In case you missed the requisite drama and outrage, comic book fans freaked when “Fruitvale Station” actor Michael B. Jordan landed the part of the Human Torch because the original character, Johnny Storm, is Caucasian and Jordan is African American. In the comics he is also the brother of Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman, and so how does that work? It doesn’t really matter, fans were just angered that 20th Century Fox and director Josh Trank changed the race of the original character.
Jordan has stayed mostly silent about the backlash until now in an Entertainment Weekly article where he’s basically said to the haters, come at me, bro.
“You’re not supposed to go on the Internet when you’re cast as a superhero,” he said in his open later. “But after taking on Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four—a character originally written with blond hair and blue eyes—I wanted to check the pulse out there. I didn’t want to be ignorant about what people were saying. Turns out this is what they were saying: ‘A black guy? I don’t like it. They must be doing it because Obama’s president’ and ‘It’s not true to the comic.’ Or even, ‘They’ve destroyed it!'”
In his long response, which you should read in full, Jordan essentially said, bring on the hate, I’ll bear that burden. Here’s a longer excerpt.
“Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, “I’ll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I’ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations.” I put that responsibility on myself. People are always going to see each other in terms of race, but maybe in the future we won’t talk about it as much. Maybe, if I set an example, Hollywood will start considering more people of color in other prominent roles, and maybe we can reach the people who are stuck in the mindset that “it has to be true to the comic book.” Or maybe we have to reach past them.
To the trolls on the Internet, I want to say: Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it.”
Good on’ em. Meanwhile new “Fantastic Four” materials have arrived. We’ve got a few new promo images and posters, a promo reel that shows off the characters powers, and a new international trailer that features fresh footage. “Fantastic Four” lands in theaters August 7. Watch the new clips below.