men supporting character Cartier St. Croix was a white Monacan, but was changed to a black Monacan with an Algerian wife in his subsequent appearances (with the white guy who first appeared retconned into being Cartier's father). This retroactively made his daughter Monet (of X-Factor), as well as her siblings, Afro-Algerian as well. Not too much of a stretch since she was already Ambiguously Brown.
  • Obscure comic book character Marie Thirteen (the wife of Doctor Thirteen) was pretty consistently portrayed as a blonde white woman in most of her appearances. After several decades in limbo, Doctor Thirteen returned to the DCU with a half-Asian daughter named Traci, with references made to Marie having passed away. This would count as something of an offscreen race lift since Marie was retroactively established as having been an Asian woman.
  • In the Silver Age, Rick Jones (the Kid Sidekick of Captain America and The Incredible Hulk) belonged to a group of youths who called themselves the Teen Brigade. The more recent Avengers: The Origin limited series Retconned two of the boys into being black and Asian-American respectively.
  • One of the Alternate Universes shown in Spider-Verse is a world where "Spider-Man" is a 14-year old Japanese girl named Peni Parker, who was adopted by Aunt May and Uncle Ben. She also pilots a Humongous Mecha.
    • Other alternate Spider-Men include a Masked Luchador from Mexico, and an African-American punk rocker from a Dystopian Police State.
    • Spider-Man has a lot of these. There's Pavitr Prabhakar from Spider-Man India, as well as Izumi (Japanese) and Anansi (African) from the Spider-Man: Fairy Tales anthology.
  • In Superman: Secret Identity, Lois Lane is modernized as the Indian American reporter Lois Chaudhari. She ends up marrying Superman and producing two mixed-race daughters who become their Earth's equivalents of Supergirl.
  • Punisher Max made Elektra an actual Japanese woman, rather than a white lady who dressed up like a ninja.
  • In the DC Comics New 52:
    • Superman villain Morgan Edge is black.
    • Captain Atom antagonist General Eiling is black.
    • Wonder Woman's friend Etta Candy is now a black woman.
    • The Flash's enemy Weather Wizard is now Guatemalan, with his name changed from Mark to Marco.
      • This also holds true for his brother Clyde, now changed to "Claudio".
    • Turbine, the modernized version of the Top, is a black man. Although the original version is introduced later.
    • The Earth-2 version of Hawkgirl remains half-Latina, but now has a much darker skin tone.
    • The original Crimson Avenger is a black woman, similar to the second Crimson Avenger.
    • According to Word of God, Black Orchid is Latina.
    • Deathstroke's manservant Wintergreen is black.
    • The main universe's Doctor Fate is Egyptian-American, the son of an Egyptian immigrant and an American woman. Earth-2's Doctor Fate is Egyptian, while Earth-20's Doc Fate is black.
    • Uncle Sam is black.
    • Captain Steel is Filipino (and born in the Philippines)
    • As of May 2014, ginger-haired Wally West has been reintroduced as half-black. DC Rebirth subverted this by revealing that the original Wally is still around and that New 52!Wally is in fact a younger cousin of his, both of whom are named after their great-grandfather.
    • The Bloodlines reboot makes Gunfire black and Anima half-Asian.
    • The Green Arrow villain Clock King is now black.
    • Serafina, the Gender Flipped version of the blond Serifan from The Forever People, is black, because she's now Vykin's sister.
    • Mercy Graves is now Asian-American, much like she is in The Batman and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
    • Julia Pennyworth (Alfred's daughter), a minor Pre-Crisis character, is now half-black.
    • The Flash villain The Folded Man is changed from a white American named Edwin Gauss to a Zulu named Xolani.
    • The Nightwing and Robin villain Pamela Swiegeld/Mouse is African-American.
    • The youngest of Billy Batson's fellow foster-kids who he shares his power with is an African-American girl called Darla Dudley, presumably based on Mary Dudley/Freckles Marvel, the youngest member of the pre-Crisis Marvel Family.
  • In Mastermen #1, Earth-10's Freedom Fighters represent ethnic, sexual, and religious minorities targeted by the Nazi Party. The Ray is homosexual, Doll Man is a Jehovah's Witness, Phantom Lady is Romani, and Black Condor is African.
  • In DC's short-lived revamp of the Red Circle properties, the Black Hood's identity was changed from Matthew Burland, a white man, to Mateo Burland, a reformed Latino crook.
    • The later Dark Circle revival included a modern reboot of the Web. The character was changed from John Raymond, an adult college professor, to Jane Raymond, a 14-year old Korean American schoolgirl.
  • An in-universe example took place in an issue of Catwoman where Harley Quinn tried to pitch a movie based off the exploits of the Gotham City Sirens. For the sake of diversity, one of the studio execs suggested making Harley an Asian American teenager for the film, despite the "real" Harley being a white adult with blonde hair and blue eyes(ironically enough since there were multiple Harley Quinns according to the Joker there's a slight possiblity that at least one is Asian American).
  • There were plans to make Stephanie Brown into a black teenager in the Smallville comic book, which the artist felt would better fit the character's working-class background. This plan fell apart, and Stephanie herself would then wind up completely taken out of the book by editorial interference.
  • In the "new look" Archie Comics Archie stories, Midge is depicted as being Asian. This at least makes some sort of sense, as the only really consistent things the artists have kept about Midge's appearance over the decades have been "petite" and "black-haired", so making her Asian doesn't alter her look too much. She still keeps her decidedly not-Asian last name of Klump, however.
  • Annabel from "KWYNK en zijn zusje Annabel", the byline character and sister of the Dutch digital comic magazine Kwynk's title character, was changed from a fair skinned curly redhead to Afro-Surinamese, Word of God has it that this was to improve the balance, which makes sense in context.
  • Isis from the original The Secrets of Isis TV show (as well as the tie-in comics) was a white woman named Andrea Thomas. When Isis was imported to the DC Universe some 30 years later during 52, she was depicted as an Egyptian woman named Adrianna Tomaz.
  • In New Mutants and Loki: Agent of Asgard, the Norse hero Siguard is a black man.
  • Super-obscure Earth-One Batman supporting character Batman Jones reappeared in Battle for the Cowl as a "renowned Batman and organised crime expert" in a ski-mask and Batman hoodie. The Earth-One version was a blond Caucasian, the New Earth version, even with the ski-mask, is visibly African-American.
  • When Janice Lincoln, the new Beetle, first appeared in Captain America as a foe of Cap and Black Widow, she was very clearly white. She suddenly became Ambiguously Brown in the pages of The Superior Foes of Spider-Man, which served as a bit of foreshadowing for the eventual Reveal that she's the daughter of Tombstone.
  • Batman '66, the official continuation of the 60's Adam West Batman show, has Warden Crichton (a white man played by David Lewis in the original series) depicted as an African-American woman.
  • The Jem and the Holograms series from IDW makes Jetta from the Misfits half-black and half-Japanese. This is actually a Development Gag, as she was originally going to be black in the animated series before Executive Meddling resulted in her being a white British girl instead.
