‘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

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
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  1. Lol It’s 2013 and look at how offended people are getting from a FICTIONAL character’s race being changed. Why does it matter?? History?? Heard no one complaining that the Joker wore face paint instead of falling in a tub of acid in TDK. Nobody seems to care that Hugh Jackman is 6’2″ playing Wolverine who’s almost a foot shorter than that, but you change the skin color and it’s too far from the comic.
    P.S. Bane is Latino and uses Venom in the comics buuuuut Tom Hardy isn’t spanish and I saw no hint of Venom in TDKR…. Ijs

    • Heimdall is not a fictional character to some, like some people do not think Jesus is fictional, however to have him being the brightest, blinding to look at, of all the Nordic Gods, and cast a black man to play him, is no different than making a Jesus move with a hispanic guy playing him, like a slap in the face for those who remember our ancestors.

      • Holy crap. Wow. Being black is an insult but not bring space aliens with super powers isn’t? That’s what you choose to focus on in the “this is someone’s religion, so have respect” argument. As a Christian I would not care in the slightest if he was portrayed as black. I might get a bit miffed if his powers came from a magic hammer.

        • instead of by getting his mother pregnant with himself to go on a suicide run to martyrdom?

      • White people play Jesus all the time, even though he was from the middle east.

      • Jesus is an historical figure. Like Julius Caesar. It’s whether or not you think he’s the son of God that’s up for debate.

      • yeah!!! =)

      • Are having him portrayed as a white guy seeing as how he’s jewish and everything

    • I still care that Wolverine is 6’2″ actually, lol. I also was a little upset that Bane wasn’t latino (or, for the most part, very little like the comic Bane). Seriously, one of the FEW times a comic character with a specific ethnicity (that was also quite central to the character’s background)AND non-caucasian. He was a character “based” on Bane, at best. How many latino superheroes/villains come to mind? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Guess it wasn’t pc enough…

      If they ever have White Tiger in a Shang-Chi or Master of Kung Fu movie/show, he better be Puerto Rican…

    • UMAD, bro? #Dealwithit

      • Ask them to be themselves and watch the confused look they get.

  2. I have been and will always be a purist so I absolutely hate this idea.

    I will always advocate they represent the characters the way they originally appeared in the comics. period, end of story. If you want to have a particular superhero to be a different race then go ******* create your own and stop screwing over the character’s origins.

    And for those who, “claim” that all that matters is ones acting ability……. Sooooo, it would be ok if say Depp played the next Superman? No? He is a great actor so what’s the problem? Or how about Meryl Streep playing Sue Storm? She IS white and one of Hollywood’s best so age shouldn’t be a factor right?

    So the next time some of you try to play the, “as long as they can act, who cares?” card, remember how they look IS just as important as their acting ability.

    • You really can’t get to moderating this comment any sooner that 24+ hrs? Come on.

      • Patience, young padiwan.

    • What about Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury!?!?! You can’t tell me the BLACK NIck fury isn’t BAD ASS! ijs…!

      • Last i checked, the ultimate nick fury in the comics is black and stays true casting samuel l jackson.

  3. He’s a cool actor. He’d be fantastic.

    • * I mean Micheal B. I haven’t seen Oliver before.

  4. Sorry this just wouldn’t work. Yes it is entirely possible to have a white child and a black child from interracial parents but why change the colour of a (fictional) character because Michael B. Jordan is a good actor? If you think i am wrong, let me ask you a question. Would you be happy with a white Blade? a white Shaft or a white Black Panther?
    Its not the change of skin colour or racism, its the fundimental change of the character.

    • How does it change the character? Frankly if they change his race I’d rather they didn’t do an “adoption” or “half-brother.” I’d rather they just not have them related and change somebody’s last name (Sue is or will be “Richards” anyway.

      Even if the characters aren’t brother and sister, how is that a “fundimental (sic) change of the character”? I’ve been reading FF for more than 30 years. I can’t think of one storyline or plot element that hinges on them being related.

      Okay, I thought of one “Thing.” That is that Ben is made to feel as more of an outsider because the rest of them are related by blood or law. I’ll admit that has lead to some poignant moments. But they can do that some other way (and I hope they do). Other than that I think there are some stories with their Dad, but hardly anything essential.

      I don’t get the augment against this. I could see an argument that, for instance, James Bond is essentially a power fantasy of the declining white male British Empire, and therefore he is better white. But really I’m kind of over most other changes. These universes were conceived 50 years ago. They need to be updated (unless they did a 1960’s retro future [like Incredibles I guess]). There needs to be some diversity. Making every character white is too glaring.

