Michael B. Jordan’s Response To Critics Of His Human Torch Is Perfect


It certainly hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice that Michael B. Jordan doesn’t look a whole lot like the Johnny Storm fans are accustomed to from the pages of Marvel Comics.

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When some fans took to the internet to protest his casting as the Human Torch, Jordan could have just stayed away from it. There’s not much to be gained from engaging with trolls, but since he was also busy trying to make his character as memorable as possible for a new version of Fantastic Four that has a lot to prove in general, you could hardly blame the 28-year-old actor if he wanted to ignore all the conversation altogether.

Instead, he decided to check out what everyone was saying, undoubtedly knowing that a portion of the audience was going to be up in arms. This week, Jordan got a chance to react to what he saw for Entertainment Weekly.

His response was pretty much perfect. First, he tackled the idea that the world has changed Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first breathed life into the Fantastic Four more than 50 years ago.

"It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore. 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?"

Jordan also figured that if he absorbed some of the hate/blame for this casting choice now, he could help be part of the process where the race of an actor picked for any comic book movie role isn’t as big of a deal down the road.

"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."

It’s an interesting discussion, one too long to really dive into here, because even after taking race out of the equation, we comic book fans do have a tendency to consider appearance when considering our dream casting for super hero movies. To name one obvious example, Robert Downey Jr. does an awesome job making Tony Stark into a character we recognize from the source material not only because he’s a great actor, but also because it was pretty simple for Marvel to make him look like our preconceived notion of Tony’s print depiction.

Still, there’s no reason all super hero movies need to think that way, especially one like Fantastic Four that is attempting to reboot a franchise and create something new. With that in mind, Jordan’s response to critics was both thoughtful and measured, an impressive achievement for someone at the center of any casting controversy.

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