  • Earth One:
  • Likewise, The Legend of Wonder Woman makes the Holiday Girls more diverse than the Golden Age version, with Glamora Treat from the Golden Age books now depicted as a black girl.
  • Also, while this is true for Earth One and Legend, it could also apply to the Amazons in general. In the Golden Age Wonder Woman stories, all of the Amazons on Paradise Island were white, but Post-Crisis, they've been shown to be racially diverse. For instance, Philipus, probably one of the more prominent Amazons, is black.
  • Taking a note from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the comics Retconned Daisy Johnson into being half-Chinese on her mother's side. Prior to that, she was white and explicitly designed to resemble a young Angelina Jolie.
  • Perhaps in response to the Skyfall example below, the James Bond series by Dynamite Comics has Ms. Moneypenny as a black woman. M is also black in this version.
  • In DC Comics Bombshells, Zatanna is half-Jewish and half-Romani, while Lois Lane and her little sister Lucy are half-Cuban. In the sequel series, Donna Troy and Cassie Sandsmark are both introduced as Nisei Japanese-Americans.
  • In the Silver Age Rip Hunter Time Master, Rip's associate Jeff Smith was white; the post-Crisis version introduced in Time Masters was African American.
  • In the 2016 M.A.S.K. reboot, Matt Trakker is black.
  • Wonder Woman (Rebirth) changes Doctor Poison from a Nazi scientist named Princess Maru to a Japanese soldier named Marina Maru.
  • The rebooted versions of Michael Cray and Jenny Sparks in The Wild Storm are black and Asian, respectively.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • The Muses are a black Gospel chior in Hercules, in a film where all of the humans are white (of Mediterranean origin) and the gods/spirits tend to be from an Amazing Technicolor Population. Considering, though, that there's only a sea between Egypt and Greece, and there was lots of trade between the two people (they even had gods and myths in common), it's not too far-fetched.
  • Like in Smallville and Young Justice, Justice League: Doom made the Martian Manhunter's "John Jones" identity African-American. Like Nick Fury, this version seems to be catching on to the point that the original comics character is becoming the black sheep. Only time will tell if, being a shapeshifter, the Manhunter in the comics will have something happen that requires him to change his standard human disguise, and choose one that looks a lot like Phil Morris.
  • The Big Hero 6 cast was entirely Japanese in the original comic, but the Disney film makes Fred (ethnically Ainu in the comics) white, Wasabi African-American, Honey Lemon Hispanic, GoGo Tomago Korean, and Hiro half-Japanese instead of fully Japanese.
  • Taking a page from The Ultimates, The Wasp is Asian American in both of the Ultimate Avengers movies.
  • One of the three Batwomen in Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman is an Expy of Kathy Kane named Kathy Duquesne. While Kane is white in the comics, Duquesne is a light-skinned (possibly biracial) African-American woman.
  • Barbara Gordon is black or Latina in The Lego Batman Movie in order to match her voice actress, Rosario Dawson, though possibly leaning towards Latina given the casting of Héctor Elizondo as Commissioner Gordon. Taking after the casting of Eartha Kitt in the '60s show and Billy Dee Williams in the '89 movie respectively, Catwoman and Two-Face are black, the latter of whom is even reprised by Williams (mentioned below as another example of this trope).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Fantastic Four: The Thing's girlfriend, Alicia Masters, was cast as a black character. This means the same extends to her father, the Puppet Master.
    • The Human Torch is played by African-American actor Michael B. Jordan in the 2015 Fantastic Four reboot, with Reg E. Cathey of The Wire and House of Cards fame playing his father, Franklin Storm. In an aversion, the Invisible Woman (his sister) is played by Kate Mara, with the explanation being that she was a refugee from Kosovo that was adopted by the Storm family.
  • In the Power Rangers (2017) reboot, Billy and Kimberly, both white characters in the original TV series, are played by black and half-Indian actors respectively.
    • Also, Trini (Asian in the original) was recast as a Latina, and Zack (originally African-American) is played by an Asian actor. As a result, the team is now majority non-white, with only Jason as the Token White. Funnily enough, the original actress cast as Trini in the show was Latina, but she left over pay issues.
  • Daredevil villain The Kingpin is a black man in the movie version. The white actors who auditioned for the role (all pro wrestlers), were deemed inferior to Michael Clarke Duncan.
  • Red, in The Shawshank Redemption, is played by Morgan Freeman; the character is a white man in the novella. In both versions, he tells Andy he got his nickname because he's Irish, but in the movie it's a clever joke. Both start out in 1940s Maine.
  • Freeman's character in Gone Baby Gone was, in the original novel — you guessed it — Irish.
  • Morgan Freeman also plays Colonel "Curtis" in the adaptation of Stephen King's Dreamcatcher, taking the place of the extremely Irish Colonel Kurtz from the novel.
  • In Congo, Charles Munro is changed from a white South African to an African-American man named Munro Kelly, played by Ernie Hudson. There's even a bit of Lampshading:
    Munro Kelly. I'm your Great White Hunter for this trip, though I happen to be black.
  • In Robin Hood: Origins, Little John is played by Jamie Foxx.
  • CIA agent Felix Leiter (a blond Texan in the James Bond novels) is black in the 2006 film Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace as well as the 1983 non-canon Bond film Never Say Never Again.
  • Miss Moneypenny is played by black actress Naomie Harris in Skyfall. The character was white in the original novels and each of the prior films she appeared in.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Despite being primarily inspired by the classic Marvel continuity, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers all have the originally-white Nick Fury played by Samuel L. Jackson. This is understandable though as mentioned above, the Alternate Continuity The Ultimates series portrayed Fury as a black man with Jackson's likeness. The right of first refusal to play the character in any future movies was actually part of the deal for allowing Ultimate Fury to look just like him.
    • In the short film All Hail The King, the Iron Man villain Fletcher Heggs (AKA the Knight) makes a Cameo as a black prison inmate.
    • Jasper Sitwell, an Anglo blond in the comics, is Honduran-American in the movies.
    • In the Thor movies, several roles changed race.
      • Heimdall is played by Black-British actor Idris Elba, despite being based on a white Marvel character. This is particularly ironic given that Heimdall is described in the Eddas as being "the whitest of the gods". The word might also be translated as "brightest", however; there is argument about what the line actually means. On the other hand, the original Norse tales were written by white people about gods who looked a lot like them, so looking at original source material isn't going to produce many brown faces.
      • Some have also criticized casting Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano as Hogun for this reason. Although Hogun is an Asian character (or rather, an Asgardian fantasy counterpart of Asia) in the original Marvel comics, he's more Mongolian in appearance than Japanese.
      • A large portion of the race changes in Thor are attributable to the director of the first film in the series: Sir Kenneth Branagh. Branagh's main philosophy of casting seems to be that he doesn't particularly care what you look like; if you give the best audition, he'll give you the part. This has ended up with a lot of cast diversification in his other films, particularly his famous adaptations of Shakespeare, and most particularly his adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing (which features Denzel Washington as Don Pedro and Keanu Reeves as Don John — who, recall, are supposed to be half brothers).
