Ed Skrein
Ed Skrein as bad boy Ajax in Deadpool. Photo: 20th Century Fox.

I don’t know about you, but I rather enjoyed Ed Skrein’s performance as the villanous mutant Ajax in Ryan Reynolds’s meta superhero flick Deadpool (see our review) and was a little sad when he was offed at the end.

But Skrein is getting a new lease of life in the world of comic book adaptations. According to an exclusive report by The Hollywood Reporter, the Brit actor has joined the cast of the Hellboy reboot. He will be playing Major Ben Daimio, a rugged military member of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. Due to a supernatural encounter, Ben is able to turn into a jaguar when he’s angered or in pain.

But barely a day since the announcement about Skrein was made, and the news has drawn some major backlash. Why? Ben Daimio is a Japanese-American character in the comics and Skrein is, well, neither. This fuels the already raging complaints about Hollywood’s tendency to whitewash characters that could’ve, should’ve gone to actors of colour. No official response from the studio Lionsgate or the filmmakers yet about Skrein’s hire.

Nevertheless, we think the cast is coming along nicely for this R-rated incarnation of Hellboy, which is being directed by genre filmmaker Neil Marshall. Stranger Things actor David Harbour has taken on the titular role, Ian McShane (last seen as Odin on American Gods) will play Hellboy’s mentor Professor Bruttenholm and fandom icon Milla Jovovich has been cast as the villain, who may or may not be Nimue the Blood Queen. They even snagged indie darling Sasha Lane from American Honey to play Alice Monaghan, a character who was rescued by Hellboy in his origin story.

How about it, geeks? Ed Skrein as Ben Daimio – casting win or casting fail?