The Incoherent Backlash to Black Actors Playing ‘White’ Superheroes
I felt the need to write something on this issue, I don’t even know if you can call it an issue but it’s getting a little ridiculous.
I could go on about how I personally disagree with the choice to cast a person of color in a role of a character who, hasn’t just been drawn as a white male since the 60’s as some would mention, but has been depicted the same way — since the character’s inception. Now it would be different if in any of the other iterations Johnny Storm was a person of color. If maybe Johnny and Sue weren’t biological siblings or very much the offspring of two white parents. Maybe their mom had a little fling and Mr. Storm chose to raise Johnny as his own. Who knows how many different scenarios you could write. I’m sure there’s a fan-fiction floating around on Tumblr that describes such a story.
This is not an issue of racism. I don’t agree with the casting, I’m a fan of the source material, and I am not a racist. I’m a little offended that someone would consider me a racist because I feel that a title character, a main character, should be as close to the source as possible.
I wonder if people would be called racist if Harry Potter was suddenly redone and the new films had cast a more diverse group of children. What if now Harry Potter was a child of color from the country of Chad, good ole Ron, no longer the gentle and aloof ginger was now a common brunette-haired boy from Spain and let us not forget the gorgeous Hermione Granger who is now a proud Sikh girl from India who, in the later movies, once she falls victim to puberty, is now not the force-fed ideal image of femininity as her Religion forbids shaving of any kind and she sports a beard almost as lovely as Hagrid’s?
Now how many people would be racist when none of these actors are on par with the standard with how the general fan-base imagined?
I might disagree with the casting choice, and I might think that the franchise of “Fantastic Four” has enough problems as is without the writers and director contributing but I’m not going to condemn the choice nor will I go as far as say I won’t see it. I’m not about to boycott the film because the studio went in the direction they did I’m sure they have their reasons. To be honest it’s refreshing, however refreshing it might be, refreshing doesn’t put people in the theaters seats when it comes time to unveil your superhero movie. Fans, first and foremost, will be the studio’s bread and butter and those fans must be placated and serviced to a certain extent before liberties are taken.
The franchise of Fantastic Four was in jeopardy before they concluded this gentleman was right for the role of Johnny Storm, it isn’t exactly Iron Man so I doubt Mr. Jordan will contribute to the movie tanking. The cruel truth is that Fantastic Four was probably doomed from the beginning and this is the effort the studio is making to keep it’s ship from sinking completely. To be fair, I respect any studio and director that’s going to go out of their way to start cutting through what’s considered “the norm” but the franchise has a long established source that you can’t just tinker with and expect it’s fans not to cry foul.
MIchael B. Jordan may very well be this movie’s saving grace. He’s a fantastic actor from what I’ve seen and read. I disagree with the studio’s decision to cast a person of color as Johnny Storm, but that doesn’t make me a racist. I’m a purist and worse even, someone who doesn’t do well with change, but I’m not full of hate because I think it’s a mistake to change the race of a long established character.