Changing the racial identity of characters has become a contentious issue amongst fans of superhero comics and their adaptations in other media. The awful practices of casting white actors to play people of color, or of turning previously non-white characters into white characters, is all too common in movie adaptations of books, cartoons, TV shows, or even real life stories -- but rather surprisingly, superhero comics and their adaptations have mostly avoided this problem.
In comics, the controversy takes a different direction. Several white characters have become non-white, mostly in movies, and sometimes in reboots. Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm in the new Fantastic Four; Helena Bertinelli aka the Huntress in the New 52; Nick Fury in the Ultimate Comics line and on screen. These are changes that agitate some readers -- but realistically, the changes don't go far enough. Superhero comics have a cultural bias towards white characters that has everything to do with their institutional history and nothing to do with what makes sense to the stories.
The likely cast of next year's rebooted Fantastic Four movie from 20th Century Fox and director Josh Trank was revealed to the world last night, causing the comics internet to crack in half this morning. (It cracks in half all the time, of course. I think it may actually come in two parts.)
Miles Teller is our Reed Richards. Kate Mara is our Sue Storm. Michael B. Jordan is our Johnny Storm. Jamie Bell is our Ben Grimm. It's a weird and controversial cast -- but do fans have cause for concern?
Miles Teller is Reed Richards, Kate Mara is Sue Storm, Michael B. Jordan is Johnny Storm, and Jamie Bell is Ben Grimm.
At least, that's according to The Hollywood Reporter, whose sources say 20th Century Fox is close to closing deals with the four actors for its new film based on Marvel's Fantastic Four comics created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.
Actor Michael B. Jordan, perhaps best known for his roles as Wallace on The Wire and his critically lauded leading role in last year's Fruitvale Station, is reported to be in talks to play the Human Torch in Fox's upcoming Fantastic Four film. Further, it's rumored that whoever is eventually cast to play Dr. Doom could possibly be a woman.
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