The recent global protests against police brutality in wake of George Floyd’s murder have exposed deep racial prejudices that plagued American society since the beginning. Even celebrities and movie studios are using their platform to vocally supporting the protests, either by donating to Black Lives Matters or providing films made by industry workers of color for free to raise awareness. Now director Josh Trank reveals that his 2015 adaptation of Fantastic Four- dubbed Fan4stic online- may have been plagued by racial issues.
Josh Trank is no stranger to controversy, as Fantastic Four was met with disdain from critics and fans alike upon its release. One of the largest points of contention was the director’s decision to cast Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch/ Johnny Storm, a typically white comic character. While this was a great first step in increasing diversity within the superhero genre, the director revealed that he wanted to do more, but producers at Fox pushed back.
On an episode of Geeks of Color, Trank revealed that he wanted to cast Sue Storm/Invisible Women as a person as color as well, but “There [were] a lot of controversial conversations that were had behind the scenes on that. I was mostly interested in a black Sue Storm and a black Johnny Storm and a black Franklin Storm….But when it came down to it, I found a lot of pretty heavy pushback on casting a black woman in that role.”
This is certainly problematic if Trank’s statements prove to be true and shows how far the industry has to go towards diversity. It’s also ironic that Jordan would later receive critical acclaim for his performance as Killmonger in Black Panther, a character who openly condemns the systemic abuse of black people and wishes to use Wakanda’s resources to fight back.