Marvel Comics legend and "Fantastic Four" co-creator Stan Lee weighed in on the controversy surrounding Michael B. Jordan's casting as the Human Torch in the upcoming "Fantastic Four" film during an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Jordan's casting has drawn harsh criticism from fans looking for a more "traditional" Johnny Storm, who is depicted as blonde-haired and white in Marvel Comics.
"I thought it was a great idea!" Lee said, regarding Jordan's role. "They [the critical fans] are outraged not because of any personal prejudice... They're outraged because they hate to see any change made on a series and characters they had gotten familiar with. In 'Spider-Man,' when they got a new actor, that bothered them, even though it was a white actor. I don't think it had to do with racial prejudice as much as they don't like things changed."
"I think they’re gonna get to love this character," he continued, "So I'm not the least bit worried about it. I always tried to pepper these groups with as much racial diversity as possible because that’s the way the world is."
Lee isn't the only one to have responded to this backlash; Jordan himself also penned a letter about the issue in May. "It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore," he wrote. "I can see everybody's perspective, and I know I can't ask the audience to forget 50 years of comic books. But the world is a little more diverse in 2015 than when the Fantastic Four comic first came out in 1961. Plus, if Stan Lee writes an email to my director saying, 'You’re good. I'm okay with this,' who am I to go against that?"
Directed by Josh Trank and starring Miles Teller (Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic), Kate Mara (Susan Storm/Invisible Woman), Michael B. Jordan (Johnny Storm/Human Torch) and Jamie Bell (Ben Grimm/The Thing), "Fantastic Four" is scheduled for release on Aug. 7.