      • In Thor: Ragnarok, Tessa Thompson portrays the Defender Valkyrie. Tessa Thompson is black, while in the comics, Valkyrie is a white woman with blond hair and blue eyes.
      • Asgard in general seems more diverse in the films than in the comics. There are non-white extras seen in crowd scenes, despite it being established in the comics that there are no people of color there. When the New Mutants went to Asgard at one point, the Asgardians referred to Sunspot as "Shadow-Skin" and were shown to be confused by the boy's coloring.
    • In Captain America: Civil War, Miriam and her son are both black, while they were white in the original Civil War comic book.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy sees Korath the Pursuer played by Djimon Hounsou and depicted with black skin rather than blue. This is notable since, in the comics, Kree are explicitly stated to all have either blue or pink (resembling white humans) complexions. Dave Bautista also played Drax, but given the movie reworked his origin to be that of an actual alien and not a resurrected human whose real name was Arthur Douglas, that is more Adaptation Species Change. Its sequel sees Lady Starhawk and Charlie-27, both of whom are white in the comics, played by Michelle Yeoh and Ving Rhames, respectively.
    • In Doctor Strange, Baron Mordo, a white European in the comics, is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor.
    • Several characters in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Liz Allen, Flash Thompson and Ned Leeds are all white blondes in the comics, but in the film, Liz is black, Flash is Latino and Ned is Asian/Polynesian. The Shocker, a white brunet, is also African-American. Mac Gargan, the Scorpion, also takes after the second Ultimate version and is Latino.
  • In Tim Burton's Batman film, Harvey Dent (Two-Face's original identity), who is white in the original comics, is played by Billy Dee Williams. Williams campaigned for the role specifically to be Two-Face in the sequel, but the role eventually went to Tommy Lee Jones, averting the trope.
  • In a rather famous almost example, Marlon Wayans from In Living Color! was cast as Robin in Batman Returns, but was cut at the last minute due to the film having Loads and Loads of Characters. They were far enough along in the process that Wayans even went in for a costume fitting and had an action figure made in his likeness.
  • Wesley Snipes was cast as Sean Connery's kouhai in the movie adaptation of Rising Sun, which led to a disagreement over which the script writers Michael Crichton (whose novel it was based on) and Michael Backes quit the project. This is noticeable because, especially in the '80s, the Japanese characters were not likely to treat a black man the same as they treat the protagonist of the story.
  • The film version of Sgt. Bilko has a black actor play Cpl Henshaw. (Bilko's other sidekick, Cpl Barbella, gets a Gender Flip).
  • According to Sylvia Anderson, one piece of Executive Meddling during the early days of the Thunderbirds movie was "Could the main cast be more ethnically diverse?" Since they're all brothers, the answer was "No."
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: The Last Stand:
      • Bolivar Trask is played by an African American actor, Bill Duke, while his original comic book incarnation was a white guy. However, the version seen in The Last Stand was later made into a different person thanks to X-Men: Days of Future Past opting to redo the character.
      • Kid Omega also becomes Asian American, though this is definitely a case of In-Name-Only since he has almost nothing in common with his comic counterpart. Kid Omega had much more in common with Quill, and is even referred to as such the director's commentary. This would still make this a race lift, since Quill was white too.
      • Callisto is also played by a dark-skinned Latina actress.
    • Agent Zero is a white guy of East German descent in the X-Men comics, but is played by Korean actor Daniel Henney in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
    • Blink, a white Bahamanian in the comics, is played by Chinese actress Fan Bingbing in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Not too much of a stretch, since Blink is purple in the comics despite her white ancestry.
    • Blind Al, a white woman in the comics, is played by African-American actress Leslie Uggams in Deadpool.
    • Logan sees X-23 as half-Mexican and Ritcor, a canonically Mexican character, as half Greek as his source DNA is listed as Dominic Petros, best known in the comics as Avalanche.
    • In Deadpool 2, Domino is portrayed by Afro-German actress Zazie Beetz. Like the Blink example, it's downplayed anyway since Domino has an unnaturally chalk white, inhuman-looking skin tone in the comics anyway.
  • The 2005 film adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has the Oompa-Loompas played by Indian actor Deep Roy, while the book has the Oompa-Loompas as Caucasians (after a Bowdlerisation from their original description as black African pygmies!).
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, a black extra was identified in the credits as having played Lavender Brown. When Lavender appeared again in the sixth movie (with actual lines this time), blonde, white British Jessie Cave was cast in an open audition. While one of the novels released after that film did mention that Lavender had the same skin tone as white Ron Weasley, there's no indication that the recast was an attempt to "correct" the original casting or even that the producers noticed the one minor mention of that fact.
  • The Twilight movies diversified the entire pure-human cast. In the book, all of them are assumed white and the ones Bella interacts with the most are all blond or brunette white people. The movie makes Angela Hispanic, Eric Asian, and Tyler black.
    • Even more notably, in the movie one of the vampires is black, but in the books it's made perfectly clear that when you become a vampire you become white.
  • The movie adaptation of Harriet the Spy made Janie black, and also made Rachel Hennessey and a family that plays a minor role Asian (the latter was originally VERY stereotypically Italian).
  • Ripcord is played by a black actor in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. (The original character and action figure is a red-headed white male.) Supposedly the original plan was for him to be Stalker but the name had Unfortunate Implications and it was felt the more comedic turn the character underwent wouldn't be well-received as Lonzo Wilkinson, so they went with a more obscure Joe name.
    • Likewise, to diversify the origins of the character, Heavy Duty became a black British man (rather than a black American man) and Breaker became French Moroccan (rather than a white guy with a southern accent).
    • G.I. Joe: Retaliation continues this trend by casting Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (half-black/half-Pacific Islander) as Roadblock.
  • In the book High Fidelity, we are led to picture Marie De Salle as white after Dick describes her as "kind of Sheryl Crow-ish crossed with a post-Partridge Family pre-L.A. Law Susan Dey kind of thing." In the movie she was played by Lisa Bonet; Dick now describes her as "kind of Sheryl Crow-ish crossed with a post-Partridge Family pre-L.A. Law Susan Dey kind of thing, but, you know, black."
  • An in-universe example: In The Specials, the Minute Man action figure is made black, in the interest of taking a "multi-cultural approach".
  • The unproduced live-action Voltron script made Lance into a young black guy.
  • In the film version of Mystic River, Sean Devine (Kevin Bacon)'s partner is played by Laurence Fishburne. In the novel, he is white and supposedly looks a little like Brian Dennehy. However, after casting Fishburne they did not change the character's name: Whitey Powers. Dennis Lehane, author of the original book, admits that the character's name was a pun in the book, but that it actually became funnier when Fishburne was cast.
