The “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” production team’s choice to employ Charlie Wright as Rodrick has been met with controversy and debate.

Sophomore Seth McLean reads a page from the first book of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. McLean said he did not like the change in actors for the character Rodrick in the movies.

Sophomore Seth McLean reads a page from the first book of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. McLean said he did not like the change in actors for the character Rodrick in the movies.

Alina Yu

Alina Yu

Sophomore Seth McLean reads a page from the first book of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. McLean said he did not like the change in actors for the character Rodrick in the movies.

Jacob Fecht, Entertainment Reporter

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On July 29th, 2016, the team behind the original three Diary of a Wimpy Kid films announced the fourth film in the relatively inconspicuous series. Originally the decision was to never produce a fourth movie, as many of the actors had aged and wouldn’t properly fit the character.

The outrage first started when the team announced who would fill in as the new cast for the upcoming film, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.” It was one actor in particular, Charlie Wright playing Rodrick, that brought the films into the limelight of the meme community. This was by no means positive attention, as the trailer alone had gathered upwards of 11,300 dislikes against 1,800 likes in a span of a couple of days.

Sophomore Seth McLean said, “I think the decision to change was justified, but not well received by most people. I personally didn’t like the change.”

After the change, #NotMyRodrick became the popular consensus in regards to how both Charlie Wright’s role as Rodrick, and how the newest film would be viewed. By no means had the team revitalized the films, but rather doom the series to the onslaught of memes making connections between Charlie Wright and various other characters, including but not limited to: Edna Mode (“The Incredibles”), Pleakley (“Lilo and Stitch”) and Fungus (“Monsters Inc.”).

Junior Reese Nordeen said, “I believe that while the new actor, Charlie Wright, may look similar to the previous portrayal of Rodrick, he lacks the edgy flair that so many people adored.”

It’s since become obvious that the team’s decision to change actors has had adverse effects on the films popularity. They had gone from being generally not well known or thought of, to being extremely well known in a negative regard.

In regards to the effects this negative attention would have on the film’s movie sales McLean said, “I’ve seen multiple articles and plenty of things floating around that are highly against (Charlie Wright), so I would guess negatively.”

However, even though it has mostly been negative, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series have seen an increase in overall attention given to the films. The movies are geared towards a younger audience, which has made the attention they have gathered even more interesting, as older audiences add their cry to the outbreak.

McLean said, “I truthfully only watched the first movie, and I didn’t enjoy it very much, so it is generally unlikely I would watch the series at all.”

This mentality has done little to prevent people from voicing their opinions when it comes down to whether or not Charlie Wright is “their” Rodrick.

In regards to how Charlie Wright would impact the films, Nordeen said, “I don’t believe the choice to replace the older actor will have any repercussions, as much of the attention and drama is coming from an age group who wouldn’t watch the movie anyways.”

That being said, in many cases, replacing actors can lead to complications within the film as cast members struggle to adapt to losing and gaining actors constantly. While “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” has been a facelift for the series in regards to introducing new actors, they may not share the same chemistry the characters had in the previous films.

“Adding new actors into a production could have many different effects based on their part. Those who are playing a new role are often accepted easier than those who are replacing another actor”, Nordeen said, “In a production I was in several years ago, I was brought in for a role after someone was cut from the show. It was a little weird at first but I got used to it.”

As seen with Charlie Wright taking over as Rodrick in the new film, the team will not only get cast members to adapt to the change, but the general public as well, lest the movie remains ridiculed and dies away as only a forgotten memory of a meme now stale.

While the series has certainly mustered the attention of the population, both Nordeen and McLean share the belief that it will be mostly negative.

In regards to how the series may improve to receive the positive attention it seeks, Nordeen said, “I don’t think there is much to improve, other than making them at all.”


About the Contributors
Jacob Fecht, Entertainment Reporter
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