‘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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    • You do realize Black Panther is from Africa and while there are light-skinned people from Africa to say that you want a white actor to play him just because a black person is playing the human torch is a bit silly don’t you think?

      • No he’s making a point.

        • A white guy cast as black panther is more akin to casting a black guy to play robert e lee. Whiteness isn’t intrinsically linked to the character, Unless Johnny storms real power is white power.. But being he’s a flaming play boy, I can’t see the issue.

      • Actually there are white Africans and according to wiki they total about 9.2% of South Africa. So if we’re going on the basis that the Black Panther was just from Africa, then a white African could very well play the role.

        • 9.2% really? That’s barely an argument…

          • I’m not saying you can take a white actor and put him in that role because it’s more then him being from Africa. If it was just the matter of him being African then you could because there are white Africans and that was my argument.

          • According to 2012 US Census info, Black or African American is at approximately 13% in the US…. is that really that far off of the 9.2% to invalidate Joseph’s statement?

            • Ok lets be more speciifc. Hes the king of Wakanda, who are all black and outsiders are not allowed.

          • Theres 2% black astonaunts, I think we have a stronger argument to make Black Panther a white guy than you do to make Human Torch black with those numbers. Thanks Josh. (=

        • well said mate!

      • There are white people in Africa.

      • I know about 10 people that were born and raised in Africa. And are white. Just because someone is from a particular continent does not make them a certain color/race. Dale’s request is reasonable.

    • The specificity of Black Panther is the fact that he is the first black superhero. That’s the point.

    • How about we cast a white dude to play Luke cage or the falcon and see what happens then.

  1. The only thing I have to say is “who cares?” because honestly, if he suits the role, why not? They made Yinsen a Middle Eastern man in Iron Man instead of his traditional Chinese but nobody seemed to care and rightfully so.

    He’s right though, the people complaining the loudest will be the first in line to see it. Meanwhile, people like me who are championing the casting choices and decision to go with the Ultimate version of the team are still on the fence and hell, I’ve never really liked the FF as characters.

    I find it kind of sad that he gets stopped to be asked such a ridiculous question while he’s having some personal time though. Never understood why people do that.

    • +1

      Really not sure why people are so butt hurt about this casting

      • Idk about everybody else, but for me, it’s not that he’s a black actor, it’s the fact that the characters of Johnny Storm and Sue Storm are brother and sister. The argument that “they can be adopted” or “there are multiracial families where siblings are different colors” doesn’t cut for me. I’d have no problem with Ben being black, as I had no problem with Perry White or Heimdal (?) being cast as black actors. I think the fact they are changing the character’s core background is a problem to me. But anyways, they seem to be changing a lot more than just that, so I guess myself and everybody else got to accept it and make a choice to either go see it or skip it. I will wait until a trailer to see how things go with this movie, but I am not holding my breath much with so many changes.

        • why doesn’t “adoption” or “product of a bi-racial family”, “cut it” [sorry obut all the quotation marks] for you? what do you find so objectionable about it? johnny storm is a womanizing, arrogant @$$h0le. those are not “whites only” traits. i have known people like that, of a few different ethnic backgrounds. im my opinion, the argument that ” he was drawn white originally, therefore…” is not a valid reason, and your thoughts on the aforementioned perry white, and heimdall show that you seem to be somewhat progressive, but on F4, this is a deal breaker? ludicrous, preposterous, outrageous!

          • It’s simply the way I feel about it. It will change his dynamic with his “sister”. I’d prefer they had cast an african american to play Ben. Johnny’s “traits” pointed out by you, I’m sure the actor can excel in them, as in Chronicle he was pretty close to that. Perhaps they should’ve cast an african american actress to play Sue? But then again, they are changing the whole backstory of all characters, look at how young Reed is. So perhaps I shouldn’t care much, but since I’m entitled to my own opinion, that’s what I think. If you’re not happy about it, it’s all good. In the end, the movie will be made however they want to make it, and however is not happy with it (myself and many others), will have to make a decision to go see or skip it altogether. I haven’t discarded this movie yet, to be honest, I’m waiting to see if one piece of rumor is true or not, as so far, most rumors turned out to be true. But the next one, will be a deal breaker to me.
            FLAME ON! :)

    • That’s racist to non humans. ;)

      Or should that be speciesist!???

      • lmao!

  2. Better casting than some other recent super hero movie announcements.

    • You don’t like Michael Douglas as Hank Pym? How come?

