Amid the polar vortex of rumors and denials swirling around Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot, actor Michael B. Jordan may have delivered the closest thing to confirmation of any detail since director Josh Trank was attached to the project in July 2012.
In an interview with Access Hollywood, the star of Chronicle and Friday Night Lights was asked about the persistent rumor he’ll play Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch. Jordan stops short of saying yes, explaining, “I can’t even — you know how it is in the industry! I can’t talk [about it] — it’s still up in the air. I just can’t. It’s one of things where, certain people start talking too soon and then what if it doesn’t happen for whatever reason? Then I’m the guy who was out there talking about something that coulda, shoulda, woulda, but didn’t.”
Whether that means the contract hasn’t been signed or Jordan is simply keeping quiet (well, relatively quiet) until the studio is prepared to make an announcement is anybody’s guess. However, it’s pretty clear from his comments that if all goes as planned, he’ll star as the Human Torch.
That, as numerous comments threads have demonstrated, is a significant point of discussion among Marvel readers, as since his debut in 1961, Johnny Storm has been depicted as white in comic books, on television and in movies. Certainly, there are plenty of fans who have no problem with an African-American actor in the role; others wonder how there can be a black Johnny Storm and a white Sue Storm, considering they’re brother and sister (adoptive or half-siblings have been floated as the easiest, and most obvious, explanations). And then there are those who hold firm to the belief that because the character was conceived as white five decades ago, he should remain white.
Jordan appears familiar with the latter argument, and the significance of casting an African-American actor.
“It’s not just about that role — I think times are changing. It’s 2014,” he told Access Hollywood. “Comic books in general were established when we didn’t have civil rights, for the most part. So there weren’t a lot of comic book characters who were geared towards us, period. We weren’t the market that comic books were made for in the beginning. But as times change and things move on, I think us as a people need to evolve as well in our thinking and not be so narrow-minded. So, if not me, if not this project, [if it’s] someone else in another character, I wouldn’t be mad at that at all.”
The Fantastic Four is expected to begin filming late next month for release on June 19, 2015.