  • In Carrie (2002), the character of Sue Snell, who was white in the book and movie, was played by black South African-Canadian actress Kandyse McClure. This seems to have been more a case of colorblind casting than a deliberate Race Lift; her race is never brought up over the course of the film.
  • The first Carrie remake wasn't the last time that Kandyse McClure would do a Race Lift on a character from a Stephen King movie remake; in Children of the Corn (2009), she played Vicky, who was originally played by the white Linda Hamilton.
  • When The Wild Wild West was adapted to a movie in 1999, Jim West, played by white Robert Conrad in the original TV show, was played by black Will Smith in the movie.
    • This also resulted in many racist remarks, as much of the film takes place in the Southern states shortly after the American Civil War.
      Artemus Gordon: (picking out disguises) How about this? You could come as my manservant.
      Jim West: (excited stereotype Negro accent) Why, yessuh, Masah Gordon, Why I swears, I'd be delighted, I'll sing, I'll dance for ya sir and I swear, none of the other white folks'll know that (in normal voice) I'd rather shoot myself than play your damn manservant.
  • Joseph's brothers in the film version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat include two black brothers. Um...sorry 'bout that, Jacob. The two brothers involved were Judah (son of Leah) and Benjamin (son of Rachel). Both women had also, in this version, produced quite light-skinned and otherwise "white"-looking sons, and the twelve brothers in that cast covered a wide range of apparent ethnicities.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Superman's boss Perry White was played by African American actor Laurence Fishburne.
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice sees Japanese actress Tao Okamoto play Mercy Graves, who is traditionally depicted as a white blonde woman.
    • Suicide Squad (2016) has Deadshot portrayed by Will Smith. The movie also sees Slipknot, who's also white in the comics, played by Adam Beach, a First Nations Canadian.
    • Aquaman is usually depicted as a white man with blond hair and blue eyes in the comics. He's played by Jason Momoa in the movies, and has a white mom (played by Nicole Kidman) and a Polynesian father (played by Temuera Morrison).
    • Iris West is a white redhead in the original comics. In the films, she's played by Kiersey Clemons, who is black.
  • The Baz Luhrmann big budget adaptation of The Great Gatsby has Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan as Meyer Wolfsheim, who was a white Jew in the original novel.
  • Annie:
    • The 1999 TV-movie remake had Grace (the personal assistant who brings Annie to Daddy Warbucks's mansion) be played by a black actress - which raises eyebrows at the very end, when Daddy proposes marriage to Grace. (Interracial marriage was not illegal in New York in the 1930s, but it is extremely far-fetched to suppose that such a rich and powerful character would publicly attempt it.)
    • The 2014 remake has African American actress Quvenzhané Wallis playing the title role. Similarly, Jamie Foxx plays Will Stacks, the film's analogue to Daddy Warbucks.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is an interesting case. Ford Prefect is played by rapper/actor Mos Def (An American playing an extraterrestrial living in England and speaking English to British people who don't have a Babel Fish in their ears). It doesn't really come up in the original radio series, though since Arthur evidently lived in a quite rural part of the UK in the 1970s one can draw certain inferences, but the books describe Ford as white -somewhat unnaturally so even- with wiry ginger hair. The TV series, incidentally, completely ignored this. Of course, Mos Def's portrayal of Ford was In-Name-Only anyway...
  • The Amazing Spider-Man: Sally Avril (white in the comics) is played by Kelsey Chow, who is half-Taiwanese. Its sequel sees African-American actor Jamie Foxx play Electro.
  • In the 2000 film adaptation of Charlie's Angels, one of the angels is Asian (portrayed by Lucy Liu).
    • Justified in that Liu played an original character, with the three heroines just being the latest in a long line of Angels.
  • Oz: The Great and Powerful is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz; while Oscar the "wizard" and Witches of Oz are white the people of Oz are much more diverse.
  • The 2010 film adaptation of Wuthering Heights had a black actor play Heathcliff.
  • The Cloud Ten Pictures' 2000-2005 Left Behind films have Clarence Gilyard and Arnold Pinnock playing Bruce Barnes, T.D. Jakes playing Vernon Billings, and Louis Gosset Jr. playing Gerald Fitzhugh. Verna Zee, who is given a Race Lift, also doubles as a Composite Character, with her being a combination of herself and Lucinda Washington, the African-American editor-in-chief of the Global Weekly office in Chicago.
  • In Gridiron Gang, the real Sean Porter is white (as shown in the credits), but is played by The Rock. Dwayne has light enough skin to pull it off, but there is a scene where Sean visits his dying mom, who is much darker.
  • RoboCop (2014) sees Anne Lewis become an African-American man named Jack.
  • Pan has black actress Leni Zieglmeier as Wendy and Adeel Akhtar as Smee.
  • In What Dreams May Come, Albert is played by black actor Cuba Gooding, Jr.,and Leona is played by Chinese-American actress Rosalind Chao. While the book never explicitly identifies either character's race, the most logical assumption is that both are white, since Chris himself is white, Albert is his cousin in the book, and there's one scene where he remarks that he hardly ever saw people of "other races as well as my own" when he was alive.
  • In the original Jem cartoon, Roxy from The Misfits was Italian-American. In the movie, she was played by Korean-American actress Hana Mae Lee.
  • In the novel A Little Princess, the maidservant Becky is white; she's described near the end of the book as having "a round, pink face." In the film adaptation A Little Princess, she's played by the young African-American actress Vanessa Lee Chester.
  • The film adaptation of The Dark Tower features Idris Elba as the main character. In the books he's described as white, with blue eyes, and is based on Clint Eastwood.
  • In Bride and Prejudice, a modern day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, the Bennett family is Indian, and Bingley family is Indian-British.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Smallville
    • Pete Ross was changed from white to black.
    • Dr. Hamilton was made into a Decomposite Character, one of whom was black, and the other of whom was Ambiguously Brown (played by a mixed race actor).
    • Lana Lang, who is a white redhead in the comics, is portrayed on the show by Kristin Kreuk, who has Dutch, Chinese, and Indonesian heritage.
    • Roulette is a weird one; in the comics she's a white girl who wants to be a Dragon Lady, but in Smallville she's really Asian. It's hard to escape the suspicion that the writers just didn't get the joke...
    • The Martian Manhunter's "John Jones" identity is made into an African-American. However, the character is actually a green-skinned alien to begin with.
    • Plastique is a white Canadian in the comic books. In the show she was played by the half-black, half-white Jessica Parker Kennedy.
    • Neutron, a white Superman villain, was played by an Asian-American actor.
    • Lashina of the Female Furies is depicted as black in the show.
  • Arrow:
    • Deathstroke is played by Māori actor Manu Bennett. (This is a legal technicality, as in New Zealand anyone with at least 1/16th Māori ancestry is considered Māori for legal purposes and will identify as such, but he's actually half White Australian on his mothers side and 1/4 Irish from fathers side. He's mostly a white fella genetically, but looks Polynesian.)
    • Brother Blood is depicted as Latino.
    • Walter Steele is depicted as Black.