      • An actor western European descent playing a character of eastern European Descent? Don’t even get me started about being descended from Spartacus as apposed to a traditional american family…

  3. I think it is controversial because of this: you want a black guy to play Johnny Storm? No biggie, but follow the story and make his sister black as well. What there’s only room for one black character? I just don’t get it, it does interfere with the story. I understand adoption could be assumed but any way you look at it, this was done to cause controversy which is synonymous with publicity.

    • an adapted sister maybe? But I definitely agree if it means revamping the whole family tree to jam a token colour character, its a step too far

      • This is a bold move by the director. Generlly fans don’t care too much when the race of a secondary charater is changed but fans can get upset when the race of a primary character is changed.

        As long as the movie is great and totally entertaining, people will forget about the changing of the race of this character and will not care. The movie needs to be a major succes though.

        The Fantastic Four came out in the comics in the 1960′s. The writers of those comic books were catering to a different audience than today’s cosmopolitan society. Unlike the X-Men who introduced racial diversity to their team in the 1970′s -by bringing in such members as Storm (African), Thunderbird (Native American), Sunfire (Japanese), and Banshee (Irish)- the Fantastic Four (because it is a family) has been unable to permanently ajust its membership to reflect racial diversity.

        Obviously modern directors want to reflect the diverity of our society in their movies because they want everyone to see their movies.

  4. They couldn’t cast Sue as Black to make them biological siblings?

    • They could be bi-ratial siblings. One parent is black; the other is white. They could use make-up to ever-so-slightly lighten Michael’s complection and they could similarly use make-up to ever-so-slightly darken the actress’ (I think its Kate O’mara) compection.

      • They tried using make up to ever-so-slightly make Jessica Alba white, and that didn’t work out very well. I agree with above post, change Sue to a black woman, there are plenty that great actresses and look great! Btw, the new Sue Storm is played by Kate Mara, pretty close! :)

  5. i really don’t car that he is black what does bother me is that the sister brother fact what he will be adopted or she no if they cast a black actor for storm then you cast a black actress for sue

  6. Why couldn’t they cast him as Reed Richard’s. Seems the whole race issue stems from the brother-sister dynamic. Idk, why does the black guy have to be the “hot-head” why can’t he be the smartest guy? Otherwise, meh reconstituted family or via adoption its easy to explain.

  7. i meant torch not storm

  8. They’re going with the ultimate version of the FF by all account, I think Jordan’s inclusion in the cast will be the least of people’s frustration with the movie since the ultimate FF is not like the classic 616 originals and lets face it, when people think about FF that’s the image they have in their heads. Otherwise, this is another one if those issues that only the internet fans care about. Gen audiences certainly wont care when they see jordan in screen.

  9. Honestly because he just said we’d see it anyway I’m determined not to see it. Didn’t see the other fantastic four films, no big loss to not see this

    • TRUTH! He obviously doesn’t value his fans, just the paycheck.

      • You guys are totally gonna see it.

      • His answer could have been better. He needs coaching on how to deal with the press. He’s young. He might even be a bit arrogant. Or maybe he was out on a date or with a friend and he really wasn’t thinking straight when he answered that question.

        • Yeah, I don’t like the idea of a really cocky, arrogant guy playing Johnny Storm.

          • Ha!

          • Every time I want to kill the internet I see a comment like this one and it reminds me why I wade through the garbage.

            Or, in ScreenRant-ese…


            • I can’t believe people keep saying cocky and arrogant as if that was all that made up Johnny Storm, anyone can be cocky and arrogant, the point is they haven’t met any of the physical attributes aside from being human, if they compared a headshot of The Human Torch(pre-flame)next to Michael B Jordan you’d suddenly have to admit you’re being really, really, bull-headed supporting this so vehemently.

      • If he’s being asked about people who are complaining about his casting, then I don’t think he’s talking about HIS fans. What’s he supposed to do – apologize? This is a comic book movie. None of us is owed an apology, or even an explanation. And he’s probably right – most of the people complaining are going to see it anyway.

        • @gebrown3226 Explain that to me…someone can’t be a fan of Michael B Jordan and not like this casting, that’s ridiculous, I like Michael B Jordan but he is a poor fit for this role, period.

          • And coming from a person who saw both in the movie theater I will not pay a dime to see this, it’s disrespectful to the source, you can bet Johnny Storm isn’t a black dude in the ultimate version either, they only chose that because they know it’s a bad offshoot of the original with very few sales figures that’s already been cancelled and many widely dismiss as terrible anyway. Skip lol

    • @ether02 Have you seen All Hail The King, it appears they may be rectifying that some…I liked where it was going.

