10 White Comic-Book Characters Played by Black Actors in the Movie Adaptations

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It’s rare to find traditionally white characters portrayed by Latino actors on teen TV series. It’s also rare to find traditionally white characters portrayed by Asian actors on any screen. It’s far from rare to find the opposite of each. BUT, at least we’re starting to experience more color-blind casting than ever before. Look at the new edition of Power Rangers — you’ve got a Latina portraying a character that was OG Asian, an Asian portraying a character that was OG black, a black man portraying a character that was OG white… It’s pretty cool, TBH.

So, that got us to wondering about comic-book characters. If you check ’em out, you’ll notice that a great majority are white on paper — but Hollywood changes things up here and there. Did you know Common was originally tapped to portray Green Lantern in the 2011 movie of the same name until it fell through? Ryan Reynolds eventually snagged the part. Huh… we wonder if it would’ve been any better if the rapper were a part of the project, but we digress. Anyway, here are 10 white comic-book characters played by black actors in the movie adaptations:


Johnny Storm (The Human Torch), Fantastic Four

The originator of Johnny Storm in the live-action Fantastic Four, Chris Evans, fits the bill of the comic-book character's physical description. Light hair, blue eyes, between 5'10 and 6'... Michael B. Jordan, however, only fits the height requirements.

Nevertheless, he made a bomb (in the best way) Human Torch. It's a shame the movie bombed (in the worst way) at the box office.

When an interviewer asked how MBJ and his on-screen sister, Kate Mara, could be siblings when one's black and one's white, he answered, "They could be raised as brother and sister. There's a whole bunch of family dynamics that could be without the obvious adoption." It's that simple, guys.

Photo: 20th Century Fox

Nick Fury, The Avengers

Looking at the first depictions of the character, you can see that he's a brown-haired white man with white hairs at the temples. Samuel L. Jackson, in comparison, is a black man with absolutely no hair.

If you look at the later depictions of the character, called Ultimate Nick Fury, you can clearly see who SLJ's version is based on.

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Heimdall, Thor

No one was ever going to look like the cartoon version of Heimdall. The pale skin, brown hair and grey eyes may've been doable, but he's supposed to be 7'2"... and 525 lbs. IMPOSSIBLE!

So, when Marvel cast the blind Sentry of Asgard, they went with the ever-handsome Idris Elba because he's awesome and, hey, you were never going to get an exact replica.

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Floyd Lawton (Deadshot), Suicide Squad

The marksman from last summer's blockbuster appears to be quite different on paper. For one, he actually has hair — brown hair, to be more precise — plus he's Caucasian. But, considering how fantastic Will Smith is at wielding a gun — as evidenced in films like Men in Black, Wild Wild West and Bad Boys — we think the studio went with the right person.

Photo: Warner Bros.

J, Men in Black

Speaking of Men in Black...

Both of the comic's main characters, Agents J & K, are white men. But we all know how that turned out — YAAAS, Will Smith! — better than we could've ever thought possible!

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Baron Mordo (Karl Mordo), Doctor Strange

Karl's the son of a Transylvanian nobleman; he was 6', weighed 250 lbs, had brown eyes, grey hair, and white skin... until 2016's Doctor Strange got a hold of him and cast Oscar-nominated Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Photo: Walt Disney

Maxwell Dillon (Electro), The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Maxwell was a man with blue eyes and auburn hair (which he oven shaved off) before the Andrew Garfield-led sequel. Can you blame Marvel for casting Jamie Foxx? He's an Academy Award-winning celebrity!

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Selina Kyle (Catwoman), Catwoman

The comics had a green-eyed Selina with jet-black hair and light skin. But even when a white woman (Anne Hathaway) portrayed the sometimes-hero/sometimes-villain, she didn't look like that.

That's why when Halle Berry took on the role, and before her, Eartha Kitt, it wasn't much of a stretch.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Harvey Dent (Two-Face), Batman

Before Aaron Eckhart or even Tommy Lee Jones ever played the DA of Gotham City, Billy Dee Williams did it first in the 1989 movie Batman.

But comic-book junkies know that the character was originally a blue-eyed white man.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Wilson Fisk (Kingpin), Daredevil

Wilson Fisk was also bald, but he was only portrayed by a black man, Michael Clarke Duncan, in Ben Affleck's 2003 movie, Daredevil. Otherwise, he was a 6'7", blue-eyed, white dude.

Photo: 20th Century Fox

You can reach this post’s author, Kaitlin Cubria, on Twitter and Instagram!

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