‘Fantastic Four’ Reboot May Cast ‘Chronicle’ Actor Michael B. Jordan as Human Torch

Published 2 years ago by

michael b jordran fantastic four reboot Fantastic Four Reboot May Cast Chronicle Actor Michael B. Jordan as Human Torch

There are few ways to poke that proverbial bear with greater effectiveness than to argue that increasing the diversity of casting in superhero movies is a good thing; not to mention, necessary, to reflect the growing fanbase of superhero and comic book movies, which continues to break down the barriers of race and gender (case in point: just ask Tumblr how many women love Tony Stark and Loki).

It’s one thing to fill a traditional African-American character role such as Falcon in Captain America: The Winter Soldier with Anthony Mackie – or to consider an up and coming black actor to portray the African prince Black Panther onscreen – but go and cast Oscar-winnier Jamie Foxx to play Electro in Amazing Spider-Man 2 and, well… you can just sit back and watch the fighting begin.

It’s time to revisit that discussion, with the latest casting update for the Fantastic Four movie reboot. According to insiders, 20th Century Fox and the film’s director, Josh Trank, are looking at Michael B. Jordan – who played one of the three leads in Trank’s breakout Chronicle - to portray Johnny Storm, a.k.a. Human Torch.

The Wrap says its received this tipoff from “numerous individuals familiar with the project,” and Jordan’s chances of landing the Human Torch role depend partly on how much chemistry he has with other actors in consideration. We learned earlier this week that Allison Williams (Girls) is shortlisted to play Susan Storm, a.k.a. the Invisible Woman, in the superhero flick; however, Jordan is reported to have had several meetings with studio executives over the past week (meaning, he may be a more serious candidate to sign on, for the time being).

fantastic four chris evans human torch Fantastic Four Reboot May Cast Chronicle Actor Michael B. Jordan as Human Torch

Chris Evans, who now plays Steve Rogers/Captain America in the Marvel Universe, portrayed Johnny Storm in the 2005 Fantastic Four movie adaptation; indeed, the character has traditionally been portrayed as a caucasian man in the comic books, which begs the question: Is the casting of Jordan appropriate and respectful to the series lineage?

We say yes, for a few reasons:

  • Johnny Storm/Human Torch is characterized by a hotshot attitude, charisma and anti-authority tendencies (not by his race). Jordan has proven more than capable of handling those demands, with his performance in Chronicle and on the television series Friday Night Lights, among other projects.
  • The personal obstacles faced by the Fantastic Four – Reed Richards, Johnny and Susan Storm, and Ben Grimm – are very much universal, as opposed to being restricted to people of a certain ethnic background.
  • Fantastic Four is about a group of superheroes who struggle to work together as a family, despite their differences in personalities. Hence, the series has always been about diversity (thematically), so it is fitting that casting should reflect that.

fantastic four reboot Fantastic Four Reboot May Cast Chronicle Actor Michael B. Jordan as Human Torch

Similarly, there’s no reason why Williams and Jordan cannot play brother and sister in the Fantastic Four franchise reboot, just because of the differences in race; after all, there’s nothing to prevent the characters from being the children of a biracial couple (welcome to the 21st century, folks). More importantly, both are hot acting talents that have previously tackled roles that show they are up to the challenges presented by the Storm siblings.

So again, we see no problem with this acting pair coming aboard on Fantastic Four, anymore than when Foxx joined the Amazing Spider-Man sequel – or Samuel L. Jackson played Nick Fury in the first two Iron Man movies, Captain America or The Avengers – among other examples of comic book characters that changed races during the transition to the big screen.

Of course, you may share you own feelings in the comments section – just keep it civil.


Fantastic Four is being directed by Josh Trank and produced by Matthew Vaughn (director of Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class), based on a script written by Jeremy Slater and revised by Seth Grahame-Smith.

It will open in U.S. theaters on March 6th, 2015.

Source: The Wrap

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  1. Great choice! He should be perfect! He knows how to play the role very well. In Chronicle, he pretty much played the same character.

    All we need now is Kerry Washington to play Sue!

    • Kerry Washington already played Ben Grimms girlfriend (a race change as well) in the original film franchise. But that WOULD be PERFECT! They could EASILY pass for siblings!!!

      • Yeah, I just realized she played Ben’s gf a few seconds after I posted. She’s just a really great actress and she would be perfect to play the type of role Sue has toward the family.

        Plus we had Chris Evans jump between two different Marvel characters and Ben’s gf is a lesser known character.

  2. Im down with this casting choice for a white sister/black brother relationship. I say this because I have a black uncle by adoption and half my family is native American and the other half is white or german/jewish (something like that) anyways its normal and completely acceptable. I sure as heck didn’t mind the casting of characters that had different races than what the comics showed so why should this be any different?

  3. My only hang up with this idea is that…Johnny and Sue are siblings. How b onvenient that the article took its own sweet time getting around to that. Make them both black, make Reed or Ben black, I don’t care, but Sue and Johnny should resemble each other, IMHO. Of course, what I’m most concerned about is that the film is good overall. Still, this idea is of doubtful merit. Are they just trying to make a point?

    • Just to add to that, one of the biggest disappointments for me about the 2005/2007 FF films was the casting, which did not reflect the source material (Torch and Thing notwithstanding). So I have really been hoping that this new one “gets it right.” Of course, the most important aspect of it is whether each individual is right for his/her role. If Williams and Jordan are the best people and have chemistry, then I support this. If the producers are just trying to make a statement or shake things up for the sake of seeming to be modern or whatever, then I would be disappointed in them.

  4. No thank you if that happens i probably wont even bother with this movie.

  5. One thing. All of you complaining about changing races, you do realize that Jessica is Mexican/French?

    I don’t remember seeing a big deal made of her not being ‘caucasian’ when the first movies came out.

    • Oh CRAP! I TOTALLY forgot about that! She’s doesn’t even RESEMBLE Chris Evans!!! Good point Yeah

    • One of the biggest complaints i’ve seen of that movie was her being cast as Sue Storm.

      • Which is kind of why I was hoping that the casting for the reboot would be non-controversial. Granted, I think that Michael Keaton as Batman was a stroke of genius, but I really want the FF film to have fidelity to the source material. Last time we got Jessica Alba. Why can’t this time be closer to the source?

      • you have a point… no need to rework characters… their are plenty of black characters out there for roles… but again if race isn’t necessarily essential to the story being told than i guess it doesn’t really matter as long as the story is told

    • Are u for real? Do u remember the outrage from fans when they announced Jessica alba?

  6. Badass!

  7. OK, Screen Rant, you’re doing this on purpose, right? First we had a thread about Marvel vs. DC, now a thread about black vs. white; come on, fess up, you’re doing this on purpose. :-D

    • Yeah Screen Rant!

      Whats Next

      Klingons doing Pilates.

      (Strikes back for steak comment)

      • We’re planning to rile up the “Ninjas vs. Pirates” crowd next.

        • Now that I can get into!

      • Klingons vs. Plates?

        You are a petaQ!!

        Well, you know, I try.


  8. I really do not think this is going to go over well. Alot of people already didn’t think the Fantastic Four was done good so far, you need to focus on trying to make the concept more interesting; not try to change it more. I will find alot of people sayign the hate ALL of the Fantastic Four movies now after this.

    And that sucks if you plan on blending the future Marvel movies too, ‘cuz why mix movies people liked with ones they didn’t?

  9. i do not think this is a good idea, there is already too many problems for this film to deal with thanks to it’s legacy from the last two. it doesn’t need the extra complications this brings.
    digging itself deeper with the fanbase is the last thing it needs.

  10. Sweet! Hope he gets it.

  11. this stuff of changing race of a character is fine in minor roles like MoS perry white. This is a major character that should not be switched race. Its kind of getting annoying tbh.

  12. they are full brother and sister, to change that is just forcing it. just make Reed or Ben a black guy instead.

    • There’s no reason to make anyone black, unless the actor who is auditioning for the part is black and happens to be the best person that tried out. Josh Trank has worked with Jordan before and if he feels that he is the best fit for his vision of Johnny Storm then we should give him the benefit of the doubt.

      • Yeah, that would be the right reason to cast the speculated actors in these roles. I just hope that it they do this, it is for that reason, and not merely a lazy attempt to seem edgy. Whatever makes for the best film is generally the best logic. However, all things being equal, fidelity to the source material is a good idea.

  13. Hell NOOOOO. Stop screwing with comic origins, relationships, gender, and YESSSS race! Johnny Storm is White! How about we make Black Panther an Asian? Luke Cage white?

    • Both Black Panther and Luke Cage are poor choices for your argument because in both those examples, their race is so inherent in their characters. Panther comes from an ancient African tribe and Cage was a comic book representation of all the tough, no nonsense lead characters in blaxploitation movies.
      The only thing inherent in Johnny Storm’s character is that he is a brash, smart-ass, risk taker. Race plays no part of him as a character.

      • I applaud you sir

      • Hollywood could make it work, I think a white blank panther would be nice. Diversity and openness is a great thing. Don’t you all agree! What do you mean he can’t be white? Explain to me why he can’t be white? Oh I get it, it’s different.

