Dating back to the announcement that Jessica Alba was cast to play Sue Storm in the first “Fantastic Four” film from the early-‘00s to the time that Michael B. Jordan was cast as Johnny Storm in the 2015 reboot, there has always been controversy over the casting choices for the Fox franchise. And it appears that with Josh Trank’s 2015 “Fantastic Four,” there could have been even more discussion, especially if the filmmaker was able to go through with his original plan.
Speaking to Geeks of Color, Trank was asked about the possibility of having a Black actress play the role of Sue Storm in the film. For those unaware, “Fantastic Four” tells the story of four superheroes that are brought together via a scientific experiment that grants them powers. However, what separates the FF from other teams is the family aspect, with Sue Storm and Johnny Storm being siblings and Sue ending up marrying Reed Richards, another teammate. In the most recent film, Sue was portrayed by Kate Mara.
“There were lots of controversial conversations that were had behind the scenes [about a Black Sue Storm],” said Trank. “I was mostly interested in a Black Sue Storm and a Black Johnny Storm and a Black Franklin Storm. But when you’re dealing with a studio on a massive studio on a movie like [‘Fantastic Four’], everyone wants to keep an open mind to like who the big stars are going to be…But when it came down to it, I found quite a bit of heavy pushback on casting a Black woman in that role.”
He continued, “When I look back on that, I should have just walked when that realization hit me, and I feel embarrassed about that, that I didn’t just out of principle…I feel bad that I didn’t take it to the mat with that issue. I feel like I failed in that regard.”
Of course, when it was announced that Mara would play Sue and Jordan was going to play Johnny, there was a ridiculous number of fans that were upset that Johnny was going to be portrayed by a Black person. God only knows the dumb outrage that would have happened if Sue was also portrayed by a Black actor. But it appears that of all the issues surrounding “Fantastic Four,” Trank’s regret over not hiring a Black actress ranks up there pretty high.
So, maybe Marvel Studios can do it one better and cast an entirely Black Fantastic Four for its upcoming film? That would be one hell of a statement.