Black Storms: My One Issue with the ‘Fantastic Four’ Casting


Now that Michael B. Jordan has officially been cast as Johnny Storm in Josh Trank’s reboot of the Fantastic Four, I can talk about the one thing that’s bugged me.

From what we’ve been led to believe, in this version, Johnny Storm will be the adopted brother of Sue Storm (Kate Mara) instead of blood related as they are in the comics. This sent a few folks into a tizzy about Jordan’s race which is now commonplace since the Donald Glover for Spider-Man Twitter campaign. Here’s what I don’t understand: why was it never a serious consideration for Sue Storm to ALSO be African-American? All the casting rumors for Sue Storm were young white women and the adopted brother aspect came hand-in-hand with the Jordan casting rumor so no matter who played Sue Storm, she was going to be white.

Instead of having to write around Johnny Storm now being black and having to established how close him and Sue are despite not being blood, why not just make them related? Is it because Sue Storm and Mr. Fantastic (Miles Teller) are going to be romantically involved and we can only push geeks who are still crying over Heimdell too far?

I have faith in Trank (if you haven’t seen Chronicle, please do so immediately) and I’m glad he got the Human Torch he wanted but I have to admit that I found this aspect disappointing. If you are going to mix things up, go all the way. As Mike Ehrmantraut would say, “no half measures.”

Regardless, I’m excited for Jordan and every African-American boy can say “I’m Johnny Storm” in 2015.


3 thoughts on “Black Storms: My One Issue with the ‘Fantastic Four’ Casting

  1. I agree. I was hella excited to learn of Jordan’s casting because I’ve admired his work since The Wire to present… but then I read about the casting choice to make him adopted and Sue a non-POC. Nothing against Mara, but damn. Would the film have been less palatable with a story line that they were from a blended family or heaven forfend, Sue be played by a WOC?

    It might not seem important (but it is) since that back story wouldn’t be shown, but it WOULD have said volumes to biracial folks (like me) and folks tired of the white narrative in all media.

    Thanks for saying exactly what popped into my head when I read about the casting news.

  2. Thanks so much for this. Like the previous commenter I felt like you expressed exactly what my issue was with the casting. I need Marvel/Fox/movies in general to address this issue of tolkenism. It sort of feels like POC have been “thrown a bone” with this casting. Why not have the siblings be biological? Why not two actors of color? And why not turn the adoption narrative on its head and have Sue be the adopted child? There’s so much they could have done differently, but it looks like the same pattern that emerges when considering X-Men: First Class (Darwin), Iron Man (Rhodey), Chronicle (Steve), etc. Good piece.

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