        • yea but why use diversity in a movie why can’t they do it in real life

  14. No way, I think Garret Hedlund will make a good choice playing “The Human Torch”

  15. Its like they are changing black panther into a white guy… how would they feel if they decided to make that kind of change? What next Ben Grimm will be gay?

    • Egg…xactly! Took the words from my mouth. They are created this way for a reason!

      • That’s true, they were made that way for a reason. Unfortunately that reason is that in 1961, black super heros wouldn’t sell any comic books. It was the time we were living in, so most characters were white. But we don’t live in that time anymore, so some artistic license in regards to race shouldn’t be as big of a deal as many tend to make it.

      • yea and if they really want to get into it I bet you they’ll probably take it too far by making a movie like black people owning the united states and they put white people through slavery for 600 years

  16. Its like they are changing black panther into a white guy… how would they feel if they decided to make that kind of change? What next Ben Grimm will be queer?

    • The 1950s called. They want their social attitudes back.

      • 2013 called they want their PC attitudes back!

  17. Its like they are changing black panther into a Caucasian guy… how would they feel if they decided to make that kind of change? What next Ben Grimm will be a queer?

      • Oh here is something.

        What Marvel Universe does the FF Take place in?

        How many Marvel Universes are there?

        • I have no problem with race and sexuality its just too big of a change for me.. Its just what if they made batman gay and any other characters gay.. even the new ultimate spiderman is gay… what if they made the hulk gay … it would start a trend of a society over comfortable with this kind of things … there is nothing wrong with being gay I just want them to kind of stay away from super heroes to being gay… believe me it will start a trend… if they made captain america gay I give up on comics

          • You can’t say “I don’t have a problem, but…..”. Obviously you do. You have a problem. Accept it, embrace it.

            People buy Ultimate comics. People buy the New 52. Change is nothing new for comic books. Race, gender and sexuality all change. Saying its not like the comics isn’t a reason. Having a different skin color or sexual orientation doesn’t stop comics from selling, why should for any good reason should it affect casting choices? May the best person get the role.

      • You no what, if they can find a talented white guy to play the part, I’m ok with it. Don’t be racist.

  18. I’m tired of all this stress about race and adhering to comic book history and yada,yada,yada. Why can’t people just relax and try to be at least a little open-minded? For one thing, isn’t this just a rumor? Nothing has been confirmed or denied. Secondly, race is not a defining element of Johnny Storm’s character; he can be White, Black, Asian, etc. No matter the color, Johnny Storm will always be the same guy. I’m sure people of most ethnicities have run across a hot shot type of man like Johnny Storm at least once in their lives.
    Johnny and Sue can be adopted, by the way. 90210 did it – I’m not ashamed of liking this show – with Dixon being adopted into Annie’s family (White sister, White Mom and Dad).
    Let’s wrap this up: if Michael B. Jordan is being sought after for his talent, and not some hidden agenda, then that is a HUGE plus on behalf of Fox and the creators working on this film. Everyone needs to relax and open their minds to all the wonderful possibilities of life.

    • +1000

    • I was with you until you said you liked 90210. :-D

    • Some books that have been around for a couple years versus the first comic book family ever thats been around for over 60 years are not comparable, sorry.

    • no the race is humans and we in a world with multi different ethnicity groups which evolved from africa as the years past and the lack of african characteristics which makes everyone appears different and if you don’t believe me go research google. I don’t mean to be intrusive but I just don’t like we some people try to separate themselves from humans by calling their people a race it’s like they’re trying to distinguish themselves from humans because they look,act,talk different. I understand why they do it though but I don’t like it

  19. Once again something for white people to throw a fit about! Just like when the hunger games was cast & people were pissed because the characters “weren’t how they had imagined & heaven forbid their fav characters be anything but white!” (Cuz white is the only thing right if you haven’t heard) I honestly think people forget that we live in a world filled with a multitude of different races & the color of ones skin is only that, a color. If he’s the best actor for the job then let him have it! The people who seriously have issues with this make me so sad for society…

    • You sound upset your not a white person!

  20. DO! NOT! DO! THIS!
    Black actors for black parts only!
    White actors for white parts only!
    This is not biased at all, and you all know it!
    Political Correctness is about the moist biased thing I have ever seen!
    Every time a beloved idea gets rewritten from the bottom up, it is a mess. Think of the modern remakes kicking dirt on Dark Shadows, The Lone Ranger, Green Hornet, and a host of others!
    I would love a FF reboot, although I did not dislike the first two movies. However, do not mess one iota with the characters in any way, shape, or form, or you will be convincing me in large degree that I know more about making a good movie than those convoluting a remake!

