For those who are unfamiliar with the classic comic series, Johnny Storm’s character is one with blonde hair and blue eyes and Michael B. Jordan is a handsome African-American actor who has been hired to take on that role.
Johnny Storm is also a man referred to as the Human Torch because he can set himself ablaze without being harmed.
Somehow, Jordan’s casting is still the most unbelievable part of this movie role.
Despite the fact that the appearance of comic book characters have always been consistently being changed over time, something about having a Black actor in a white man’s role doesn’t sit right with potential moviegoers.
Many critics of the casting claim that their complaints have nothing to do with a racist perspective, but instead they are just concerned about whether or not Jordan’s casting will remain true to original character.
Surprisingly, the same critics did not have much to say about Scarlett Johansson being cast as the Black Widow when the original character was a Russian woman – not Jewish.
It seems as if being “true” to the original character is actually less about race and much more about skin color. According to these critics, the integrity was only compromised once it was a Black man stepping in to play the role of a white man.
“Fans often seem to believe that if a character is changed from white to Black, they will no longer be able to identify with that superhero,” said Aaron Kashtan, a postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Tech who teaches a course about transmedia storytelling.
Kashtan went on to describe this type of thing as being “unconscious and overt racism.”
Of course, it’s a pretty far stretch to try to identify with any man who can fight crime while being engulfed in flames. If fans can connect with Johnny Storm’s character, an invisible woman, a man made out of orange rocks and other heroes then it seems they should have no problem identifying with that same character after their skin color changes.
Other Black actors have faced major backlash after they took on the roles of character who were not originally drawn to be Black in the comics.
Idris Elba’s casting as Heimdall in the Thor franchise sparked threats to boycott the film and a campaign to cast Donald Glover as Spider-man had many people up in arms.
The good news is that Michael B. Jordan doesn’t seem to be the least bit impacted by the critics.
When he was spotted out and about by TMZ cameras he was asked how he felt about the people who were upset that he was a Black actor taking on the role of Johnny Storm.
Jordan’s response was short and sweet.
“They’re still going to go see it anyway,” he said with a grin on his face.
Last summer, Jordan had the same attitude toward the casting. Although it was just a rumor at the time, Jordan made it clear that wasn’t going to let his race determine what roles he could play.
“I mean, if it were to happen, would I shy away from the moment?” he asked HuffPost Entertainment. “Of course not. I don’t care if I was Asian or blue or brown or green or red. It doesn’t matter.”