May 02, 2013

New movie Human Torch in Fantastic Four to be a black guy?

So say the rumors. Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle and Friday Night Lights) is in the running. To which comics guy Ron Marz makes yet another interesting Tweet:

Well duh, Ron. Maybe that's because the African-American Nick Fury was already well established in comics continuity before the latest crop of Marvel films came out (that featured the character). Marvel's popular Ultimate Universe is where the Samuel L. Jackson-based character began -- over a decade ago at the turn of the milennium.

On the other hand, where has there been a black Human Torch/Johnny Storm in comics? I haven't bought a new book in some time, but I keep up with what is going on regularly. I don't recall ever seeing an African-American Torch. Spinoff's article author Steve Sunu indicates same. Such a deviation certainly doesn't mean the reboot FF film won't be successful; however, it could be problematic if there's a decent amount of concentration on the team's origin. Maybe one way around that is to make Sue and Johnny half-siblings, or one adopted. That sounds easy enough. And a new FF film, however altered, certainly can't be much worse than the original two!

That all said, why the change in the first place? Is this just another example of needless political correctness for the sake of ... political correctness?

UPDATE: The ultra-PC creator Gail Simone chimes in with her "coherent" thoughts:

Why the hash-tag "FuryRules"? Is there really a pissed off fan base out there regarding Samuel L. Jackson being cast as Nick Fury? If so, where? As I noted, at least this Fury actually has a basis in the comics. A black Johnny Storm does not. I really wonder what Simone's reaction would be if, in the upcoming Captain America sequel, a white guy was cast as the Falcon. Or, what if a movie studio took one of her characters ... and completely altered him/her?

I've opined in the past already that I could care less if African-American actors are cast as characters that were originally portrayed as white (or something else) in the original comics -- because most of the most popular characters in the biz were created when blacks were still considered second-class citizens. We've seen Heimdall portrayed by a black actor in Thor; Jamie Foxx is slated to play Electro in the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2. And big deal. But, again, the Fantastic Four is a bit different. It's a major property of one of the Big Two comics companies with a rich (and immense) continuity history. It'd almost be akin to putting out a film with a black guy playing Superman ... just for the sake of having a black guy playing Superman. In other words, it really makes no sense.

But whoever said political correctness ever made sense?

Posted by Hube at May 2, 2013 07:15 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I think it's a case of not caring about the original character to look like they don't care about race. Original concept hasn't meant anything in years. The fact that this one is PC might be a coincidence, like in the Thor movie or Man of Steel's Perry White.

Posted by: ShadowWing Tronix at May 2, 2013 08:58 PM

Here's the problems:

1) He's supposed to be Sue's brother. Yeah, suspension of disbelief and all that but how believable is it going to be if they look nothing alike? Unless they also change Sue Storm to a dark lady which could be interesting. Or they are going to change whether Sue & Johnny are siblings. Which leads us to...

2) The whole family dynamic. The appeal as far as I am aware with FF (I don't read them much) is that they are a family with all the pluses and minuses that entails. Changing Sue & Johnny's sibling dynamic alters the whole balance. Likewise, isn't part of the deal that Johnny is sort of the "butt monkey" of the group? And/or more of an athletic type and somewhat dim? So, if you have the other characters picking on him, and he's a bit dumber, isn't that going to come off MORE racist than not having a black character at all? If anything, Richards is the one who should be race changed. He could be a literal african-american, an immigrant from Wakanda (how do you spell Black Panthar's nation?) which would give some neat tie-in possibilities and explain why Reed is so super smart.

Posted by: Nate at May 3, 2013 10:53 AM

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