Stan Lee Gives Enthusiastic Approval to Michael B. Jordan's Fantastic Four Casting

Monday, 27 July 2015 - 2:57PM
Fantastic Four
Monday, 27 July 2015 - 2:57PM
Stan Lee Gives Enthusiastic Approval to Michael B. Jordan's Fantastic Four Casting
When Michael B. Jordan was cast as Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four, many fans were outraged, as Jordan is black while the character is traditionally drawn as white. But for all the upset from fans, the creator of the original Fantastic Four characters doesn't seem to have a problem with the change. Jordan recently revealed that Marvel legend Stan Lee gave his approval to Josh Trank before the actor was cast:

"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 wrote in an essay for EW.

But Lee himself went a step further, and told EW that he was 100% in favor of the casting: "It was more than okay. I thought it was a great idea!"

He went on to express the opinion that the controversy isn't necessarily about racism, but rather the fans' reluctance to accept any changes to the comic book canon:

Opening quote
"They're outraged not because of any personal prejudice. They're outraged because they hate to see any change made on a series and characters they had gotten familiar with. In Spider-Man, when they got a new actor, that bothered them, even though it was a white actor. I don't think it had to do with racial prejudice as much as they don't like things changed. But I think they're gonna get to love this character. So I'm not the least bit worried about it. I always tried to pepper these groups with as much racial diversity as possible because that's the way the world is."
Closing quote


While Lee himself seems to have the right attitude about race and representation, I heartily disagree that the controversy was not about racial prejudice. There may be a small contingent of fans who genuinely think the change is inappropriate because Sue and Johnny should be genetically related (I'd be interested to see if they would be satisfied if Sue were black as well), but for the most part, it can be both. Yes, people want faithful adaptations, but the fact that race is viewed as material to these characters is likely a form of racial prejudice. This is best illustrated by the lack of similar outrage surrounding the many whitewashed characters in film adaptations, and by incidents like the awful controversy surrounding Rue's casting in the Hunger Games

That being said, I hope Lee is right that people will get on board with Jordan once they see his interpretation, because he's a terrific actor. He gave pitch-perfect performances in The Wire, Friday Night Lights, and Fruitvale Station, and we can't wait to see what he does with the character.

Fantastic Four comes out in theaters on August 7.
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