A new reboot of the Marvel comic Fantastic Four is nearing production and with it the (sort of) announcement of the cast. Though some of the casting haven’t been made official, some of the cast have confirmed their involvement in the project. Ladies and gentlemen, your new team of superheroes: Miles Teller (Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic), Kate Mara (Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman), Michael B. Jordan (Johnny Storm/The Human Torch), and Jamie Bell (Ben Grimm/The Thing).
A lot of people have had comments about the direction the new films(s) will be going in terms of casting choices, many comments in regards to race and the traditional characterization of Johnny Storm. I have many objectives but not because of that; I of course embrace racial diversity as a way to offer a new take on comic book stories and better represent those who exist in society. No disrespect to Kate Mara, but I think the real missed opportunity to be progressive and groundbreaking was not casting a black Sue Storm, and thus breaking the traditional blood ties at the heart of The Fantastic Four reboot. It could have also been a real chance to craft a very interesting view of black woman superhero and to show a strong black family unit, something we don’t get enough of in the comic book universe.
I have put together a list of actress that could have been prime candidates for Sue Storm. All of these actress are around Mara’s age, a perfect fit for the rest of the cast yet old enough to be the big sis to Johnny (and Michael B. Jordan). And also like Mara, these ladies offer mainstream appeal evidenced by their work in both TV and film:
Nicole Beharie is who I think of when I think of a contemporary Sue Storm. Not only is she seemingly very pensive and beautiful, but she is also have a toughness in a deceptively small package. This Juilliard alum with a theater background has been on many people’s radars the last few years. Fans of independent film know her from her breakout role as a struggling single mother falsely arrested in American Violet, as Rachel Robinson in the Jackie Robinson biopic 42, and as the woman who romanced Michael Fassbender (on and off screen) in Steven McQueen’s Shame. Fans of cult TV shows know her the critically-acclaimed Fox TV show Sleepy Hollow, where she is the “contemporary” half of a supernatural investigative duo.
Megalyn Ann Echikunwoke
Megalyn Ann Echikunwoke would really bring a gracefulness to Sue Storm. Echikunwoke is perhaps best known for her TV roles as the powerful, rapidly-againg Isabelle Tyler on the sci-fi drama The 4400 and most recently as medical examiner Tara Price on CSI: Miami. She has made the rounds on other TV shows including Raising the Bar, House of Lies, and Made in Jersey. Though Echikunwoke is a more of a newcomer to the film world, this would have potentially been a great role to bring a black woman to the forefront of Hollywood.
There is one big thing that Teyonah Parris and Michael B. Jordan (her would be big screen little brother) have in common – they are both breakout stars from recent buzzed about Sundance Film Festival features from up-and-coming young black directors. Jordan for 2013’s Fruitvale Station and Parris for 2014’s Dear White People, where she plays a student with an identity crisis at a prestigious predominately white college. Many will recognize her as the first black series regular on AMC’s Mad Men where her character was pivotal in bringing the racial climate of the 70s to life. Parris is slowly but surely making a name for herself in Hollywood and would have brought down-to-earth quality to Sue Storm.
Yaya DaCoasta is commanding and statusque onscreen (a great characteristic for a superhero). No wonder; she is a model, who first graced TV screens as America’s Next Top Model Season 3 runner-up. She is now building her career as an actress, parlaying a long stint on the soap All My Children into independent film roles in the critically-acclaimed Sundance selections The Kids are Alright, The Messenger, and Mother of George as well as role in this 2013’s The Butler.
What was said about Teyonah Parris can also be said about Tessa Thompson, the other lead actress of 2014’s Dear White People, where she played the college radio station host of a program that mirrors the films title. People may know her best from her time on the cult show Veronica Mars and her recent stint on the BBC America show Cooper.
It was her performance in the film Eve’s Bayou that won Jurnee Smollett serious attention in the entertainment industry where she has been for some time starring in both films (Selma Lord Selma, The Great Debaters) and TV shows (True Blood, Parenthood, and Friday Night Lights during Michael B. Jordan’s years). Smollett has a sultriness what would play well with a romantic storyline with Mr. Fantastic.
Could you see any of these actresses as Sue Storm? What are your (honest) thoughts on the new cast of characters for the Fantastic Four reboot?