      IDK. At best I imagine a lot of fans have some kind of OCD disorder where they can’t handle changes and need constant reminder that everything is the same. Otherwise it seems a bit intolerant.

        • If the writers ever need to look to any of the stories you mention, this run of FF films will be the most popular, successful, longest running SH movie series of all time, past present and future. Period.

          The expression “scraping the bottom of the barrel” comes to mind.

          In the meantime they might find enough plots in the hundreds upon hundreds of other stories that don’t revolve around the brother-sister relationship.

    • Can you please read the other comments!

    • I’ll reiterate. You are right in the fact that changing the race of Blade, Shaft or the Black Panther would not work because it would be a fundamental change in their character.  That is because their race defines them as a character.  In the case of Shaft, he is a product of blaxploitation films of the 70’s.  Blade, like Luke Cage, is a comic book representation of characters like Shaft.  In the case of the Black Panther, being an African Prince is part of the character’s origin.
      However, in the case of Johnny Storm, his race is inconsequential and plays no part in the definition of him as a character.

  5. Sigh…

      • There’s enough white characters already, so there isn’t a need to change the the few black characters. They were created in a different time.

        I think you are right that “most fans just want things as close to the source material as possible.” But maybe there is something a bit overly compulsive about that. It reminds me of “Rain Man” where Raymond freaks out because he can’t watch Jeopardy.

        I’m white and older. I know that I felt different about this stuff in the past. To some degree, I think people need to see past age, sex, and race, and relate in some other way to these fictional characters. However, I have to admit that it’s easier for me to relate to characters that “look like me.” So why is that any different for others?

  6. I have to agree with frank castle. I feel this is more an issue with following source material and not a race issue. People do want to see a story with characters close to the source material and I have to disagree with comments made earlier in this post that the source material is over 50 years old and out of date for our modern times so it doesn’t really matter. It most certainly does and if so even more given the fact that it is so old. For 50 years people have visualized the character of Johnny Storm as the brother of Sue and they are both white. Also people talking about maybe a bi-racial couple to me is also an issue with source material as we have seen in the comics that both Franklin and Mary Storm are white. Once again remember old school comic fans will get pissed off at any change that goes on to source material just look how old school Star Trek fans reacted to the new Star Trek movies given J.J. Abrams interpretation.

  7. This is so painfully stupid. Just stick to the source material and stop screwing around with stuff! Someone else said it perfectly, would you have a white Black Panther?

  8. I’m waiting for Asian actors being cast as Superman or Black Panther.

    It could work, I mean they could be step siblings

  9. Every one calm down they made Morgan Freeman God… johnny storm should stay the same.. for instance maybe we don’t change the race… let say they let Ellen degeneres as wonder woman… or rowan Atkinson as Gandalf…. peter dinklage as tony stark… dinklage is a great actor but that doesn’t make him right for starks role…

    • God can appear as any race, any gender…heck, any species, He wants.

  10. It is articles like this why I stop commenting on screenrant regularly. They don’t stimulate meaningful conversation, they only serve to incite opinions that can’t and won’t be changed with this type of debate. If you want to post this type of article then disable the comments section because as it was already stated above on numerous occasions the comments are from three categories. For, against, and don’t care. Your almost as bad as FOX stirring the pot like this.

    • It does generate page views, and as you so keenly observed this type of news peaks interest (good and bad) for a a project that a lot of people might not care about otherwise.

    • I’ve wondered where you had gone. I figured you were in another sector of space. 😀

      • Hey Kahless. Great sense of humour as always! :)

      • Was over gallavanting around the Delta Quadrant hangin with the Borg collective. Long trip with no wormhole to navigate through!

  11. I want Michael B. Jordan to play Human Torch in the reboot movie and action figure toys.

  12. It would not change anything! He would still be the same character you read about in the comics! Same costume, same dialogue, same powers & personality, etc! So for all you up in arms just imagine he stayed in a tanning bed to long & he’s browner! (Geez, its just a color people-same character, different color!)

    • Yeeah. Riiiiiiight. *jeez*

  13. Lets do a reboot of Shaft, make him a white guy, & watch the entertainment industry crap their pants & have a complete melt down with indignant outrage. That’s about how these liberal hypocrite candyasses roll.

  14. Is it just me or did it seem like even the author of this article had a hard time justifying this? Because they face general problems and have differing behaviors that many actors can portray correctly, it is okay to just cast anyone for the roles. smh

    Also isn’t Sue Storm supposed to be blonde with blue eyes? I’m not a geneticist, but I don’t think it’s genetically possible to have a kid like that from a biracial couple. If they really wanted to cast those two actors,it would make more sense for adoption to be the basis of their races being different.

