Michael B. Jordan’s responses to criticism of being Black Human Torch


Recently, there were a lot controversy when it was first announced that Michael B. Jordan would be joining the cast of the new Fantastic Four as Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch. The announcement was met with a mixed reaction by fans who knew Jordan’s work and were completely for it and then there were fans who just down right hated it. Many fans complained that since the Johnny Storm character was white for the longest time in the comic books, dating back to 1961, the studio and director Josh Trank had no right to change the character’s ethnicity now.

Recently Michael posted an open letter on Entertainment Weekly about he harsh criticism and backlash he had seen on the internet for his role as The Human Torch.

You’re not supposed to go on the Internet when you’re cast as a superhero. 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!”

Michael B. Jordan reveals in the letter that Stan Lee was aware that the film would change the ethnicity of Johnny Storm and the Marvel godfather was completely fine with it.

I can see everybody’s perspective, and I know I can’t ask the audience to forget 50 years of comic books. But the world is a little more diverse in 2015 than when the Fantastic Four comic first came out in 1961. Plus, if Stan Lee writes an email to my director saying, “You’re good. I’m okay with this,” who am I to go against that?

DF-05150 Johnny Storm's (Michael B. Jordan) new powers have scientists searching for answers. Photo credit: Ben Rothstein.

Jordan says he was cast as Johnny so that the Storm family would reflect what a modern family would look like today, but at the end of the day the film is about friendship and the team of the Fantastic Four as a whole.

Some people may look at my casting as political correctness or an attempt to meet a racial quota, or as part of the year of “Black Film.” Or they could look at it as a creative choice by the director, Josh Trank, who is in an interracial relationship himself—a reflection of what a modern family looks like today.

This is a family movie about four friends—two of whom are myself and Kate Mara as my adopted sister—who are brought together by a series of unfortunate events to create unity and a team. That’s the message of the movie, if people can just allow themselves to see it.

Michael ended the letter with one last statement that was specifically directed at the internet trolls of the world. Asking them to go outside and take a look around them before criticizing a casting choice because its not “true to the comics.”

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.

What do you think of Michael B. Jordan’s comments? Leave a comment in the section below.

Fantastic Four hits theaters on August 7th.

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