INTERVIEW: Robert Kirkman on INVINCIBLE’s Amber Bennett change

Comic News

Invincible debuted this past Friday with three episodes to kick off the series. Among the changes that were made in the transition from comic to series, one major one was changing the character, Amber Bennett, from a blonde character to a Black one. Amber, who is one of Mark Grayson’s love interests, also has an expanded role from the original comic counterpart. We spoke with both Robert Kirkman and Zazie Beetz about this change during the Invincible press junket.

“We changed Amber’s race and I think we also expanded that character greatly,” Kirkman explained when asked about the television version of Amber Bennett. “Invincible was a comic book series that was started in 2003 and it was created by two white guys. I was from Kentucky, Cory [Walker] is from New Mexico. Diversity was not something that was at the forefront of our minds back then. And I think that Invincible is a very diverse comic that has a wide range of different kinds of people represented, but I think that it’s something that we recognize we can do better when it came time to do the animated series now. So, we solidified Mark’s race as Korean. Shrinking Ray was a character that was changed from male to female because we recognized that we didn’t have enough female characters. Debbie’s role is significantly expanded. Amber’s role is significantly expanded.”

He continued, “I think that our story is much richer for it. It’s a more well-rounded experience and representation matters. We’re all just trying to do our part to make sure that when you consume a piece of entertainment, you’re seeing a representation of the world that exists around us, and sadly that’s something that wasn’t really done in comics for the better part of the last century. So it’s great to be a part of doing things a little bit differently, and I think Amber’s character is a really big part of that as is having Zazie Beetz play her.”

Beetz, who voices this new version of Amber Bennett, emphasizes that the changes are more than just skin deep. “The character is very different from the comics, not just in race, but I think in terms of what she is interested in and what is important to her. Amber in the show is very justice forward. I think [she’s] always challenging Mark on that, too, and asking him, ‘What really matters to you? I’m here helping the community, and you’re trying to figure out your feelings.’ I like that that element was sort of injected into the show, and then I think, for me, to be a part of shaping that is great. I’m glad that they changed the character for the series. And I think the direction they took it is good. I’m glad that they chose me to be part of that sort of storytelling.”

The next five episodes are sure to deliver more twists and turns, especially involving Amber and Mark (and also Eve). Although Amber did not play a huge role in the first three episodes, it feels like things are picking up, and with the number of things happening every episode, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for plot twists.

Watch Invincible Fridays streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

  • This interview was edited for clarity and readability.

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