    • Ted Grant is played by a Latino actor.
    • Komodo, a white guy in the comics, is played by black actor Matt Ward.
    • Baron Reiter is played by black British actor Jimmy Akingbola. Particularly notable since his comic book counterpart was a Nazi (Baron Blitzkrieg).
  • The Flash has Iris West as an African-American woman played by Candice Patton rather than a redhead. Her father Joe is likewise African-American, portrayed by Jesse L. Martin. When Wally West joins the show in the second season, he's black as well.
  • Gotham
    • Sarah Essen, a white woman in the comics, is portrayed by Latina actress Zabryna Guevara.
    • Morena Baccarin, a Brazilian actress, plays Leslie Thompkins.
    • Tigress is played by Jessica Lucas, who is African-American.
    • Firefly goes from being a white man to a young woman played by Latina actress Michelle Veintimilla.
    • Hugo Strange, a white guy (with a vague European accent Depending on the Writer), is played by B.D. Wong.
    • Asian-American Jamie Chung is cast as Vicki Vale's aunt, Valerie, suggesting the Vale family may at at least be partially Asian.
  • Mary "Zed" Martin, a white Englishwoman in the Hellblazer comics, is portrayed by Mexican-American actress Angélica Celaya in Constantine.
  • Supergirl:
    • Jimmy Olsen is played by African-American actor Mehcad Brooks, while Hank Henshaw is played by Afro-British actor David Harewood. Both characters are white guys in the comics.
    • Martian Manhunter is again black in human guise, as is Miss Martian's human guise, Megan Morse.
    • Maggie Sawyer is a white blonde in the comics, and a Latina woman in the TV show.
    • As mentioned in the Smallville section, Roulette is usually depicted as a white girl who wants to be a Dragon Lady. She's actually Asian in Supergirl, and is portrayed by Dichen Lachman.
  • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daisy Johnson from Secret Warriors appears as one of the main characters under the name "Skye". While she is white in the comics, in the show she's a biracial girl from Hunan province in China, and is played by half-white, half-Chinese actress Chloe Bennett.
    • Alphonso "Mack" MacKenzie is a white Texan in the comics, but in the show he's played by African-American actor Henry Simmons.
    • Agent 33 is a white blonde in the comics, but in the show she's played by Maya Stojan, who is half-Sri Lankan and half-Czech.
  • Daredevil has Ben Urich portrayed by African-American actor Vondie Curtis-Hall.
    • Night Nurse, a white woman in the comics named Linda Carter, is made into a Composite Character with Claire Temple, an African-American woman from the Luke Cage comics.
    • Elektra, a Greek woman in the comics, is played by French-Cambodian actress Élodie Yung. Her Greek name is kept, with it being shown in flashbacks that she was an Asian child who was adopted by a wealthy Greek couple after the rest of the Chaste tried to kill her.
    • Blake Tower is black.
  • Jessica Jones has Malcolm, a white redhead from the Alias books, played by Jamaican-Australian actor Eka Darville.
  • Agent Carter has Happy Sam Sawyer, a white guy in the comics, played by African-American actor Leonard Roberts.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003)
    • Boomer, who had been played in the original by black actor Herb Jefferson Jr., was changed into Korean-Canadian actress Grace Park (also a Gender Flip). As Boomer is a Manchurian Agent Cylon in the new series, this one also counts as a Species Lift. The race and species part also applies to Athena, who is Park's other major "Number Eight" character; in the original, Athena was white (and Adama's daughter).
    • Commander Adama, originally played by white Canadian Lorne Greene, was recast as half-Hispanic with Edward James Olmos in the role. Or Colonel Tigh, who in the original series was black, played by Irish-Canadian actor Michael Hogan, who is (of course) white— and, like Boomer, Tigh is a Cylon. In the case of Tigh, this might have been to avoid Unfortunate Implications, given that the re-imagined Tigh begins as an alcoholic who isn't very good at his job.
  • The 2007 BBC adaptation of Oliver Twist features Sophie Okonedo as Nancy.
    • And the BBC adaptation of Little Dorrit features Freema Agyeman as Tattycoram, only described in the book as "a handsome girl with lustrous dark hair and eyes, and very neatly dressed".
  • Merlin:
    • The BBC series has cast multiracial actress Angel Coulby as Guinevere (or Gwen as she is initially known). Perhaps to make the casting more plausible, the traditional background of Guinevere (as the daughter of a king) is dropped in favour of making her a commoner and a servant. The character of Sir Elyan, one of the Knights of the Round Table, is made into Guinevere's brother and is portrayed by a black actor - ironically, the character was often known in the legends as "Elyan the White."
    • There are several Black background characters as well, including various one-off knights and nobles, particularly during feast scenes (non-white characters are NOT all servants.) Also, Gwen was written as a servant before Angel was cast when (presumably) a white actress was expected to take the role. Also also, according to Word of God, Angel Coulby was cast because of Ability over Appearance, not specifically to fulfill some sort of diversity requirement.
    • Lancelot is also played by Hispanic Santiago Cabrera.
  • The BBC Robin Hood series has a black Friar Tuck. And he's not the easy-going tubbo associated with the name, either.
    • Robin Hood has several other black characters in supporting roles over the course of the series. Interestingly, this isn't just a politically correct anachronism. There's archaeological and historical evidence of at least a few Africans living in England as far back as the Roman Empire, and also in the Middle Ages. They would've been rare, and thus perhaps not as easily accepted as they're shown to be in Robin Hood and Merlin, but they were there.
  • In the books True Blood is based on, the character Tara is described as having olive skin and a pageboy haircut. In the show she's African American. As her exact ethnicity in the books is never spelled out it's not certain if it's this variation of the trope or "Minority into another Minority" below.
  • In L.J. Smith's The Vampire Diaries books, Bonnie was a petite redhead of Scottish descent. In the CW show she's played by a black actress.
  • The English language LazyTown turned the Icelandic Latibær plays' red-headed hellion Halla and pale computer geek Goggi into Asian (and slightly less wild) Trixie and black (and possibly more computer-obsessed) Pixel. The mayor's skin also darkened several shades, but given he's closely related to a character who stayed white, and not very dark (and a puppet, so actor race gives no clues), it's unclear if he too had his race changed, or if he's just meant to be tanned.
    • In the original play, Goggi was a white baldling wearing green glasses and pyjamas!
    • And Sportacus was an Elf, so it's a species-lift as well.
  • In the Gossip Girl novels, Kati and Isabel are both white. The actresses who play them are Chinese and black, respectively.
  • The unaired pilot for the proposed 2004 Dark Shadows revival had longtime character Dr. Julia Hoffman played by Asian American actress Kelly Hu.
  • In the CBBC series Leonardo, one of teen Leo's friends is a streetwise black kid called Mac. Short for Machiavelli.
  • The Wonder Woman (2011 pilot) had Etta Candy, Diana's blonde and blue-eyed best friend from the comics, played by African American actress Traci Thoms. This was carried over into the New 52, see above.
