I am no “Troll” and you are not a “Martyr” good Sir.
Michael B Jordan is a very fine actor but that does not define him as a person in whole. Just how I am a 30-year comic book fan, that does not define me as a comic book nerd. What this does make me is a passionate fan of a medium I proudly grew up reading and enjoying deeply for so many decades.
I have been extremely critical in articles I’ve written on the 20th Century Fox reboot of the Fantastic Four movie ever since it was announced. Obviously, one of the things I immediately knew that was not going to fly with even just a casual comic book fan was the drastic changes made to the mythology of the F4 family. Not just little oversights that could be easily explained. No! This was a game changing opportunity that Fox and the writers knew exactly what they were doing when changing the famous Storm family.
With the announcement that Michael B. Jordan was cast as Johnny Storm the Internet and comic fans (including myself) a-like were in total uproar over the news. But this was not the only thing that had some fans acting like ravenous creatures behind a keyboard. Also the news that Dr. Doom being a computer hacker was also met with outcries of foul play towards Fox Studios.
Fox Studios and F4 writers have decided that re-writing 75 years of history was a good and different idea. What Fox and Michael B. Jordan never even contemplated was the passion of the fans for their favorite characters! It was NEVER about RACE! It is simply the fact that 75 years of solid storytelling and two halfway decent Hollywood films was going though a revamp to an almost unrecognizable version of a team everyone already knows the true legend to.
Ever since that initial announcement of cast and story, the Fantastic Four film has been fighting an uphill battle to gain momentum with any sort of audience. The Sci-fi crowd seems to be the only audience willing to give F4 a try since comic book fans have pretty much given up on the Fantastic Four movie. Even Marvel Comics wants nothing to do with F4 the movie that they went as far as canceling any Fantastic Four comic books during the lead-up to the film.
I get Michael’s point as well that he wants people to see this movie as a family and unity film. To keep an open mind and get into the story of a family and an adoptive daughter. To give F4 a try because we have our collective heads in our computers and don’t walk the world among the living.
But to be completely honest……I, or my friends, have absolutely no DESIRE to see a science fiction movie of characters I no longer know. Just because the superpowers are the same and it has the title, this is still not the real Fantastic Four I grew up with and want to see on the big screen. If Fox wanted to make such a progressive sci-fi film they really should have kept the F4 name out of it and this film would have been a major hit. It was never about the color of the actor, it’s only about the changing of the story the actor was placed in. I like Michael B. Jordan’s work as an actor and he brings up some views but as an activist he falls very short with not fully understanding where the fans are coming from rather than berating them.
Michael B. Jordan’s open letter to fans:
“You’re not supposed to go on the Internet when you’re cast as a superhero. But after taking on Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four—a character originally written with blond hair and blue eyes—I wanted to check the pulse out there. I didn’t want to be ignorant about what people were saying. Turns out this is what they were saying: “A black guy? I don’t like it. They must be doing it because Obama’s president” and “It’s not true to the comic.” Or even, “They’ve destroyed it!”
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?
Some people may look at my casting as political correctness or an attempt to meet a racial quota, or as part of the year of “Black Film.” Or they could look at it as a creative choice by the director, Josh Trank, who is in an interracial relationship himself—a reflection of what a modern family looks like today.
This is a family movie about four friends—two of whom are myself and Kate Mara as my adopted sister—who are brought together by a series of unfortunate events to create unity and a team. That’s the message of the movie, if people can just allow themselves to see it.
Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, “I’ll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I’ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations.” I put that responsibility on myself. 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.
To the trolls on the Internet, I want to say: Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends”