It’s no secret that early teasers of Netflix’s newest fantasy series, Fate: The Winx Saga, was panned by fans of the original cartoon.
The adaptation, which brings to life a live-action version of the beloved Nickelodeon show, took a lot of heat on social media after revealing that The Winx Club would be getting the Riverdale and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina treatment. In short, instead of vibrant costumes and whimsical magical sequences, viewers could expect a darker, more realistic version, filled with teenage angst.
Talk of whitewashing was also thrown around when two of the story’s original POC characters were replaced with caucasian actors instead. Musa, the Asian fairy in the series, is portrayed by English actress Elisha Applebaum, while the Latin fairy, Flora, was booted form the main cast altogether in place of a new white character named Terra (Eliot Salt), who’s conveniently Flora’s cousin.
Of course, the stars themselves are well-aware of the backlash, and while the show still managed to do well both domestically and internationally—it sat in Netflix Philippines’ Top 10 list for weeks after its release—actress Precious Mustapha, for her part, agrees that the series could do more when it comes to diversifying its current cast.
"I've always been someone who always looked for people who look like me on-screen," Precious told Digital Spy. "The industry is getting to a point where we're starting to see more diversity on screen, but it's obviously not enough and there's still more work to be done. It's really nice to be on a show where there is a lot of diversity. There could be more and hopefully if we get a season two there will be a lot of that."
Born of British-Nigerian descent, Precious steps into the shoes of Aisha, a water fairy whose animated version was originally voiced by Nickelodeon alum Keke Palmer.
As far as diversifying Fate: The Winx Saga goes, Eliot, and lead star Abigail Cowen, are both eager to see Flora join the team, should the show get a season two. “Flora absolutely does exist in this universe If we’re lucky enough to get a second series I hope that she’s going to appear,” said Eliot during a round table interview with media. When asked why viewers should give her admittedly unfamiliar character a chance, the actress adds “Terra, as a separate person, is so warm and eager to please. She’s the kind of character I could relate to when I was a teenager—the need for approval and finding my identity. I think people will at least be able to see their internal selves in her, if not how they go about their lives.”
With a clamor from social media to do better, and a clear awareness from the show's ensemble cast, we're definitely keeping our fingers crossed for a more racially diverse Fate, if Netflix does renew the series for a second season.
You can now stream Fate: The Winx Saga exclusively on Netflix.
Watch the full trailer below.
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