‘Fantastic Four’ Reboot: Michael B. Jordan Responds to Human Torch Criticism

Published 1 year ago by , Updated February 24th, 2014 at 6:24 am,

Michael B Jordan Responds to Human Torch Criticism Fantastic Four Reboot: Michael B. Jordan Responds to Human Torch Criticism

It’s impossible to cast a comic book movie without fans getting up in arms over who is chosen to embody their beloved characters. If recent reactions to the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in DC’s upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie have taught us anything, it’s that us comic book fans are seriously hard to please. But we’ve known that for a while. Remember the chaos over Heath Ledger?

Unfortunate backlash has now caught up with actor Michael B. Jordan, who is confirmed to play Johnny Storm/The Human Torch in Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot. Once the news of his casting hit the web, fans took to Twitter, Facebook, you name it to lash out at the placement of a black actor in an originally white role. Well, now Jordan has a response.

TMZ recently caught up with Jordan on his way to dinner and asked him for a reaction to the criticism. What does he think about the cynics who are upset that Johnny Storm is going to be black? Said Jordan:

“They’re still going to go see it anyway.”

Jordan appeared unaffected by the suggestion of controversy, and why should he be? He has been having a fantastic year with a powerful performance in the critically praised Fruitvale Station and a role in the romantic comedy That Awkward Moment. Jordan and Trank also have an established working relationship from 2012′s Chronicle. We’ve already argued that Jordan deserves the role. If anything, this is just another sign of the actor’s rising star.

Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot is already taking a variety of steps in a new direction. Since so many of the actors who tested for these roles were younger than previously considered, we assume that the film will take its cues from the Ultimate Fantastic Four comic book continuity. Now that Jordan’s casting has been announced, we don’t yet know how screenwriter Simon Kindburg has set up Johnny and Sue Storm’s sibling backstory, but the idea of adoption is not farfetched.

Ultimate Fantastic Four Movie Cast 2015 570x320 Fantastic Four Reboot: Michael B. Jordan Responds to Human Torch Criticism

‘Ultimate Fantastic Four’ by Mark Millar & Greg Land

Of course, this type of uproar is nothing new. Comic book movies have always had their fair share of casting controversies. For many, Chris Evans was the perfect Johnny Storm, and yet Evans faced his own brand of backlash when it was announced that he would embody Steve Rogers/Captain America. Now that Evans has taken over as another iconic character, The Human Torch is free to be re-envisioned.

But the hostile response to Jordan also touches on the cross-racial casting nerve that many can’t seem to get over. There was uproar when Idris Elba was named as Norse god Heimdall in Thor, when Michael Clarke Duncan was announced as Kingpin in Daredevil, when Laurence Fishburne was cast as Perry White  for Man of Steel and when Jamie Foxx became Electro for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. And let’s not forget Halle Berry as Catwoman. (On second thought, maybe it’s better if we all forget about that Catwoman movie).

This pandemonium is getting old. Can we really call this controversial casting in 2014? Unless a character’s race or ethnicity is essential to the plot of the film, such as in Fruitvale Station or the upcoming Black Panther film, this shouldn’t be such a big deal. When an extremely talented actor is awarded a role in which he could very well be awesome, we shouldn’t adhere to an outdated vision that we might have of the character in our heads. Rather, we should be open to new faces of any color looking to  make their mark on an iconic role.

What do you think of Jordan’s casting and his response? Let us know in the comments.


Fantastic Four is scheduled to hit theaters March 6th, 2015.

Follow Casey on Twitter @CaseyCip

Source: TMZ

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  1. Am I a Marvel fanboy? Yes. Do I show up to all Marvel movies on opening day (even those handled by other studios)? Yes. Do I pay to see Marvel movies a second time later that weekend? Yes. Will I be seeing this warmed over turd? Hell to the naw. Your arrogant comment is only half right Michael B. Jordan – True, fanboys do typically show up to watch it anyway, but in the case of such a horrible casting mistake, along with that piss poor “You’re going to pay me anyway” comment… uhhhhh nope. You wont be getting my 24 dollars, or the 60 you would have gotten from me making my friends go with me to see it. IF i ever watch this crap, it’ll be at home, free. But it’s ok isn’t it Mister Jordan… you’re getting paid regardless. Such an artist, that one.

    • You sound like a whiny child, Joe. I don’t think Jordan meant it that way at all. He didn’t mean “Oh, I’ve already been paid, so suck it.” Rather, he was providing a bit of commentary over the fact that stupid people are mostly complaining of the casting being bad because of the color of his skin, but the complainers will still go see the movie. So you won’t go see Jordan’s movie because of this one comment, but you’re happy to shell out your hard-earned money to make a former drug addict rich? That’s a strange set of ethics you have. Oh … and why is this such a horrible casting mistake? Because the character must be white? Why?