  • On Game of Thrones, Xaro Xhoan Daxos is played by Nonso Anozie, a Black British actor. In the books, Xaro is a native Qartheen "Milk Man", who are described as being incredibly pale. He described himself as being from the Summer Isles, where the other Black characters in the series are from. He is the first such character seen on the series. Xaro's name even fits the naming conventions of Summer Isles characters. In his first appearance, Xaro seemed more enigmatic than his book counterpart, who was more of a Smug Snake. Other non-white characters can be seen in the background scenes in Qarth, possibly indicating that the city is a more cosmopolitan setting in the series.
  • The 2012 Sherlock Holmes update Elementary has John Watson both race-lifted and gender-flipped into the Asian American surgeon "Joan Watson", played by Lucy Liu.
    • The cop in the pilot who corresponded roughly to Inspector Lestrade, Detective Abreu, was Latino. In the second episode, he was replaced by the African-American Detective Bell (named for the real-life surgeon who was the inspiration for Holmes), who swiftly became less Lestrade-like than his predecessor.
  • African American actor Sinqua Walls (of Teen Wolf and Power fame) plays Sir Lancelot in Season 2 of Once Upon a Time.
  • In the TV adaptation of Pretty Little Liars, Emily and her father are half-Asian and Asian respectively. In the original novels, they were both white, with Emily being described as a redhead.
    • The TV version of Mona Vanderwaal is likewise played by a biracial actress, Janel Parrish, who is half-Chinese and was born in Hawaii. In the books she is described as having blonde hair and blue eyes. At a later point in the series, Mona does dye her hair blonde shortly.
  • Jack Crawford is white in Red Dragon, as well as the various film adaptations. In Hannibal, he's depicted as a black man and portrayed by Laurence Fishburne.
    • In the novel and film adaptations, Dr. Beverly Katz was white, presumably of Jewish descent. In Hannibal, she's portrayed by Asian-American actress Hettienne Park.
    • In the novel and film adaptations, Dr. Frederick Chilton is white, but in Hannibal, he's played by Hispanic actor Raul Esparza.
  • The 2012 remake of Beauty and the Beast has Kristin Kreuk playing the role originated by Linda Hamilton in the original series. Her partner was also originally written as an Irish-American, but ended up being played by a Latina actress.
  • The Bible (2013) portrays Samson and his mother as black, unlike most Israelites who look stereotypically middle-eastern (brown hair, olive skin).
    • The three angels who appear to Abraham are nicely varied: one white, one black, one east Asian.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys cast black actresses (including Gina Torres) as Cleopatra, presumably on the principle that Egypt is in Africa. However, not only are Egyptians not black, but Cleopatra was the last of the highly inbred Ptolemaic line of rulers, so she was pure Greek.
    • Actually, historians are pretty split on her racial identity. Yes, she was the last of the Ptolemies, and the original was Macedonian Greek. And you are correct that the Ptolemaic dynasty was very inbred. However, Cleopatra was born ~300 years AFTER him, and there's a fairly even split of archaeologists/historians on that question. Half of the split believes her mother to have been a high-ranked black concubine in the palace. Also, Egypt's earlier name is Kemet ("the black land", also possibly referring to the fertility of the soil of the Nile Delta), and Egypt took a Nubian kingdom (Kush) into itself. Many Black scholars have pointed out similarities in the facial features of Egyptian statues and their Black neighbors. Egyptians are not necessarily Black, but that population is in there.
  • The Wonderful World of Disney made liberal use of this, especially in musical adaptations from The '90s.
    • Polly and Polly: Comin' Home! retell Pollyanna with a with a mostly-African-American cast, and with the location and time period changed from Vermont in the 1900s to segregated Alabama in The '50s.
    • Their take on Cinderella stars Brandy as Cinderella. Additionally, Whitney Houston plays the fairy godmother, African-American Natalie Desselle plays stepsister Joy, Paolo Montalban, a Filipino actor, plays Prince Christopher, black actress Whoopi Goldberg plays his mother Queen Constantina, and Canadian Victor Garber plays his father King Maxamillian.
    • Their version of Annie features Audra McDonald as Miss Grace Farrell, as mentioned above, and also adds girls of other races to the orphanage.
  • The Sound of Music Live! had Audra McDonald as a black Mother Abbess.
  • Likewise, Fox's live TV version of Grease had Keke Palmer as Marty and Vanessa Hudgens as Rizzo.
  • Lois and Clark :
    • The series starred Dean Cain, who is one fourth Japanese. Deborah Joy Le Vine stated Cain's unique look was part of the reason she cast him as Clark/Superman.
    • Inspector Henderson was made into a black man.
    • Winslow Schott, the Toyman of the comics, was played by African-American Sherman Hemsley.
  • In the TV adaptation of Powers, Deena Pilgrim, a white blonde in the comics, is played by Susan Heyward, who is African-American.
    • Likeswise, Zora, another white blonde from the comics, is played by African-American actress Logan Browning.
  • Shadowhunters:
    • Simon Lewis was white in the books, but will be played by a Hispanic actor in the series.
    • The Lightwoods are now a mixed-race family with Isabelle being played by a Hispanic actress, although strangely her brother Alec is still white. Depending if the series follows the book plot of Robert Lightwood having had an affair, this could end up being significant.
    • Luke Garroway was white in the books, but will be black in the series.
    • Camille Belcourt was white in the books, being described as having silvery blonde hair and green eyes. In the series, she is played by a Chinese-Irish actress.
    • Magnus was half Dutch and half Indonesian in the books, but is played by a Chinese-American actor in the series, which could also qualify as a case of Interchangeable Asian Cultures.
  • Dickensian:
    • The Artful Dodger is played by black actor Wilson Radjou-Pujalte.
    • Mr Venus (from Our Mutual Friend) is played by Middle-Eastern actor Omid Djalili
  • In Riverdale multiple white characters have been changed:
    • Veronica Lodge will be played by Camila Mendes, a Latina actress. Her mother gets a similar treatment.
    • Reggie Mantle will be played by Ross Butler, who is Asian-American.
    • Dilton also becomes Asian, played by an actor named Daniel Yang.
    • Josie and Melody of Josie and the Pussycats both become African-Americans.
  • Hawaii Five-0 changes a few characters from the original Hawaii Five-O:
    • Officer Kono Kalakaua, a man in the original, is now played by a woman. Ethnically, he was a native Hawaiian and she a Korean-American, but in practice the two ethnicities are visually close enough that "Asian/Pacific Islander" is often a category on surveys and you could honestly mistake one for the other with no malice.
    • Dr. Max Bergman, white in the original, is now Asian (but adopted by Jewish parents).
    • Captain Lou Grover, also white in the original, is now black.
  • In Legends of Tomorrow, Dr Mid-Nite of the Justice Society of America is African-American. In the original comics he's white.
  • Emerald City:
    • Dorothy, who in the original books was a white girl, is portrayed by a mestizo Latina actress. To account for this, Uncle Henry has also been turned into a Latino.
