"You’re not supposed to go on the Internet when you’re cast as a superhero," the 28-year-old actor wrote in an op-ed for Entertainment Weekly about his casting as Johnny Storm/Human Torch in the summer reboot. "But after taking on Johnny Storm—a character originally written with blond hair and blue eyes—I wanted to check the pulse out there. I didn’t want to be ignorant about what people were saying."
Jordan says he wasn’t surprised to find comic fans decrying the casting choice, saying everything from "They must be doing it because Obama’s president" to "They’ve destroyed it!" Chris Evans, now donning the Captain America suit for Marvel, previously played the role in the 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four films.
"It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore," the actor explains. "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."
Jordan understands that some people might see the casting choice as an attempt at political correctness or an attempt to fill some kind of quota.
"Or they could look at it as a creative choice by the director, Josh Trank, who is in an interracial relationship himself—a reflection of what a modern family looks like today," he continues, adding that Trank also got Marvel guru Stan Lee’s approval on the casting choice.
"Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, 'I'll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I’ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations'," Jordan writes. "I put that responsibility on myself. People are always going to see each other in terms of race, but maybe in the future we won’t talk about it as much. Maybe, if I set an example, Hollywood will start considering more people of color in other prominent roles, and maybe we can reach the people who are stuck in the mindset that 'it has to be true to the comic book.' Or maybe we have to reach past them."
Jordan has some words of advice for those who may take issue with him playing the Human Torch.
"To the trolls on the Internet, I want to say: Get your head out of the computer," the actor concludes. "Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends' friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it."