    • I agree. I too am not going to watch it till I get the free dvdrip torrent version. too many good Marvel and DC movies are coming up and I know that I will not die if I don’t watch it on big screen.
      one thing I don’t understand. when fans are questioning about human torch’s casting, it is “racist”. even the writer of this article wrote- “Unless a character’s race or ethnicity is essential to the plot of the film, such as in Fruitvale Station or the upcoming Black Panther film, this shouldn’t be such a big deal”. so it is okay if an African-American actor(no matter how talented he is) plays the character of a human torch or maybe a future Abraham Lincoln or JFK movie. but I am 100% sure it is not vice versa. don’t believe me? read this article again. the writer is already dictating so— “Unless a character’s race or ethnicity is essential to the plot of the film, such as in Fruitvale Station or the upcoming Black Panther film, this shouldn’t be such a big deal.”
      for fans it IS a very big deal. I know that the producers are largely counting on “special effects” driven overseas market even if the fans rejects this movie but I sincerely hope that this movie meets the same fate as the DBZ and GL movie.

    • one more thing. I am waiting for that day when talented oscar winners like Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, etc. will be cast for the roles of Martin Luther King Jr., Michael Jordan, etc. in the name of “artistic” freedom.
      I know that my comment will attract comments like “oh, you can’t change history just like that” or “aw c’mon, human torch is a comic book character for god’s sake”. for such people my answer will be “so is human torch for hard core fans and fans keep these characters alive in the bank accounts of the movie makers and people related to entertainment industry”
      one last thing. am I a big comic book fan? No. do I feel for these fans? yes I do. they are the reason some people are billionaires today and I think they should not be cheated.

      • You do realize that not everyone interprets comic book characters the same way right? Seeing as how they are FICTIONAL characters and not historical icons that actually lived and breathed on this earth. Get off your soapbox with your ridiculous comparisons.

      • JB and Joe. When the hell has the Human Torch ever been as significant as Martin Luther King, or Abraham Lincoln for that matter. Casting for a FICTIONAL character is that important to you that it leaves no freedom of expression and creativity for a person to re-imagine his own version? Why the hell would a black person want to play Adolf Hitler. Why the hell would a White person want to play Dr. Dre. Stay in your lane and your fantasy worlds.

    • You’ll be in line.

  2. Everyone will see this pile of crap!” You can’t say I told you so until you’ve see it!

  3. No I won’t be going to see it. And no it’s not because they recast Johnny as a black man. I just don’t like it when they recast a role. I quit watch the Hulk franchise after they recast the role of Bruce Banner. When you introduce an actor in a role you need to keep him for the franchise. You didn’t see 3 different people playing the role of Bilbo did you?
    If they would have cast Jordan in the role from the start I wouldn’t have a problem at all with him in that role. He’s a very good actor. That being said however I’m getting pretty fed up with the race card being thrown every time someone has a difference of opinion.

    • Just asking, who’s playing the race card?

      • try everybody, demanding black movies win, demanding black james bond, wrecking a 50 year old story like the fan four,blocking streets, marching to destroy capitalism,it’s out of control, pendulum swings both ways

        • We can talk until the end of time about racial issues until the end of time, so let’s stick with the topic at hand shall we? Correct me if I’m wrong, but people, whom presumably are mostly white had a problem with a black man being cast as Johnny Storm. TMZ, a white run organization, ask Mr. Jordan, the black man in question, his thoughts on it. He responded with a simple enough answer and a white woman wrote about it. So whose playing the race card?

          • We can ignore talk about racial issues until the end of time, so let’s stick with the topic you chose shall we? Correct me if I’m wrong, but people, whom presumably are mostly liberal whites had a problem with a white woman asking a question about completely ruining Johnny Storm.you purple haired skinny jeans wearing nerdy fanboys who are risk/argument averse because y’all are such sissies, will continue to back up to those that use white privilege instead of merit to effect hierarchy/standing.So whose playing the race card?

            • i suppose i should have expected that response, when you can’t refute you must distract back to “feeling”? at some point you should at least try to give reason as to why what i said isn’t happening and how i’m paranoid or misreading events, don’t you think? just saying “whoa” or “holy moly” kinda shows your whole premise to be invalid.i would have expected you to counsel me on how we must use affirmative action as whites to help african americans enjoy that which the bigoted whites of the last century have stolen from the people of color community. go ahead, try again.

    • So, by your logic, you will never see any movie reboot in theaters? Tell me, did you go to see any of the Dark Knight movies? Because they certainly recast that role. Or how about Man of Steel? The Amazing Spiderman?