    • The Wicked Witch of the East is usually depicted as Caucasian (when she's not just a pair of feet sticking out from under a house); here she’s black.
  • Many of the characters in the Netflix version of A Series of Unfortunate Events:
    • Arthur and Eleanora Poe are played by K. Todd Freeman and Cleo King, who are both black.
    • Aunt Josephine is played by Alfre Woodard, who is also black.
    • Uncle Monty is played by Aasif Mandvi, who is Indian.
    • Fernald/The Hook-Handed Man is played by Usman Ally, who is of South Asian descent.
  • In Hulu's live-action adaptation of Runaways, Molly Hayes, a white girl in the comics, is reimagined as a Latina girl named Molly Hernandez.
  • In the live-action Inhumans TV series, Karnak and Gorgon, who are white in the comics, are played by Ken Leung and Eme Ikwuakor, who are Asian and black, respectively. Triton is played by Mike Moh, another Asian actor, but this is an odd example. He's technically caucasian in the comics by virtue of being Karnak's brother, but his skin color is pretty irrelevant since his entire body is covered in green scales.

    Theater 
  • An interesting example in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of Stephen Schwartz's musical Children Of Eden: Adam was white and Eve was black, apparently also allowing them to have children of different skintones. However, this also had possible, unintended Unfortunate Implications (see that trope entry).
  • The musical version of Jekyll & Hyde almost always casts Utterson as a black man.
  • Aside from race-specific roles and shows like Aida or Miss Saigon, Broadway's casting is remarkably color-blind. Black/non-white actors have had major roles in nearly every Broadway show around. For example, Chicago (Velma/Roxie/Billy Flynn), Les Misérables (Javert, Mme Thenardier, Fantine, Cosette, Eponine), Wicked (Fiyiero), Beauty and the Beast (Belle), Miss Saigon (John) and most notably Robert Guillaume (on tour) and Norm Lewis (on Broadway) as the titular The Phantom of the Opera. Even applies when such casting would result in Black Vikings or be otherwise implausible—like a black/Asian Eponine playing the daughter of the white Thenardiers in Les Misérables. There have even been some cases where a white actress has played Young Eponine or Young Cosette and a non-white actress has played the older versions of those characters, or vice versa.
  • Miss Saigon's Ellen (the American wife of Chris) was always played by a white actress, especially a blonde or redhead. However, towards the end of the show's Broadway run, Ellen was cast with an Asian actress, which added a new dimension to the show. Rather than moving on with his life, as Chris insisted that he had, it now seemed very likely that Chris only married Ellen because she reminded him of his lost love Kim.
  • A 1994 production of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice by noted director Peter Sellars (not to be confused with the film actor) implied the location to be multi-racial Venice Beach, California. A clip of Shylock's speech is available on YouTube.
    • Shylock and his compatriots were played by Black actors.
    • Portia and her retinue were actresses of Asian ancestry.
    • the titular merchant was Latino.
    • The only significant characters played by Anglo actors were the clown Gobbo and his son (played by a pre-stardom Philip Seymour Hoffman).
  • Collins, from RENT, was intended to be a "kind of Tom Waits" character, but the playwright changed his mind once Jesse L. Martin auditioned. Similarly, at least half the cast ended up being played by non-white actors; this has varied from production to production.
  • In Freehold Engagement Theatre's 2012 production of King Lear, Edgar, the Fool(a puppet held by a white actress), and one of the ensemblists were black, and Edmund and Cordelia were Hispanic. In the 2010 Donmar Warehouse production, the Afro-British actress Pippa Bennett-Warner played Cordelia.
  • Theatrical adaptations of A Christmas Carol are often multiracial, such as a black actor playing Christmas Present(as in the forementioned film of the Broadway musical) or Fred(god forbid), and an Asian actress playing Belle and/or Fred's wife.
  • In the 2001 Broadway revival of The Rocky Horror Show, Magenta was played by Panamanian-born Daphne Rubin-Vega, Columbia was played by Aiko Nakasone (who's Japanese), and Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Eddie, and Dr. Scott were, at one point, played by African-American actor James Stovall.
  • Hamilton features an almost entirely non-white cast playing America's founding fathers (and mothers). The only main character to be played by a white actor is King George.

    Video Games 
  • Pokémon:
  • Birdie from Street Fighter Alpha — he originally appeared in the very first Street Fighter game as white, but when his character underwent a complete visual overhaul, he became black. One of his victory quotes is a Lampshade Hanging: "You mean before? I was pale because I was sick!"
  • In Mortal Kombat, the character of Jade has been portrayed as every race under the sun. In her original MK II & Ultimate MK 3 appearances, she and Jax were the token black characters. On the port for MK II to the Sega Genesis and the Amiga, she became white (this might have something to do with the fact that, skin tone augmentation aside, she was portrayed by the same actress as Mileena and Kitana). However, in Annihilation she was played by the pale, asian Irina Pantaeva (who is ethnically Buryat, i.e. Russian Mongol). Over time, her appearance has shifted to just being Ambiguously Brown.
  • Bolivar Trask (a white man in the original comics) is depicted as a black man in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine video game.
    • The game also heavily implies that Nightcrawler's father is the African American character John Wraith. Of course it'd be difficult to tell anyway since Nightcrawler's skin is depicted as blue due to his mutation.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is primarily based on the Marvel 616 continuity, but uses the black version of Nick Fury.
  • New Dynamic English does this twice. The 2000 version of the cast were diversified from having the same skin color, then they did the inverse by giving less diversity in the 2013 version.
  • Several characters in the third installment of Style Boutique were given darker skin tones compared to the Japanese version to diversify the cast.

    Web Comics 
  • Cobweb And Stripes is starting to do this, as the comic version of characters from the cartoon are sometimes of a different ethnicity than they were originally drawn; for example, Prudence has been changed from a tiny white girl to a Dark-Skinned Redhead.

    Web Original 
  • In The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, several main characters have been racelifted. Considering the original took place in 18th century England, and the adaptation in the modern-day United States, this makes sense.
    • The Bingleys become Asian, likely Chinese, with Charles Bingley becoming Bing Lee. Caroline Bingley is Caroline Lee.
    • Charlotte and Maria Lucas become Charlotte and Maria Lu, also of Asian descent.
    • Colonel Fitzwilliam becomes Fitz Williams, who is African American (and gay).
  • The Autobiography of Jane Eyre is a Setting Update vlog of Jane Eyre, inspired by The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. It's set in present day Canada.
    • Adele Varens was a French girl in the book, while Adele Rochester has light brown skin, and her father Mr. Rochester doesn't. It adds mystery as to who Adele's mother might be and whether Mr. Rochester is her biological father.
    • Grace Poole, a Composite Character of scary and mysterious Grace Poole and kind Mrs. Fairfax, looks as if she was of Asian origin.
  • Emma Approved, made by the same team behind The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, has several cases of this too:
    • Emma Woodhouse is played by a half-Japanese and half-German actress.
