WGN's Scalped Casts Suicide Squad Alum Alex Meraz as Series Lead

Illustration for article titled WGNs iScalped/i Casts iSuicide Squad /iAlum Alex Meraz as Series Lead

Looks like WGN America is moving quickly to turn DC/Vertigo comic Scalped into its next TV hit. The network has announced that actor Alex Meraz has been cast as the lead actor in the pilot.

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Meraz will play Dashiell Bad Horse, who returns to the reservation after being estranged for many years. He quickly earns favor with Oglala Tribal Council president Lincoln Red Crow as a member of his Tribal Police Force, but Bad Horse has his own agenda that will inevitably pit him against Red Crow and his casino operation... as well as his own family. Meraz joins Lily Gladstone, who was recently cast as Red Crow’s daughter, Carol.

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Alex Meraz, seen here yelling at Bella. Courtesy Summit Entertainment
Alex Meraz, seen here yelling at Bella. Courtesy Summit Entertainment

Meraz was recently seen in Suicide Squad as Seal Team A squad member Gomez, but he’s better known for his role as Paul, one of the werewolves in the Twilight series. Meraz, a First Nation descendant of the Purepecha (Tarasco) Nation and of mixed Lakota descent, will be the first Native American lead on a major television show in recent history.

[Deadline]

Clarification: Meraz is of mixed Lakota and Purepecha descent, this information has been added to the article.

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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DISCUSSION

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I’m not going to say “Good for them for picking a First Nations actor,” because I think that ought to be the bare minimum expectation in a series like this.

I do have the question (and it’s really a question, I’m not trying to be an ass—I’m just naturally good at it), should it matter that they are using an actor from a tribe so disconnected from the tribe of the story? I mean it actually matters that we’re talking about Lakota Sioux, because this story is so largely the story of their condition and the shit they have to deal with in this country. Yes, it’s fictionalized and heavily dramatized, but honestly if you’ve spent any time on some reservations, the scary part is how much of it is stuff many people there deal with as the quotidian.

So does it matter if you cast a Japanese-American actor to play a Chinese-American character? Is a member of a Native American tribe from Western Mexico actually a solution? Again, I’m REALLY asking and I hope not be spammed with knee-jerk responses, but I’m (hoping I’m) ready for it. I’m torn. I kind of think there are some excellent Sioux, or actors from tribes more closely related by blood, language, or geography. Which begs the question, how close in any or all of these things would be enough? I get that this is a problematic way to think about it.

I’m not trying to start a movement to kick Meraz out or to even complain to him. I just notice this question in me and I’m not sure how to answer it.