Of all of the comic book movies due out in the near future, there are few that seem to be as polarizing ahead of release as Fantastic Four, due out this August directed by Josh Trank. In addition to known liberties with the source material that the film’s story is believed to be taking, as well as being a stylistic departure from typical Hollywood superhero fare. One “controversy” from the perspectives of some fans also seemed to arise from the film’s casting, namely that actor Michael B. Jordan is an African-American, playing a character that has typically been portrayed in the comics as Caucasian. Of all the people that could possibly notice, Jordan himself has come forward to give his own thoughts.
In an essay written for Entertainment Weekly, Jordan frankly lays out what the issues were that some fans had, as well as how they made him feel upon learning about them. He would also go on to say, though, that he would no longer let them bother him.
You’re not supposed to go on the Internet when you’re cast as a superhero. But after taking on Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four—a character originally written with blond hair and blue eyes—I wanted to check the pulse out there. I didn’t want to be ignorant about what people were saying. [...] It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore. 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?
In addition to getting the stamp of approval from Johnny Storm’s creator, Jordan also explains his keen awareness of the perception, by some, of his casting as an act of political correctness that somehow damages the 54-plus year history of Johnny Storm or the Fantastic Four. At the end of the day, he says that the theme of the film is also the primary theme of the characters in the comics: it all comes down to family.
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.
Moreover, Jordan also explains to readers that he has absolutely no issue with “shouldering this hate” that comes from some sects of fandom, and encourages any of the “internet trolls” that have a problem with it to take a look around the world that they live in, and understand that the new Fantastic Four film is attempting to reflect it.
Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it.
Fantastic Four starring Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/the Human Torch opens on August 7th, and we can’t wait to see Jordan add his mark to the legacy of a beloved character. For more on the film as it takes shape, keep it locked on GeekNation.
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