  10. I will rent this at the redbox for $1.20 because either way fox is trying to bleed money out
    Of their floundering marvel brand and screenrant trying to sell us these on the cheap no name

    • “Cheap no name actors”? In what world is Michael B. Jordan a cheap no name actor? Just because you’ve never heard of him doesn’t mean plenty of other people haven’t as well. He was incredible in “Fruitvale Station”. Really great on both “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood”. And let’s not forget about “Chronical”. He was fantastic in that as well. I applaud Fox (never thought I’d say that) for casting one of the most talented and fastest rising stars in Hollywood, race be damned. It’s just like in the NBA Draft. A team is far better off when they draft the best player available instead of taking a lesser talent just to fill some perceived specific need.

  11. Well your wrong! I won’t be seeing this movie! Admittedly It’s not so much his fault as the studio. If he was going to play the human torch in a Marvel (Disney) FF movie, then I’d probably watch it, but Fox hasn’t made a single ‘Marvel’ movie that I’ve liked ………… ……well maybe Ghost rider.

    • Ghost Rider was Sony.

      • Then we’re good =)

  12. After reading most of the comments and the article, the most racial driven part of the whole thing are the implications of the article. It so trendy now to drum up attention and hits with the controversy. But the actual comments from people seem to support Michael B. Jordan the actor, but question the casting for numerous different reasons. For me, I like the idea of him as Mr. Fantastic. He definitely has the presence to play the smartest person in any situation, like RDJ did with Tony Stark. I just wish creating conflict wasn’t so appealing to those with an audience.

  13. On the brighter side, if this reboot flops the F4 movie rights will return to Marvel Studios.
    Then we’ll get to see F4 and Avengers characters in the same movie screen.
    A fan can still dream.

    • Of the three franchises not controlled by Disney, FF is the one that would best fit in the MCU. I would love to see Galactus face more than four people.

  14. The last thing I need from Michael B. Jordan is arrogance and cockiness! I mean how dismissive of fans can you be? I would’ve been more receptive towards him had he responded more maturely like

    “I understand fans are concerned, but I ask them to be open to this interpretation of the character. I hope to do it justice”

    As a Black man myself, I really hate it when Hollywood only casts from a tiny group of Black actors as if they are they only guys who can act. Michael B. Jordan needs to improve his resume before he starts acting like a cocky jerk.

    • Ironically, arrogance and cockiness define the human torch. You come off like Stephen from django, who cares if you’re black. Have you not seen fruitvale station or chronicle. I’m sure MBJ will take your needs, and those of the ignorant internet thugs under advisement. He’ll do just fine, and we’ll all go see the movie.

      • Fruitvale and Chronicle do not qualify him to fill a white icons’ role. I’d be just as aggravated as Black Panther played by a white dude. I love Black Panther, just as he is, most of us do I’m certain, were only trying to illustrate the point, they didn’t even try to get someone who fit the character description.

  15. The whole casting of the entire FF is bad. What kind of movie are they making here. Also, you guys who are defending the casting choice for Johnny Storm are rather naive. But what you guys fail to realize, and many African Americans are quite sick of it, is the casting of a black actor in a white role, solely for the purpose of appeasing black people. Which of you fake a$$es has the b@lls to agree? I can read right through most of your comments and your full of $hit. You’re just as mad about the casting as anybody. Not just Human Torch but the whole team. People need to stop being so afraid off speaking their mind. But just disagreeing with someone is offensive these days. On top of that, a lot of the rules on these forums are pretty pu$$yfied. God forbid we hurt anyone’s feelings. By the way, is it okay to say…God? Smh…

    • Thank u for your comment friend! i find important to say that i’m black before i go any further. actuually i really hate when they change comic book stories just to attract more people to the theater! it’s really disrespectfull to those (good ol’ comic readers) who made their money in the first place and to those who wrote the stories! for example i wasn’t happy at all when Heimdal was played by Idris Elba or when Algrim was played by Adewale. the same goes for the Mandarin in Iron Man 3! they just changed the very fabric of the stories just because they find it convenient! They are giving a daughter to Hank Pym in Ant-man just to add a love interest!! some people say they agree with the cast of jordan as Torch because his personnality fits the role! let’s be frank here! i Know a couple of black actors who could play James Bond but i don’t see that happening anyhow! and according to rumors, Doctor domm (who i grew up reading about) is about to be played by a woman.. this is just going too far! don’t change stories who some people trully hold dear as a part of their culture just to court others who just don’t care! I mean why Harry Potter wasn’t cast as korean then??

      • lmao, the power of internet anonymity. Another Stephen from Django sounding, so-called “black” person against MBJ playing the human torch…right.

