When it was revealed a couple years ago that the new Fantastic Four movie would star Michael B. Jordan as The Human Torch, a divide was created in the audience. Some fans are excited by the casting, recognizing Jordan as a talented young actor; but others hate the choice simply because Jordan is black and The Human Torch in the comics is white. Many have theorized why this divide was created, but Fantastic Four creator Stan Lee has his own opinion on the matter, believing that people are riled up simply because they don't like change.
Entertainment Weekly recently interview the Marvel Comics legend. and dedicated a portion of their time to talk about the casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm in Josh Trank's Fantastic Four. Noting that he personally thinks that the casting is a "great idea," Lee offered his view on why some are upset about it:
They’re outraged not because of any personal prejudice. They’re outraged because they hate to see any change made on a series and characters they had gotten familiar with. In Spider-Man, when they got a new actor, that bothered them, even though it was a white actor. I don’t think it had to do with racial prejudice as much as they don’t like things changed.
There was plenty of uproar going around earlier this year when there were rumors that Marvel Studios would be casting the new version of Peter Parker with a non-white actor, but Stan Lee is right in pointing out that people have a chip on their shoulder about Tom Holland - who is coming in to replace Andrew Garfield in the new reboot. It's the same chip that people had on their shoulders when Andrew Garfield came in to replace Tobey Maguire. The best way for these actors to shut people up is just by doing a good job. We'll just have to wait a couple weeks to find out if Jordan accomplished that feat.
On beyond thinking that casting Michael B. Jordan in Fantastic Four was a great idea, Stan Lee also offered that he has a lot of confidence in the performance, and added in a nod to his own important efforts during the Civil Rights era. Said Lee,
But I think they’re gonna get to love this character. So I’m not the least bit worried about it. I always tried to pepper these groups with as much racial diversity as possible because that’s the way the world is.
Audiences will be able to see Michael B. Jordan's turn as Johnny Storm for themselves when Fantastic Four flies its way into theaters on August 7th. Regardless of what it ends up being, the reaction should be very interesting.