The backlash to the casting of actor Michael B. Jordan as a Marvel superhero is something that fellow African-American actor and friend Anthony Mackie has not had to deal with – at least not to anywhere near the same degree.
Mackie stars in next month’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” playing The Falcon (aka. Samuel Wilson), while Jordan has been cast as Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) in the upcoming “Fantastic Four” reboot.
“Fantastic Four” has come under fire for the alteration of Johnny Storm’s race from the comics, not to mention the other unusual casting decisions regarding the three other key roles.
‘Winter Soldier’ has avoided the problem altogether though by casting a well-regarded African-American actor in an African-American superhero role – indeed, The Falcon is considered to be mainstream comics’ first black superhero.
Speaking with ComicBook.com, Mackie discussed the backlash against Jordan and comic fans insistence on the films and characters being slavishly identical to the source material:
“It’s crazy how much they know, and if you deter from that, it’s like ‘Well, that’s not authentic.’ You know it’s not real. It’s made-up, so we can change it. ‘No, no, that’s not right. No, he’s real.’ Alright.
I think with these type of movies, everything else aside, you need a good actor. Michael B. Jordan is a good actor, black or white. So what you have to realize is, and go back and forth and just say, ‘Superman can’t fly, Batman ain’t real, the Human Torch don’t really set himself on fire and fly around the room, so he can look like whatever they want him to look like.’ You just have to allow yourself to see him that way. And if you can’t do that, that says something about you.”
While we’ll see how Mackie does in his role in a few short weeks, whether the “Fantastic Four” reboot comes off or not – we won’t know until next Summer.