    As villains, let’s have The Frightful Four (Wizard, Medusa, Trapster, Sandman). Perfect 4 on 4 slobberknocker. Not sure if there would be rights problems for sandman and possibly Medusa, tho. Not Doctor Doom or Galactus. They have already been done.

  21. If all the folks out there are ready toi watch a movie featuring a white actor playing michael Jackson, malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Black panther, and Luke Cage, just to name a few, I might be less vocal against switching races. Until then, though, shut the flaming heck up!

    Nothing sacred? OK, then, let’s have male actors play female parts, female actresses play male parts, and since some are trying to show how liberal they are seems to be OK, let’s have more untoward scenes featuring little kids also for those that like that kind of thing (not me!), and maybe more drug scenes (also not me!), and more…I could go on and on, but I would make myself sick. Overstating? Getting way off the original subject? Yes, probably, so I will back up. I am just saying do not change the original author’s content that drastically, as it ceases to be what he or she wrote, and what wee loved about the characters. I am not biased in the least, believe it or not. And I know of excellent actors and actresses of many races. That does not mean they are right in all ways for every part. In the meantime, maybe I should sue and shut down production because there are not enough Danish, Welsh, Scotish, and English actors in a given film (my mixed racial background are those 4 ethniticities).

    • Sooo we are putting people who were actually ALIVE and REAL in the same line as comic characters? Okie doke…

      • Yeah, seriously. You are arguing about changing the race of a fictional comic book character. Why don’t you go ahead and take historical figures like Malcolm X and Martin Lither King right off your silly little list there. As for Michael Jackson, he did most of his work himself, so…

    • Michael Jackson and Martin Luthor King, Jr. are real people, just pointing that out. Like someone else explained earlier, being Black is apart of Black Panther and Luke Cage’s characters, so of course no one would ever cast a White actor to portray them (unless they are completely ignorant about those characters’ backstories).

      “I am just saying do not change the original author’s content that drastically, as it ceases to be what he or she wrote, and what wee loved about the characters”

      Are you saying that one of the reasons people love Johnny Storm is because he’s White? Fans of different races love him for being White? What about his personality? Why can’t people still enjoy this character on screen if he has the same characteristics even though he’s of different color? I’m not one of those people who want things like this to happen because it’s edgy or P.C (I’m beginning to dislike that term). I want it to happen because it’s interesting and it’s a new take on the character. I want it to happen only if the actor of color was willing to persuade a casting director that he is the best man/woman for the job. Changing a character like Johnny Storm, whose character is not dependent on race, to another ethnicity is not dishonoring the work of the creators. If it manages to explore something new about the character then that’s fine. If the creators were alive and became upset then maybe they have some inner issues(Racism? They were of a different time…)

    • Are you seriously comparing gross scenes with children to casting a black man in a white role?!

      As far as casting women as men, someone mentioned Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica earlier. My husband, who grew up with the original series freaked out, until he saw that it worked well. I’m not a liberal, I love books, tv and movies. I don’t think creativity should be limited by people who think so shallowly. “it’s not what I know so I’m angry!” Blech!

    • Gender is biological and race is a social construct. So changing men to women really isn’t a good argument… As a matter of fact there’s no argument you can use that is rational. The change isn’t detrimental to the character and has nothing to do with the quality of the film. So you’re argument is basically “Hey keep your black out of our white because history demands it” Hmmm sure seems familiar…

  22. Whatever…

  23. Why bother, don’t give people anything else to complain about. This clearly will destroy some people’s world and they have so little to cling to apparently……

  24. Selina kyle/Catwoman – Michelle pfeifer – Halle berry – Anne Hathaway…. they made catwoman black but it didn’t sell Halle berry is a great actress … but there are some changes that people should stay away from

    • Are you suggesting that Catwoman failed as a movie because of the fact that Halle Berry is a black woman, and not because the movie was just sh*tty as a whole?  Ertha Kitt played the character in the 60′s television show and was arguably the favorite over Julie Newmar. 

  25. i have a suggestion, instead of changing race and sexual orientation of existing characters, why not create NEW and RELEVANT and exciting black and gay characters!!! how about that?

  26. What if in the incoming star wars movie they made Luke Skywalker black or if they made captain kirk black? Or made Spock black… made a war story with Hitler as the villain and made Hitler black…hey its just a movie right? we don’t need to stick to source material… why don’t we make prof Xavier a girl and a black santa claus

    • What was the source material for Hitler again? The Holocaust?

  27. And while they are at it Morgan freeman should be Mr fantastic.. peter dinklage as the thing … Jackie chan as the human torch… Ellen degeneres as the invincible girl… yeah this will work

    • That’s no sh*t. This PC bullcrap has gone insane.