      And for reference, the role of Bruce Banner has only gotten better over each recast. Eric Bana sucked in the first one.

  4. Yeah, I agree, I’m not sure exactly why people are so outraged by a change in race where it is not crucial to the role. Though I must note that I’m Asian, so that probably is a strong influence, as one of my favorite toys growing up was my caucasian GI Joe who represented me in my childhood adventures.

    I loved Jordan’s response, though, it was brilliant.

    Perhaps, and I’m only going by the examples given above, it is because Storm is a lead role and the ones given as examples were all secondary figures. Except for the last one, and perhaps that adds to the angst? Just wait for the reaction if Idris gets named James Bond, if that rumor ever came true.

    This reminds me of a Stan Lee interview a while back, about remaking iconic stories, like he did for DC and their characters for a special series he did, and he loved it, from what I remember, had no problems with change.

    • His race isnt crucial to the story??? His family ispart of the story as his sister is there and his friend is dating here so yes, it is part of the story. Like i said before, there would be riots if liam neeson was ever cast as black panther. they would riot and tear there cities up like usual.

    • And for his “they will see it any ways” comment, yes some will but i will not. I will do every thing i can to pirate this movie. And not just because of the race thing, this movie has done nothing right in casting, story and characters.

  5. hi, lets cast a white man to play luke cage in a upcoming movie and see the reactions.

    this has nothing to do with the skin colour of people, its the fact that you piss allover the history of the character.

    to be honest, im not really upset about it, i just find it somewhat odd. i think people go overboard with their reactions, its not like its end of the world. ill watch the movie and judge it afterwards, who knows, maybe he will do such a good job that it wont even be important.

    • You people and this history of the character bull sh*t. You obviously dont even understand why half these characters are white in the first place. Gabe Jones of the Howling commandos was colored white in the first issue of the comic because producers and artist thought that the writer had made a “mistake”. WTF? Get your comic knowledge up you peon. Sue and Johnny storm are practically lucky pieces of white trash anyway. How’s that for history…

      • Seriously? Wow, such racist comments eschewing racism only proves you are a prolific racist. As for Johnny Storm being white or black, are you kidding me? I own a Volume 1, No. 1 copy of the original Human Torch story and cannot see Johnny Storm as being anything other than Sue Storm’s biological, blood brother (and I’ll bet you thought I was going to say “white”). If they wanted to make him asian or hispanic or black, then sue should also be the same. What would have made the story much more interesting would have been if the stupid director would have made Reed, Mr. Fantastic, black but left Sue and Johnny white. Then, you could have had a mixed relationship with the potential for brown babies. Or, if you wanted to change the race of Sue and Johnny, they could have been Israeli or Indian; wouldn’t that have made for an interesting back story? But no, the jerkwad had to go and mess with Johnny Storm. What a mook! I hope this flik crashes and burns on the editing floor before it ever gets out to the world, because that’s what this transmogrification deserves – to fail and fail miserably!

  6. A black Mr. Fantastic Reed Richards would come off like Steven Urkel. However, I would love to see Rashida Jones cast As the The Invisible Woman Sue Storm! She’s super hot! She a great actress! And, I’m getting sick of seeing Zoe Salandra cast in every part for a black woman!

  7. As long as Johnny storm and sue storm are brother and sister I couldn’t care if they were martians. It’s a good move and the series sure could use the jump start. I just wondered how they’d do it black & white… never thought interracial family… LOL.. so works for me.

  8. Wow! the racism is thick. Why can’t a black man play these roles for real? I can understand a answer like how was given above. Unless the role specifically calls for a certain ethnicity because of demographic location. Wait a min. Black people are the ones who should be getting upset. Look at all the biblical movies made with white actors playing the roles of characters that anyone with intellect, who really researches the bible, can see that the people whom are the main characters in those roles are a black people. Moses was a black man. Jesus was a black man. All the characters in the bible with exception to Esau, the one who came out red, are black people. But, do the masses black people (Negroes) Not africans, boycott those movies? The answer is a big No. They still watch those movies despite white America’s insistence on portraying those characters as white. SMH at the racism but, those making thier remarks will go to the grave with their true racist feelings before admitting that that’s really what it is.

    • Are you joking? Have you ever seen a person from Israel? They’re not black! Christ and Moses looked like everybody else from the middle east not everybody from Compton. If you read the comments most people are more upset because Sue is white and Johny is black. Yes we know siblings can be ethnically diverse. However, this complicates the story line unnecessarily. I would love to see Rashida Jones cast as Sue Storm. However, only her clothes should be invisible!

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