    The first two weren’t the best comic book movies ever and I was hoping this reboot would learn from what Marvel has been doing and what Nolan did and be better, but I might have to skip this one if this is the direction they are going. I’m just really tired of all this political correctness crap and being told that everyone and everything needs to be accepted, except for my point of view.

  15. I truly don’t care, so long as the movie is better than the original one. I thought it was ok, but I felt cheated from the FF I remember. If he can pull off a good Johnny Storm, I’m all for a change. Change is, mostly, good and important.

  16. i welcome the change. he could be adopted; therefore, making race a non-issue, except that he doesn’t match 50 years of drawings. besides, johnny storm is most interesting when he’s covered in flames. race would not change his dynamics jessica alba is not white….i don’t recall issues with her. following source material would leave very little opportunity for any non-white actor/actress to have roles in these big budget comic movies. most non-white comic characters were created specifically to not to be white. most of the major characters were simply created in the image of their creators.

  17. Black or white doesn’t matter. As long as it doesn’t hurt the story or action. Like Screen Rant said, the FF is not about skin color. It’s about what the characters bring to the table and how they work together. Give it a shot I say. Entertain us.

  18. I’m not a black guy – but about Shaft. Shaft functions the way he does because of his black background. His style and swagger and culture that are instrumental to his story are all black. That’s why a white Shaft would not work. The same is not true of Johnny Storm. His whiteness does not matter to his origins and how he functions. Let’s be rational guys instead of going tit for tat blindly. Respect Screen Rant for what they are trying to do here. Peace brothers.

  19. Rofl. All these Stormfront guys coming from the woodwork. Regardless of his race (which is still of prime importance in 2013) the ACTOR would do the job well in every way. Sue could still be white and all they would have to do is throw a quick line in about it or something. not that hard. No maybe if this was just random black guy that they were doing just to have the token minority i would be pissed but this guy actually is a good actor and could play the part VERY well.

    I’m sick of seeing the same moronic “arguments getting vomitted all over the keyboard time and time again with each article like this that appears. The same things that have been explained time and time again keep getting thrown out there. It can’t be helped since they don’t have much to support their old fashioned “white is right” feelings. just like they have no problem whitewashing almost all asian characters. 2 or 3 white characters get turned brown? 2 or 3 black characters take up the mantle of a white character? Racial riots. Grrr a brown person shouldn’t take over for one of my precious white characters. Only way i’ll be happy is if another WHITE male takes over. >:[ LOL. Anywho tbh convos like this bring out the worst in me so i try to refrain from them.

    tldr: i support this if he is casted. Though this is the typical black person role in american movies anyways. Makes jokes and bes a hothead and gets reprimanded by the calm and intelligent white family. i hope he tops evans who was a better ht than he is a Cap imo 😐

    edit: excuse me if this was posted already. having connection problems.

    • Many of the comments about this don’t even warrant an intelligent response, but it shows the mentality of people. Personally I think they should just leave a character like the Human Torch alone because this whole idea just looks like a gimmick. The fact is and always has been that many of these comic characters were created by white men in a time when minorities were not a thought. The problem now is that film makers want to make these movies accessible to an international audience and the racial make-up of many long-running comics is primarily white.

  20. I like him, he’ll play a good Storm.

  21. I wasn’t thrilled first reading this, but I think it could work if they do it right. Johnny and Susan would need to be half-siblings, if related at all, though: despite what this article claims, a bi-racial couple won’t produce one black and one white kid…

    I would have rather seen Donald Glover as Miles Morales Spider-Man though.

    • ACTUALLY it is possible from a visual standpoint, but they would have to be twins. This has actually happened in real life where a biracial couple has had twins(two sets actually) who’s skintone varied enough that people would assume they weren’t blood related.

      That said such a theory/idea would be pushing it with his skin tone.

  22. You know on the off chance someone didn’t mention this before – Sam. L as Nick Fury was pretty much based off the Ultimates Nick Fury who was based off Sam. L to begin with. The character’s race changed in the comics, long before he was even cast for the movie role. So that argument is out flat on its face.

    That said even as a black woman I am gonna call foul on this. Why? Because there are more than a few well rounded black marvel characters. I’m not even going to read though the rest of the comments about a subject I am sure has been argued at length.

    The comic movie landscape and be “diversified” without changing the race of characters. This isn’t about being PC, its about acknowledging when to let certain titles go and when to look at others that have strong characters and getting decent scripts done.

    I don’t care frankly that the stromfront crowd got upset over Idirs Elba playing the brightest one – these incarnations of Norse mythology are aliens FFS, who cares. I didn’t hear them bitching when Loki stole Sif’s body, but we are talking about a mythological/religious icon who was a mare for awhile.

  23. I would NOT watch it if they changed up the characters that much. While we are at it…let’s make the BLACK PANTHER a white guy. It isn’t the race that is the issue, it’s changing characters already set in place for a stupid reboot and trying to be politically correct. ENOUGH ALREADY!

  24. NO, NO, NO!

    Having said that, let’s discuss why.

    Several people have mentioned it before… It’s not so much about Race as it is about staying true to Source Material.

    I am Black and Proud and I am absolutely against Michael B. Jordan playing Johnny Storm in a Fantastic Four reboot because it’s just WRONG!

    Sue and Johnny are siblings and for 30 years I’ve been reading Comics and seeing them as Blond and Blue eyed!

    It’s not that I am against ANY such change. I rather enjoyed seeing Idris Elba as Heimdall and I think he did a brilliant job.

    I like Michael B. Jordan as an actor and I believe he would do a very good job in any role.

    But for some reason I just cannot see a black Johnny Storm… it’s just really, really wrong and should not be done!

    What I need to see instead are movies with Black Super Heroes in starring roles.

    We need a Black Panther Movie, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, etc.

    Leave Johnny the way he was created… blue eyed and blond!

    P.S. To be fair, I love Jessica Alba and Chris Evans but I did NOT like them as Sue and Johnny Storm either… They just did NOT fit!

    The only person who suited his role was Michael Chiklis as The Thing… everything else was a mess.

    • I am in total agreement, we need a Black Panther movie, and didn’t even really think of Luke Cage and Iron Fist, which I would love because I’ve always liked Iron Fist for some reason. They need to make an epic Black Panther movie, sweeping over Africa and North America, could be awesome.

      I thought Chris Evans was good as Johnny, not amazing, but good, but didn’t care Alba as Sue Storm, mostly because her and Chris didn’t look like brother and sister to me and since I thought Evans’ performance was a little better she’d be the one I’d have picked to drop in the movies.

  25. So insulting when they have to put a black actor in to try to make a few extra bucks, not that I’ll be going and seeing this garbage anyway. Instead of going for a cash grab or trying to make the character “cooler” by hiring a black actor why don’t they actually make a black super-hero movie worth a damn like Black Panther??? Idiots in Hollywood, I swear.

  26. Am I the only one that sees this as a diversion? Could it be that he is being slated to be Black Panther? Could be cool right? However, not sure who owns the rights to BP? He was known for his run ins with FF.

    • Be glad the rabid mob missed this post. Black Panther is still with Marvel and this FF project is from Fox.

  27. Jesus people its not that big of a deal lol. Make him adopted or something like why does the whole bi-racial parents thing HAVE to be used. There are plenty of times where non-white characters are portrayed by white actors so im pretty sure you fan-boys will be able to get over one of your precious heroes being changed race just once lol. I saw this post a few days ago and decided not to comment on it because I figured it was about to die out but nope lol.

    Like really are you really that butt hurt over one character being changed race, were not talking about a change to say superman, batman, or spider man (ie donald glover rumor).

    And to the dude who keeps talking about PC do you even know what that means? LMAO if anything if they were going to be PC they WOULD NOT have thought about changing the race of the character.

    • Because if they were not black/white to begin with then they should not force it on the fans.

      • I’m sorry but that will just not work for this film.

    • I’m hugely opposed to this. I was not opposed to Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury as the Ultimates comics has a black Nick Fury and the artists even based The Ultimate Nick Fury off of Sam Jackson, who admitted was not pleased at first.

      Casting a black actor to play Johnny Storm The Human Torch is on par with casting a white dude or Asian guy to play The Black Panther, in which I’ve been waiting forever for that awesome character to hit the big screen. It’s just pretty lame to do that and I’d rather not have it happen.

      Luke Cage Powerman would be ridiculous if he were twisted on-screen to be a poor white southern white guy, and you bet there would be outrage from comic book fans of every color if any movie studio were dumb enough to try to pull that off.

      As for non-white characters being changed to be played by white actors, I don’t agree with that also…and the first I can remember is the T.V. series Kung Fu where David Carradine played a Chinese Shaolin Monk. I view that as insulting.

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