Marvel Fans Are Reminding Each Other Not to Harass the Actors Who Don’t Fit Their Fancasts

It wasn’t so long ago that if someone said “fan,” the image that came up was someone with a room full of toys, posters and other memorabilia waxing nostalgically about their favorite thing, be it Marvel, Star Wars, or just about anything. 

In more recent years, if someone says “fan” they picture someone living in their parents’ basement, angrily tapping at a keyboard about how The Last Jedi ruined everything or demanding that they cast this or that actor or they won’t watch this or that movie.

Some think fans have become a group that are never happy unless they’re unhappy. But a group of fans is calling for a truce regarding fan casting. 

Fans initial reactions to movie news have missed the mark

Kevin Feige speaks onstage
Kevin Feige | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Fans getting up in arms about movie news is nothing new. And fans being misguided in their judgment is also not new. Fans protested when they heard Michael Keaton was going to be Batman in 1989.

The movie was still a huge hit.  They protested when they heard Heath Ledger was the Joker. All wrong, they said. Ledger was on Oscar posthumously and the movie was a huge hit.

It goes the other way too. Sometimes fans are so convinced something will be the greatest thing ever, it takes them several viewings for them to figure out why they didn’t like it. Case in point: The Phantom Menace. Reaction to the trailer in the late 90s was through the roof in a good way. People couldn’t wait to see it.

Then when they did, they were confused as to why it wasn’t the Best Movie Ever. Its repeat viewings came not only from audiences eager to see a new Star Wars movie for the first time in 16 years, but from people trying to understand what went wrong. 

It all seemed to come to a head in 2017 with the release of The Last Jedi. That movie divided fandom deeply to the point that director Rian Johnson received death threats. That frenzy, fairly or unfairly, painted Star Wars as the ultimate example of fandom gone sour. 

Did fandom only recently become toxic?

Everywhere you looked in the late 2010s, there was a story of Star Wars fans causing upset. If it wasn’t Daisy Ridley being chased off social media, it was Kelly Marie tran being chased off social media. Old stories circulated about how Jake Lloyd, who played Anakin in Phantom Menace, and Ahmed Best, who played Jar-Jar Binks, were driven to thoughts of suicide by the relentless negativity.  

It isn’t just movie fans either. An analysis by Now Magazine centered around negativity regarding singer Ariana Grande.

They wrote, “You could say this has been a long time coming. In the past decade, fandom has emerged as an unparalleled force in mainstream culture. Just look at how corporate overlords at Marvel and Star Wars thrust their stars through the ComiCon gauntlet. Fans are no longer on the sidelines, but full-fledged participants in the ways studios and labels are packaging and distributing their media products.”

Marvel fandom is hardly immune to such complaints. Brie Larson in particular, often seems to bring out aggressive fans who accuse her of being a social justice warrior or just flat-out unlikeable.

Marvel fans on Reddit forums are demanding that only Charlie Cox can be Daredevil and that’s just that. But now one Reddit forum is calling for a cease-fire regarding fan casting. 

What are Marvel fans asking regarding casting?

In this forum, the topic-starter writes about fans’ demands that John Krasinski and Emily Blunt be cast as Mister Fantastic and The Invisible Woman in the MCU’s eventual reboot of the Fantastic Four. Krasinsksi and Blunt or no one, some say.

But the topic starter writes “As I have borne witness to this sub’s fixation with John Krasinski and Emily Blunt being cast as Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman, respectively, over the years, I have become increasingly concerned that, if, ultimately, either or both of these actors aren’t cast as those characters, then whichever actors are cast as them are going to get bullied.” The fan said this should not be allowed to happen. 

Another fan thought the request should be less specific. They took the phrase “Pledge not to bully the actors who get cast as Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman if John Krasinski and Emily blunt don’t. People and highlighted the words “pledge not to bully people.” Period. 

With any luck, fandom is turning a corner. A recent suggestion that Rian Johnson could direct an Avengers movie was not met with overt hostility. Perhaps the pandemic, a much more serious problem by any reasonable measure, could help fans get some perspective. There are worse things than miscast actors and missed released dates.