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Turmoil as Michael B Jordan Given Role of Johnny Blaze in Fantastic Four Reboot

Written by Lamar Fergus-Palmer
03.03.14


Michael B Jordan is Johnny Blaze in Fantastic Four Reboot.

MICHAEL-B-JORDAN_HUMAN-TORCH_JOHNNY-STORM_FANTASTIC-FOUR_It’s a story that has continued to rumble on since it was announced, and one that has caused uproar among die-hard comic book, superhero movie fanatics.

The news that has caused controversy is that Michael B Jordan, previously known for his roles as Wallace on The Wire, Alex in Parenthood and Steve Montgomery in the 2012 supernatural movie Chronicles has been handed the role of Johnny Blaze (aka the Human Torch) in the Fantastic Four reboot, which is due to be released in 2015.Fantastic-Four-marvel-comics-5205641-1280-960-650x400

But what has caused the uproar? Is it that because up until this point Michael B Jordan hasn’t had many film roles? Is it that he’s only 27? No, what’s causing an issue among die hard comic book fans is that Michael B Jordon is African-American, and Johnny Blaze (The Human Torch) has always been played by white actors he is also white in the comic books.

So with the above in mind, is an African-American actor cast into a role that was previously seen as a Caucasian role, good news or bad news for the fans of the comic books?

Should the race of the Human Torch matter at all? White, Black, Asian, Hispanic; well I don’t think it should matter at all, after all isn’t this all fiction – in the world of fiction anything can happen cant it?

What’s the real issue for fans?

Die-hard fans of the F4 series are arguing the following:

·         The Human Torch has always been a white character, so why change now?

·         Audiences might be confused by the change.

·         But the ‘main’ point that is being argued; is that with a black Johnny Blaze, you cannot have a fantastic-FF-18R_fwhite Sue Storm (who has already been cast as Kate Mara in the new reboot, a white actress) as the two are historically brother and sister.

Of course, the counter-argument to all the above points is:

·         Many films have made the same change without any issues. For instance, Heimdall, the fictional character, based on the Norse god Heimdallr has been portrayed stoically excellently by Idris Elba in the Thor movies.

·         Furthermore, the family argument makes it sound like there isn’t a mixed-race family in existence? There has never been white & black twins born to the same mother, it’s just impossible by any means. Even more so when you take into account that the film is about four people who go into space and gain superhuman abilities, isn’t everything possible!

Therefore, when logic is applied to the arguments, the change should cause no issues at all. However, that would be far too simple for some.

On the other side of the coin…black super hero fans have finally seen….

The rise of black characters as superheroes and the transformation of original black comic book heroes onto the big screen in recent years.

There have been a number of previously white roles cast to black superheroes over the past few years.

Samuel L Jackson portrays Nick Fury brilliantly.
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Don Cheadle has a lead role in Ironman. In fact, for a short time in Ironman 2, he wore the suit and engaged in the action. Anthony Mackie is soon to be seen as Falcon, the sidekick to Captain America in the new Winter Soldier movie due for release on 28th March 2014. Perry White is played brilliantly by Laurence Fishburne in the Superman reboot.

Last but not least, Jamie Foxx spider-man-2-electrowill be Max Dillon/Electro in the new Spiderman 2 reboot, which is due to be released in April 2014.

Even with the above characters and several others, many comic book and superhero film fans are arguing that there are still; not enough black characters in superhero/comic book adaptations on the big screen.

Ultimately, with any movie role, not just in this genre, colour shouldn’t be a controlling factor. Still we understand that black superhero fans may not be too happy to see the Black Panther cast as a Caucasian superhero, but with all the recent changes could black comic-book fans still complain – probably!

As with any film role it should always be that the man or woman cast into a role; should be the person best suited to play that role as chosen by casting, regardless of their race.

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This is why there is no doubt in our minds (at Kush Films) that Michael B Jordan will make a fantastic Human Torch, and hopefully he will spur on a new generation of black superhero movie characters for the future.

We here they are looking at making a movie version of the Black Panther, which has been discussed for a number of years and hopefully it will happen sooner rather than later.

 

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Anthony Mackie as Falcon