Universal Studios: remember Hester Shaw's disfigurement (Mortal Engines)

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The first teaser trailer for 'Mortal Engines', produced by Peter Jackson, was recently released. While fans and newcomers alike are excited, one detail stands out:

Hester Shaw, the redhead seen in the trailer, has two eyes. In the book, she only has one. While the lower half of her face is hidden– implying her scar is still there, and her two-eye-status is so this scar can be dramatically revealed– the change is enough to elicit worry. We don't know– maybe it'll all be fine!– but I don't want to risk it.

Hester Shaw is ugly. She is disfigured, with facial paralysis resulting in a 'permanent sneer, and only a snub of a nose'. Some changes are fine. I can live with her having two eyes for dramatic effect. What worries me is erasing her scar, and with it, her disability.

Hester's character begins with her being brutally disfigured in an attack, and with it, she loses all hope she can ever be loved or viewed as anything other than a monster. She's brutal and aggressive, but this helps hide the shy, young woman she is inside– more specifically, the shy, human woman society has forced her to hide.

Disfigured characters are rare in Hollywood. Disfigured female characters are rarer. And in both cases, they are almost always villains. Hester Shaw is important representation for people with scars and disfigurements, and her journey is important to them.

Universal, please remember: Hester Shaw's scar is not a papercut. It impacts her life every day, it is part of her, part of what makes her an iconic, awesome character.

 



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