With the Disney/Fox merger so close and the Fantastic Four being the perfect property to be introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, do you think the studio will cast actors of color to play the iconic team members?
Even though I would love to see the X-Men make their debut in the MCU, I understand how the introduction of numerous famous mutants might need some time. I wouldn’t be surprised if Storm makes a cameo in Black Panther 2 or we get Wolverine in some other film. But an actual X-Men movie will probably take a while.
However, the Fantastic Four seem to be the perfect team for the audience to meet as a soon as possible. The FF, like Disney, is about family and goes well with the overall brand. There was even a recent marathon of the 1994 Fantastic Four animated series from Marvel which likely is an indication of Disney’s interest in this property. Also, Franklin (Sue and Reed Richard’s son) is a very powerful reality-manipulating mutant which the MCU can narratively build on.
Having said that, in my opinion, the only issue with the Fantastic Four is how the team looks very similar to The Incredibles (another white family of superheroes). I don’t see such a lack of diversity going well for Disney down the line. That is why I think it would do the House of Mouse some good to cast actors of color for the live-action Fantastic Four adaptation.
Now, before you go on a rant about being authentic to comic book canon (whatever that is supposed to mean), Jessica Alba was cast as Sue Storm in the 2005 FF film and the sequel, even though she was basically playing a white woman onscreen.
Furthermore, Michael B. Jordan was cast as Johnny Storm in the 2015 reboot. While the movie flopped, I think almost everyone was okay with the casting.
You can see Hollywood has twice tried to diversify the core-four members. That is why Disney following suit and deciding to cast actors of color for the entire team or at least one member is a possibility. Having Sue Storm be played by an actress of color can help diversify the MCU in a manner where the actress won’t have to hide how she looks through layers of makeup (Gamora and Mantis). Even casting an actor of color as Reed Richard can aid with further diversifying the lineup of main players in the MCU.
Say what you want about the DCEU, but it has done its part from the beginning to make sure the main lineup isn’t all white superheroes. Captain Marvel is still a white woman in the MCU while the DCEU went with Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Jason Momoa is Aquaman and his solo-film recently crossed the $1 billion mark at the global box office.
I think Disney/Marvel is working to offer more representation through certain MCU characters. Casting actors of color as the Fantastic Four can help because we will have to wait a while for the X-Men (which has a very diverse roster) to get a proper film.
Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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