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Miles Morales recently proved that comic book readers were ready for a Spider-Man of African-American and Latino descent. Now we’re about ready to see if movie-going comic-book fans will support an African-American Human Torch.
The Wrap is reporting that Chronicle director Josh Trank wants one of that film’s co-stars, Michael B. Jordan, to play Johnny Storm – aka, The Human Torch – in the upcoming franchise reboot of The Fantastic Four. Twentieth Century Fox did not comment, but the trade cites multiple sources as saying the director and actor are read to reunite in a project that would give the up-and-coming Jordan a key role in a potentially massive superhero series.
Obviously, this changes the original race of the character, who is Caucasian in the Marvel books, and previously was played on screen by Chris Evans – who now plays Captain America in the popular Marvel movies. Switching Storm’s race in the pending reboot could also affect Sue Storm, however, as she and Johnny are brother and sister in Fantastic Four lore. Does that mean the rumors that Girls star Allison Williams is vying for that role are false? Or will Trank write in a legacy change that has them as half-siblings or adopted children? Maybe they won’t be related at all?
Jordan’s star is on the rise, and has been since audiences caught him in HBO’s groundbreaking series The Wire. He was outstanding on the Friday Night Lights, and recently turned heads in the Sundance hit Fruitvale Station. Johnny Storm, when written properly, can be the scene-stealer in an ensemble superhero movie, the sarcastic, devil-may-care hero who gets the best lines while saving the day. You can see why Jordan would want the part, and I think he’s more than capable of carrying the role. But it is a drastic shift from the Marvel source material. If he lands the gig, how do you think Marvel fans are going to take the news?