Michael B. Jordan dazzled moviegoers with his gripping performance in this year’s Fruitvale Station. Now, the rising star has reportedly been tapped to play Johnny Storm, AKA the Human Torch, in a reboot of Marvel’s Fantastic Four franchise.
Josh Trank will be in the chair for the superhero film, and Jordan is a familiar name to the director. Trank directed Jordan in 2012’s sci-fi thriller, Chronicle, with rumors buzzing about for months that the pair would reconnect.
There hasn’t been an official word, but several outlets say trusted sources are all but confirming the news. While this is certainly a festive time for Jordan, it appears that the online reaction hasn’t been as friendly.
In the past Fantastic Four films, Johnny Storm was played by Chris Evans. According to an opinion piece from TheGrio, fans have unleashed racist barbs towards Jordan for taking on the role of the traditionally white character.
Now the bad news: The decision is arguably the most controversial since…Ben Affleck managed to snag the plum role of Batman (that’ll have to be a subject for another article). This being the Internet age, the predictable backlash – much of it racial in nature –- has hit message boards and social networks criticizing the move. Ignorance, after all, rarely misses an opportunity to make its presence known.
Bigots are akin to a screaming child in the grocery store, and really should be treated as such. They’re best ignored until their tantrums exhaust themselves. With that said, does it matter that one the most recognizable characters in the comic pantheon is re-imagined as black instead of white?
Marvel Studios has taken great leaps already with longstanding characters and story developments, much to the dismay of old-school fanboys who want the source material unscathed. For the most part, fans have embraced the changes that signal not only the diversity of the world, but among comic fans as well..
If there are any doubts of Jordan’s physical acting ability, he played a football player in NBC’s popular sports drama, Friday Night Lights and in Chronicle, he also played a high school athlete.
The Fantastic Four is slated for a 2015 release.