California State University East Bay

Leave the character changes to Marvel

January 15, 2015

In recent years, comic book heroes have seen many face changes as they have jumped into new forms of media. TV shows and blockbuster movies have seen a complete reset in both Marvel and DC storylines. Many tweaks have been made to caped crusaders; but recently, a Hollywood company made a very strange choice in a casting decision regarding the race of a golden age classic.

Writers of comics make a few changes regarding race and gender. While some changes may have been controversial, the writers have proved that they can keep the essence of the their heroes despite a character overhaul.

Hollywood’s changes have been a hit or miss, specifically 20th Century Fox’s poorly adapted 2005 version of “The Fantastic Four.” Since their announcement of a new Johnny Storm being played by Michael B. Jordan, I fear their race change will doom the movie for a second time.

Granted, race hardly plays a role in the grand universe of comic books.  In general Spiderman has seen a few diverse face changes within the many Spiderman storylines. This includes Latino Miguel O’Hara of “Spider-Man 2099”, and Black Hispanic Miles Morales of “Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man.” Women are also included in comic revamps with characters like Spider-Woman and Thor Girl.

These interesting changes are not exclusive to Marvel; even DC switched things up when it changed the race of the Green Lantern from white Hal Jordan to black Jon Stewart. Yet the writers who changed the characters still kept the heroes the same. The New Avengers still have Spiderman and Thor, and the Justice League still has the Green Lantern.

The Fantastic Four on the other hand cannot function with a change of face they’ve shown through their storylines.
When Johnny Storm died in the comics, Spiderman took up his position in the Fantastic Four as a final request to his old friend. However without Johnny, the team renamed themselves Future Foundation.

They did not introduce a “new” Human Torch, there was no person to replace his title because their Sue Storm doesn’t have another brother. Their relationship as siblings is what makes the Fantastic Four who they are, a family, a relationship whose surface was not scratched during that last movie.
Just remember how important family was to Pixar’s “The Incredibles.” That is what the Fantastic Four are supposed to represent, and I highly doubt that is going to be a theme this time around.

Twentieth Century Fox’s casting of Michael B. Jordan, as great of an actor as he was in “Chronicle,” begs the question if Jonny is just part of the trip, or if there is mixed race in the family. The latter of which keep the storyline of Fantastic Four true to its nature.

Their relationship is the most necessary element to the series.

The Fantastic Four is not the greatest superhero team, the greatest fighting force, or even the greatest heroes in Marvel.

The change in race can risk another flop like “Avatar the Last Air Bender.” Some heroes just don’t need a race change.

Can we have a white Black Panther or even a white Storm? Possibly but it would just be over doing it because of their origin stories. Nick Fury’s race change on the other hand was hardly an issue with such an ambiguous back-story.

I’m not saying changing races is a bad thing. The recent Spiderman did it with Electro and that wasn’t really an issue. I just don’t trust or believe 20th Century Fox did it to bring a mixed race sibling in. They did it for publicity.

Without the sibling relationship, they are not the Fantastic Four Marvel made, they are just a knock off that Hollywood is trying to milk for money.
They are the most iconic superhero family that saves the universe over and over again, and leaving that element is the worse mistake Fox made in their first attempt.

I hope they don’t miss again. Their best decision would be to give the rights back to Marvel and let the real comic writers handle their heroes.

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