Keke Palmer has been approached to star in the Marvel adaptation Runaways, the actress told Essence Magazine (via /Film).
Palmer is best known for her leading role in Akeelah and the Bee and the Nickelodeon series “True Jackson VP.” Though her age (17) fits perfectly with the recently-released casting call, her African American ethnicity doesn’t match that of any of the original female members of the team, which match the casting announcement as follows:
Boy 1: Alex Wilder
Boy 2: Chase Stein
Girl 1: Nico Minoru
Girl 2: Gertrude Yorkes
Girl 3: Karolina Dean
Girl 4: Molly Hayes
Though, later in the series, the team does add a member in the form of the Skrull shapeshifter Xavin and he/she is sometimes depicted as both female and African American, the complicated backstory of the character makes him/her an unlikely choice for a first film and definitely not one present on the casting call.
Earlier criticism of the casting notice and its lack of racial specifics led to word that the part of Nico would indeed by played by someone of Asian descent. In response to comments from RaceBending.com, Marvel Studios issued the following statement:
“To address your concern over casting for the role of Nico, as we do with all of our films, we intend to stay true to the legacy and story of the comic when casting these parts. Thus, our goal is to cast an Asian American actress as depicted in the comic series and the casting notice will be adjusted accordingly.”
Though the casting notice now reflects an “Asian-American” notation for the part of Nico, the other female roles do not not specifically request white actors. If Palmer is going to play a lead, the most likely candidate is the part of Karolina, depicted as white and blonde in the comic book series.