For those of you just dying to say “I told you so…”
Variety has reported that Miles Teller, Jamie Bell and Kate Mara will join Michael B. Jordan in Fox’s upcoming remake of The Fantastic Four.
Recall that Jordan had been rumored for months to be cast in the film as Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch, which led to a huge debate on many sites, including this one, about color-blind casting and whether it makes sense to change the race of a comic book character for a movie adaptation.
Recall also that the bigger question was about the role of Johnny Storm’s sister, as the two appear in the original Marvel comics as blonde and blue-eyed biological siblings. When Jessica Alba appeared as Sue Storm in the 2005 and 2007 movies, she donned a blonde wig and blue contacts in order to play sister to Chris Evans.
Mara, who’s now set to play Sue, has been best known lately for her role as Zoe Barnes on Netflix’s House of Cards. There’s no word yet on what the exact story between the interracial siblings will be, though we can only guess that a step-sibling, adoption or blended family scenario will be written in.
There are a few points of note here. This cast can be seen as progress in the sense of a blended/interracial family getting representation in a major franchise, not to mention the casting of a black superhero. A more cynical theory would be that this casting isolates Jordan as the only face of color in the four, and since there’s been such backlash against his casting to date, if the movie fails in any way it could easily be pinned on him.
Also, when we had the discussion on this site a few months ago, there was an overwhelming response of, “You don’t really believe that there will be two black superheroes cast in this film, do you?”
Perhaps not. Still, it would be irresponsible not to raise the question, especially on a site that discusses cinema of the African Diaspora. Especially now, in a country that claims, ever so insistently, to be “post-racial.”
In light of our ongoing conversations about black cinema, and even Nijla’s thoughtful post from earlier today on the desire to see two black faces together in a romantic drama, I’d argue that it’s always reasonable, always rational, to keep calling, working and pushing for more black faces on screen. Even together, in the same tentpole film. Even as superheroes.