We did this once back when Donald Glover’s name was (not seriously, then seriously) thrown around for the Spider-Man reboot, and The Wrap has broken out with a rumor that may ignite it all again.
The news: Josh Trank is reported to be considering his Chronicle star Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm in his Fantastic Four reboot. The star began on shows like The Wire, The Assistants, and Friday Night Lights before his path into movies blossomed with roles in the aforementioned Chronicle as well as Red Tails and Fruitvale Station (his most well-regarded performance). He’s a charismatic young actor with a good relationship with the director- all things being equal he’s an entirely likely choice.
Dude’s black though, so here it comes with the broad range of hyper detail-focused nerdery all the way too completely unsubtle racism that crops up when the possibility of a race-swapped character looms. Johnny Storm doesn’t really qualify as a character whose race (white dude) is somehow key to any of his innate qualities, so there’s no real nit to pick here. And I have to say, looking at, say, Iron Man 3 coming at this weekend, those fanboys fixated on the basic nature of comic characters remaining static have much bigger things to settle themselves with ahead.
It might be helpful for some folks to remember that every superhero we’ve ever read (or, say, Shakespeare play we’ve ever seen) has represented a discrete interpretation of a blob of characteristics that represent a “character” with one degree of specificity or another. Even if there is a comic somewhere that has Johnny Storm’s white heritage being key to some thing, that doesn’t bind every interpretation of that character forevermore. This is to say that even those that are simply concerned with hyper fidelity have no ground to stand on here- unless you think Jordan is a shitty actor, of course. With him so early in his career though, I doubt that’s a conclusion many people have reached with any passion at this point.
The interesting twist that comes with this is that casting Jordan would suggest (though not 100% necessitate) that Sue Storm would suddenly be a role open to a new swath of actresses that would not otherwise have been in contention. Sound fun!
It’s dangerous to prompt opinions on this one, but I do want to hear Chewer thoughts on the possible choice of Jordan as the Human Torch. A fan of the guy’s work? Think he can run around and be coated in CGI flames as well as Chris Evans did?
Oh, and don’t forget to read Devin Faraci’s great editorial on the subject here on CHUD, circa-the Donald Glover controversy.