The Cast for The Fantastic Four Reboot is Really, Really Young

It seems that the cast for the new stab at The Fantastic Four franchise is more or less in place and it is a veritable “who’s who” in young Hollywood.

20th Century Fox have penciled in (but no finalized) all four major parts:

  • Kate Mara (House of Cards) as Sue Storm.
  • Miles Teller (21 & Over) as Mr. Fantastic
  • Jamie Bell (The Adventures of Tin Tin) as The Thing
  • Michael B. Jordan (The Wire, Chronicle) as The Human Torch

It’s a gutsy move casting Teller as Mr. Fantastic. The patriarch of the Fantastic family is known for his iconic silver sideburns ala Mitt Romney. Miles Teller is in his mid-twenties. It’s a bit of a leap in imagination to picture a 26-year-old boldly commanding a space flight. To date the youngest astronaut ever to get to space was Sally Ride at 32.

But like the Star Trek reboot, Hollywood’s current philosophy is the younger the stars, the more 18-to-25’s will flock to it. They may even be right.

Jamie Bell as the Thing is another curious casting choice. Traditionally, the groups resident “dude made out of rock” tends to be a bit of a brute. Bell, being thin and short, is hardly an obvious choice. Presumably, those characteristics will become moot once the CGI renderings kick in. Having played in The Adventures of Tin Tin, Bell has a lot of experience working within the context of CGI, but it will be quite shocking to watch the slender Ben Grimm played by Bell transform into the massive Thing.

Unfortunately it won’t be Mr. Fantastic or the Thing that will get the lion’s share of scrutiny. That unenviable position will belong to Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch. Jordan who is African-American is set to play a character traditionally depicted as white. Many comic book literalists took exception to this creative liberty and promptly freaked out (Reminder: they did the same thing when Donald Glover was rumored to be playing Spider-Man). While yes their skin pigmentation is different, Jordan is a ludicrously capable actor and perhaps the most experienced of any of the actors who have signed on. Jordan is going to do a lot towards bringing a bit of credibility to a genre that, let’s face it, tends a bit towards the spectacle and less towards depth of storytelling. Fantastic Four was a franchise in dire need of a reboot. The last movie, with a cast consisting of people who clearly didn’t want to be there any more, was universally panned and now mostly forgotten even by die-hard Marvel fans.

So with a film that is clearly trying to shake things up and try something new, fans will have to ask themselves if skin color is really the most important factor here? Not character? Not tone? Not actor chemistry? We know Jordan can act, so if audiences are going to demand that superhero movies be good, not just “cool,” it is squarely up to those same audiences to get over it.

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