        • I don’t think it’s fair when someone doesn’t agree with this casting they are either racists or uncle toms, stop, you’re the racist, that kinda talk has no place in this argument.

    • Exactly !!! Couldn’t have said it better myself. Micheal B Jordan is being used like the puppet he is. I hope the film flops big time. And you’re right…some people on here are afraid to speak their minds. This whole issue has nothing to do with being racist.
      I agree…racism is still here today, but white people who complain of the casting is justified in it…as well as the blacks ( myself) who hate this race switching card the studio is playing just to bring the demographic.
      But hey…the first 2 Fantastic Four films was directed by an an African american. You saw him stick to the source material 90% of the time. Of course the blind chick was cast as African american when her comic book counterpart is white.

      • +1

        Could not agree more sir.

    • Iam a latino and i never cared for a mexican susan storm in jessica alba. Jordan,
      Jamie fox,affleck,eisenberg,etc are all talented but the roles don’t fit and i dont care if
      an actor deserves the role. Get the marvel character right. YEP has best comment of
      this tread! Hope this movie tanks ugly so the FF can go back to MCU.

      • The problem with jessica alba as sue was they turned her into a blonde blue eyed women. It was distracting and stupid.

  16. i think it’s the studio that is actually casting him just to create a buzz, any buzz because this franchise was dead in the water.

    maybe he did say what he did, but when you get bum rushed by camera on your personal time some people aren’t prepared (he could be shy, drunk etc…), it’s the first thing coming out your mouth. TMZ has been catching people off guard and running with it, how many times have you spit something out your mouth and looking back at it you realize it was wrong.

    i could care less what colour Johnny Storm is, it doesn’t define his character

  17. my issue isnt so much that they cast a non white actor for a white character, it is more that they always choose a black actor. never asian, latino, etc. these casting decisions dont ever seem to be the result of a stellar audition in which an actor outside the description blows the others out of the water. It always feels like just casting a random black actor to fill the demographic.

  18. I dont really like his response, he should just tell people his relationship to sue or how they are doing this new take, I mean this characters been around forever, fans kinda deserve an explanation of a change of a characters established race and relation, not a slap in the face.

  19. Can we really call this controversial casting in 2014? Unless a character’s race or ethnicity is essential to the plot of the film

    Well it might be considering that he has a white sister. I just want to know how they are going to explain it is all. Maybe they won’t be siblings? Ok fine I don’t have a problem having a black Human Torch.

  20. I’m fine with this, but if they have Sue as a white actor then you’ve lost me again. They’re brother and sister. Unless you’re doing some weird adoption thing in the back story, I’m hoping they won’t screw up this major detail of them being siblings.

  21. People, please…

    Batman is still white.

    Calm your britches.

  22. I have no problem whatsoever with the Michael B Jordan casting. He’s a phenomenal actor who will do the character justice. And the skin color of Johnny Storm is irrelevant. The hot head playboy character is perfect for Jordan. He wasn’t cast because he’s black but because he’s perfect for the role. Go watch Chronicle. Sit back and enjoy the show. I sure will opening night!

    • Stop…he was cast because of Josh Trank, there’s no other real reason, let’s be honest.

  23. I am more offended that FF4 will be linked to this horrible Xmen franchise.

  24. My personal view is that I don’t care what ethnicity the actor is. Hell I wouldn’t care if they had a black Superman as long as the film kicks ass. But I do believe that it’s disrespectful to the artists that originally conceived these characters to change a key component of the characters identity.

    • What if the artists themselves don’t care? Here’s what Stan Lee had to say during the whole Donald-Glover-as-Spider-Man furore:

      “As far as I’m concerned … anybody should have a chance to audition for the role. I certainly think he should have a chance to audition… I don’t ever want to make it sound like I’m trying in any way to influence the Marvel people as to who to cast in any roles. That isn’t my job. It isn’t in my purview. It’s something I should butt out of and I try to butt out of it — just like I don’t tell them what to do with the movie.”

      • But, Michael B Jordan didn’t win the role did he, he was handed it, not only that, he had no competition for the role, this is not how casting calls go unless they are ideal for the role, especially with a visual history opposite that of the canidate.

  25. This is going to be AWESOME!!! FACKK the haterz!!!

  26. I just hope the film flops and the rights can resort back to Marvel so they can use the Surfer and Galactus… The original FF and FF2 films sucked and hopefully this will follow suit. I’ll never get over the horrible use of Doom, the Silver Surfer, and the lame Galactus Swarm…

    • Even if the film flops, Fox still keeps the rights so long as they continue making films. You need to hope that it’ll be bad enough that they’ll make more by selling it back.

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