    • Izzy Knightley, Emma's married sister, is played by a Hawaiian actress.
    • Mrs. Bates becomes the African-American Maddy Bates and her niece Jane Fairfax becomes African-American too.
    • Frank Churchill becomes Asian and Ryan Weston's stepbrother instead of his son to justify their different races.
  • Super F*ckers: Ultra-Richard goes from white in the original comics to black in the animation. He also went from having nearly no personality in the comics to basically being a vaguely-super powered Chef expy.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man did this to a large portion of the (very white in the comics) cast. Word of God has had to tell us what some the Ambiguously Brown characters were. Liz Allan is now Hispanic, as is her brother (stepbrother in the comics) Mark. Likewise, police officer Jean DeWolff is Native American (according to Word of God). Ned Leeds and Kenny "King Kong" McFarland also go from white to Asian (with names changed to Ned Lee and Kenny "King" Kong), while Raymond and Miles Warren are both Indian. Fancy Dan, Debra Whitman and Roderick Kingsley, all white in the comics, are now black.
  • Superman: The Animated Series has Angela Chen, who is essentially an Asian Expy of the comic book character Cat Grant. Her role as the Daily Planet's gossip columnist and rivalry with Lois Lane are all directly lifted from Grant. Also, Inspector Henderson, who was white in the Superman radio show and The Adventures of Superman, was a black man.
  • Puff was a white blonde in the original Static comics, but was depicted as an African American in Static Shock.
  • X-Men: Evolution does this more than once, with originally blonde and very white Amanda Sefton becoming possibly Middle Eastern (or a brown-skinned ethnicity, anyway; it isn't apparent from dialogue or appearance, though she doesn't look quite like the series' black characters) for the series. The Lift is extended to her parents, naturally.
    • Also, Magma goes from white to Brazilian (in the comics, she was disguised as a Brazilian when she was first seen, but proved to be a blonde from a Romanesque society hidden in a remote area of Brazil). Which doesn't really make much sense, since 50% of Brazil's population is white. The southern states have large amounts of blondes.
    • Amanda Sefton in the comics is a Roma. A pale, blonde Roma. Her mother, Margali, has a more "traditional" Roma appearance.
    • Mystique receives a mid-series version of this trope. In the first season, Mystique had light blue skin, white eyes with gray pupils, dark red hair, and violet lips. From the second season onwards, her skin is a dark bluish-green, her eyes are yellow with black pupils, her hair is a lighter shade of reddish-orange, her lips are dark blue, and her facial structure is also different in shape.
      • Mystique's an interesting case, and doesn't really change in the show. It's worth explaining fully anyway, because many fans and even the comic artists don't catch this: Mystique's day-one outfit, the white dress with the skulls, actually has a bodysuit, or it did in early appearances. This makes her face more green and her arms and legs more blue. Artists since have forgotten it was there, and now make her entire body whichever color they feel she should be - sometimes the color of her face, sometimes the color of the rest of her. By now, any shade of green or blue goes. X-Men: Evolution gave Mystique a fairly faithful representation of her day-one outfit, remembering the bodysuit. Eventually, she changed to her second, black outfit, which lacked the bodysuit, so later seasons have her entire body the color that was once reserved for her face. Before. After.
  • Lady Jaye was white in the original G.I. Joe cartoon. In G.I. Joe: Renegades, she has since become a Latina. Also Ripcord, following in the movie and IDW comic's footsteps, is now black.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, The Super Hero Squad Show, Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Wolverine and the X-Men, and Ultimate Spider-Man all use the Ultimate version of Nick Fury.
    • Earth's Mightiest Heroes splits the difference, making him a black man with hair more like the original Fury in Season 1. Season 2 made him more Ultimate-like by shaving his head and having him grow a beard.
    • Additionally, it has Kang's lover Ravonna changed from a white woman with red hair to an Ambiguously Brown woman with jet black hair. Maria Hill also becomes ambiguously brown. This led to a minor controversy when Cobie Smulders was cast as Maria Hill in The Avengers. Some fans who were only familiar with Maria from the cartoon complained about a pale-skinned, blue-eyed actress being cast to portray the character in the film, even though that's how she usually looks in the actual comics.
  • Corresponding to the above-mentioned Race Lift of his brother Nick Fury, Scorpio is depicted as an African American man in Ultimate Spider-Man.
    • Rather than being a white guy, the Scorpion is from K'un-L'un, the hidden Tibetan city where Iron Fist received his training.
    • Arcade also goes from being a white adult to an Asian teenager.
  • Young Justice does this with Artemis and her mother Paula, both of whom were blue-eyed white women in the original comics. Here, Paula is Vietnamese, while Artemis is biracial. Artemis keeps her blonde hair from the comics, but is given brown eyes, darker skin and Asian facial features to highlight her mixed heritage.
    • Variant with Aqualad: the original holder of the title from the comics, Garth, is white, but hasn't been Aqualad for a long time anyway. In this continuity they created a new character, Kaldur'ahm, whose father, Black Manta is African-American.
    • Martian Manhunter might count as well. In the comics his human guise is usually a white man; in the show he adopts the appearance of a black man, though it probably is a Shout-Out to his Smallville appearance.
      • This also leads into an interesting visual pun and bit of foreshadowing with M'Gann. Her guise is as a white teenage girl. Meaning she's white, and a Martian. She really is a White Martian.
  • The Batman reimagined Lex Luthor's female bodyguard Mercy Graves as an Asian woman. The Chinese American police officer Ellen Yin was also a race-swapped (and much younger and prettier) version of Ellen Yindel, the female police commissioner from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Chief Rojas is also a Hispanic expy for Harvey Bullock.
  • The Royal Flush Gang that appeared in the 80's Superfriends cartoon had Ten changed from a grown white woman to a black teenager.
  • As the name would imply, the Bat Man of Shanghai shorts from DC Nation have Catwoman changed to a Chinese thief operating out of Shanghai in the 1930's. Batman and Bane become Chinese as well, though Bane is Latino in the comics.
  • The Halloween special Toy Story of Terror changes Combat Carl, briefly seen in the original film as a generic white "Little Green Man"-type soldier, into a black G.I. Joe Expy with a mustache. It's not unheard of for toy lines to Retcon characters into being more diverse, so it comes off as a bit of a Meta joke.
  • Beware the Batman's version of Marion Grange changed the character from Caucasian to African-American.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: The original cartoon actually used footage from an anime, so the characters all fit the usual "supposed to be Asian but look white to Westerners" trope. In this reboot, Princess Allura, Hunk and Lance are all Ambiguously Brown (with Word of Saint Paul claiming Lance is Cuban and Hunk is Samoan), Shiro (formerly Sven) is Japanese, and Keith retains that "might be white or Asian" look. Pidge and Coran are the only ones who look obviously white.
  • In DuckTales (2017), Fenton Crackshell (the alter-ego of Gizmoduck) is Latino, and now named Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/RaceLift/DiversifyingACast