Comic book legend Stan Lee is often considered the end-all be-all when it comes to opinions on changes in the Marvel movies. When our Generalissimo approves of it, our nerves tend to calm down, even if that same approval seems like a promotion for movies under the Marvel umbrella. Regardless, Stan Lee has finally spoken on one of the more controversial things about The Fantastic Four -- Johnny Storm's race.
Before you speed your way down to the comments area, check out Stan Lee's take on the new Human Torch from a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly. When asked if Michael B. Jordan's casting was okay with him, Lee replied: “It was more than okay. I thought it was a great idea!”
The Generalissimo continued, explaining why some die-hard fans wouldn't want the change, beyond the general assumption of racism:
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.
At the same time, Lee explained why the purist fans' distaste for the change doesn't bother him at all -- and why they're going to enjoy it in the end:
But I think they’re gonna get to love this character. 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.
Stan Lee (for anyone that somehow forgot) spearheaded one of the largest efforts for diversity in comics back in the 60s and 70s, with characters such as Falcon, Black Panther, Storm, and Misty Knight taking the lead on several titles, teams, and storylines. His open-mindedness contrasted with majority opinion back then, and it's nice to see that it still resonates from him today.
But beyond that, Stan Lee's love for his creations means that making the right casting choices for the characters he helped create is something of vital importance to him, and if he's confident in the new Johnny Storm, then perhaps the die-hards can take a breath and cool down when it comes to this very heated topic.