Marvel Comics has brought countless of its most famous superheroes from page to screen since 2002’s Spider-Man. Although adaptions of the comics had been produced for the screen starting in 1944 with Captain America, the popularity of the films have flourished during the 2000s, especially with blockbusters such as The Avengers, which grossed $623,357,910 worldwide. Not all the Marvel films have fared so well, but generally the films accumulate impressive turnouts from moviegoers worldwide. Why is this so? Well, for starters, everyone loves a good superhero romp, but also with each new film comes new villains, new plot twists, and classic cinematic excitement. On January 27, 2015, Marvel Studios released the trailer for the reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise, featuring an all-new, fresh-faced cast. Younger and considerably accredited, the new cast features Miles Teller as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Kate Mara as Sue Storm/Invisible Woman, Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm/Human Torch and Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm/ the Thing. While fans may be excited for a refreshing new take on the series, what is most exciting is that this is the first time in Marvel’s recent history that features an African-American actor in a lead, titular role. Michael B. Jordan, who will play Johnny Storm, will make Marvel history upon the film’s release this summer.
Marvel fans are familiar with the need for more diversity among the talent chosen to play in the films. Before the casting of The Amazing Spider-Man, many fans and avid moviegoers rooted for Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, to play Peter Parker. Glover was eventually cast to play Miles Morales in the Disney cartoon version of The Ultimate Spider-man, but it still begged the question: why isn’t there more diversity in Marvel’s universe? Even Marvel’s creator Stan Lee believed that casting equality was necessary. On the matter of Glover’s petition to audition, he said in an interview, “A lot of [my Twitter followers] have been saying that he ought to have a chance to audition for the role. So I tweeted back by saying, as far as I’m concerned … anybody should have a chance to audition for the role. I certainly think he should have a chance to audition.”
When Jordan was cast, there was some backlash over his casting from those who want the superheroes to resemble their comic book counterparts. In an interview shortly after the casting, Jordan said, “It was expected. You kinda know going into it that people are used to seeing something one way, it’s a continuity thing more than anything.” The backlash seems a little outdated, considering the right casting directors have to make translate stories written decades ago to apply to modern day.
It is important that Marvel continues with its move forward in diverse casting. In fact, with the upcoming development Netflix’s Jessica Jones, talks of a film adaption for the character Black Cat from the Spider-Man franchise, the current hit television series Agent Carter, and the upcoming film adaption of Captain Marvel, Marvel is catching the waves of feminism that are prevalent in today’s society by producing major projects with female leads. Female characters are taking Marvel by storm and audiences are responding positively. Even more so, they’ve been craving for a fresh new wave of Marvel characters. So why shouldn’t Marvel keep on this track? With diversifying leading talents, the company is sure to reach wider audiences, like little girls who have always loved superheroes, but wanted to see someone who looked like them on the screen. Sue Storm offers another outlet for a wider audience to be reached, just like her brother, Johnny.
Watch the trailer here for the new and highly anticipated film, Fantastic Four: