It’s strange that as mainstream as superhero movies have become, fandom’s most outrageous and niche voices still manage to be heard. And so, the casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch in “Fantastic Four” became a “controversy” to those who couldn’t wrap their minds around a fictional character, who has been largely unchanged on the page for decades, being presented with a different skin tone. But director Josh Trank defends his decision (not that he should have to) and argues that the property could use some shaking up.
“I get it I have a lot of friends who are older than me who are comic fans and it’s really hard for them to be on board with a change like that. ‘Fantastic Four’ has been theirs for longer than I’ve been alive. It hasn’t been mine,” he told LA Times. “It only speaks to the greatness of any story that has been told for decades or centuries that people still want to tell that story. But you can’t just keep telling it the same way over and over again. And I think it only helps the world to be more honest with young kids, to show them the world that they go walk outside and see.”
Meanwhile, Jamie Bell as The Thing has also caused some consternation among those who wanted a physically big actor in the part, but producer Simon Kinberg explains the reasoning behind that move. “The change of Jamie as Ben being a smaller guy instead of a bigger guy, for example, was for a purpose,” he said. “It’s more dramatic when that character becomes a huge rock creature – that’s a bigger transformation. The notion of a working-class tough guy who’s been pushed around by his bigger brothers his whole life seemed like a more interesting character than the guy who started as a football player and just ended up being 4 inches taller.”
Clearly, both Trank and Kinberg are aware of the scrutiny they are under, and on August 7th we’ll see what the rebooted “Fantastic Four” really has in store.