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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Are You Ready For A Black Johnny Storm In The Fantastic Four Reboot?

The Human Torch image
I was excited when rumors first started circulating about a Fantastic Four reboot. The originals weren't bad. They weren't great either, but I was hoping a rebooted Fantastic Four movie would finally give the fans the kind of movie they really wanted to see.

Michael B. Jordan pic
However, upon learning the casting rumor that Michael B. Jordan, actor in the hit movie Chronicle by Josh Trank, who is directing the FF reboot, is a strong candidate to play Johnny Storm The Human Torch, I shook my head on that call. How would that work, I asked myself. Is Sue Storm going to be Black as well?

Apparently, the wonderful and brilliant minds in Hollywood are planning to make Johnny Storm the adoptive or half brother of Sue Storm if Michael B. Jordan is cast. Uhmmm...okay.

Many comic fans are already voicing their opinions about this magical change in skin pigment to one of the most iconic Marvel characters in comics. After all, the Fantastic Four was the first comic ever launched under the Marvel Comics namesake (before they were Timely Comics)

While some view the idea as a "politically correct" move, others are retorting with "who cares?" as long as the actor captures the essence of character. The latter cry out that those who oppose this casting decision are racists, but I highly disagree with that claim.

As a comic fan, I would not like to see a non-Black actor cast as the Black Panther on the big screen, and I love the character and have been waiting forever for him to debut in a movie. I still hope Black Panther gets his own solo movie. Still, if a white guy were cast as T'Challa, aka The Black Panther and king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, I don't think too many Black comic fans would be pleased with that call, and I wouldn't blame them.

I wouldn't like it they changed the race to Luke Cage or the Japanese mutant Sunfire in a movie either. I'd especially shake my head if they casted a white dude to play The Falcon in next years Captain America: The Winter Soldier. 

Why is that? The Falcon is the very first African-America superhero in comics ever. He's part of history, and it would be wrong to do that. 

For the record, I wasn't upset when they cast Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. The fans who did make an outcry over it did not know that The Ultimate Nick Fury in the comics is actually Black and was modeled off of Sam Jackson.

I can even see why Hollywood decided to cast a non-Asian actor to play The Mandarin in Iron Man 3. After all, the character is one of the most prejudice depictions and stereo-type of Asians (The Yellow Peril mentality), and I believe that decision was made so they wouldn't hear a huge outcry from the Asian community.

Yes, Ben Kingsley is a brilliant actor, but let's face it: That call really had to do with the magical sound of Ka-Ching! Marvel and Disney did not want to alienate the Asian market.

When it comes to casting a Black actor to play The Human Torch in the Fantastic Four reboot, I think that call is still based on the Ka-Ching sound!

I can only see this as a blaxploitation move. Let's be real here. There aren't that many Black, Asian, Latino, or Middle Eastern superheroes in the world of comics. That's the truth.

So when it comes to movies based on comics starring minorities, there won't be too many, and we all know Hollywood. They want the Ka-Ching from everyone, so mixing up the race pool and casting Michael B. Jordan for Johnny Storm just might bring in more black people to take interest in the Fantastic Four reboot and drop the Ka-Ching!

I think creating more cool non-White superheroes in comic books would be a better solution than completely changing the race and identity of an already existing iconic comic character for a movie.

Iron Man 3 twisted the villains so terribly in the movie that they had no resemblance whatsoever to the actual characters in the comics, and that was highly disappointing. It had nothing to do with race either.

What it has to do with is depicting the comic characters we fans love and hold dear as accurately as possible on screen. If it's not done correctly, why even bother doing it all?   

I just don't see Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm. I don't really even see Anthony Mackie as The Falcon. Oh, and I was never convinced with David Carridine being a Chinese Shaolin monk in the Kung Fu t.v. series.

Funny thing is, how come there wasn't more of an outcry from the non-Chinese population over that one?    


  1. I find it funny that as soon as a white character or a black one gets chenged we here all this out cry but they do it to asian characters all the time like avatar wich was a real disapointment everyone says aang is white but how so his name is aang not billy he runs around in asian type clothes not jeans and a t-shirt and the same with dbz now the real insult was the mandarin yes we all know he was a racial stereo type but come on when you hear the word mandarin it is closly linked to the chinese people and the way they used him in the movie was an even bigger insult to the fans i wish whoever is making these movies would just stop and look what they are doing because change like this just upsets everyone why change the hero or villians race just to make certain people happy the comic book fan base is like no other we have a strong love for these characters i have been reading about these characters for over 30 years im a die hard comics fan who thinks some of these changes are just silly.

    1. I agree with you and unfortunately I think it all boils down to money and trying to encompass more of a specific group so they take interest and start spending their dollars to go see a particular movie. If it wasn't then why not cast an Asian male actor to play the part of Johnny Storm?

      The truth to that is most male Asian actors aren't as bankable in the U.S., which is why they cast a white guy for the lead role of Avatar. They thought the same with Bruce Lee so they cast David Carradine.

      It really is silly, and both sides will say it's so. But you are right...comic fans are truly die hard fans. When the studios forget that, they start making really stupid decisions to butcher the characters we love.

      I was insulted with the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 not because he wasn't an Asian actor. It was because they completely rewrote that iconic character just for the movie's story sake. There was no resemblance of the comic character at all in the movie. He was not the Mandarin at all in that movie, and if they wanted to do that, they should've just came up with a new character and left The Mandarin out of it.

      I don't see exactly why Trank or the studio would see Michael B. Jordan as the best candidate for Johnny Storm. There's a lot of other actors of varying races that can play a cocky, hothead and a better actor than him! So why not them?

      I think any answer they do give will be flat out rubbish, when the real reason is that they want to diversify the FF for purely monetary reasons. I think it's truly silly and plain wrong when a movie studio thinks of butchering a comic character just so they can appeal more to and grab the dollars from a certain group of people.

      I think that's truly manipulative.