The new Johnny Storm, actor Michael B. Jordan, is finally speaking up about all the Internet hate surrounding his FANTASTIC FOUR casting.
When Josh Trank’s THE FANTASTIC FOUR cast was announced, some hardcore comic book fans were quick to react harshly. Michael B. Jordan, an African-American actor, was cast as Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch. Johnny Storm is a blond, blue-eyed character in the comics and portrayed by Chris Evans in the 2005 and 2007 films. Furthermore, some commenters have complained that Johnny is the brother of Sue Storm, played by white actress Kate Mara.
After a long period of silence, Michael B. Jordan wrote a smart, honest editorial in Entertainment Weekly that discusses comic purists, Internet hate, and his decision to step forward in spite of it. He also touches upon the amazing social progress we’ve seen since the comics first began and how they play into casting:
I can see everybody’s perspective, and I know I can’t ask the audience to forget 50 years of comic books. But the world is a little more diverse in 2015 than when the Fantastic Four comic first came out in 1961. Plus, if Stan Lee writes an email to my director saying, “You’re good. I’m okay with this,” who am I to go against that?
This is a family movie about four friends—two of whom are myself and Kate Mara as my adopted sister—who are brought together by a series of unfortunate events to create unity and a team. That’s the message of the movie, if people can just allow themselves to see it.
Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, “I’ll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I’ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations.” I put that responsibility on myself. People are always going to see each other in terms of race, but maybe in the future we won’t talk about it as much. Maybe, if I set an example, Hollywood will start considering more people of color in other prominent roles, and maybe we can reach the people who are stuck in the mindset that “it has to be true to the comic book.” Or maybe we have to reach past them.
Personally, we totally agree with Michael. Comic book films, like many book adaptations, are not so serious that color blind casting can’t be decided. Suggesting that Johnny and Sue’s relationship is only important because they were biological siblings in the comics is equally ridiculous. Jordan is a fantastic actor and we can’t see his take on the role!