In one of the more unusual casting rumors that have hit the Internet lately, there is a rumor swimming around that Ice Cube, former N.W.A. member and star of the Ride Along and Friday film franchises, is being considered to play Spider-Man boss/comic relief J. Jonah Jameson (All HipHop).
Yes, almost every Spider-Man fan that even bothers to comment on a story like this wants them to bring J.K. Simmons back as J. Jonah. Bringing back the same actor to play the same character in an entirely different version of the series would be unusual, but J.J. is an integral part of the Spider-Man mythos which was completely skipped in the last two films, dismissed with one line as Aunt May complains about “that Mr. Jameson” being cheap. He was never shown, so no actor was cast.
It is unlikely that Jameson will be appearing in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man’s first appearance on the Avengers’ side of the MCU, as Spidey will be part of a large cast of superheroes. But Sony and Marvel are teaming up for more solo Spidey adventures with the cast of The Avengers (something that fans have been clamoring for online for a while) and J.K. did say in an interview that he would be open to returning as J.J. (something he is already doing on the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series). So, never say that Hollywood doesn’t listen to their fans…sometimes.
Getting back to Ice Cube, I can’t help but think about how some people will respond to this news, complaining about changing the ethnicity of a character. I have absolutely no problem with that, as I thought that Laurence Fishburne did an incredible job playing Perry White in Man of Steel. I hated Fant4stic like most people, but Michael B. Jordan played Johnny Storm very well. My only problem with this kind of thing is if the character’s backstory involves them coming from another country. Like when they were going to make Shredder white in the last TMNT movie, something that they wisely fixed with a series of poorly-edited, laughably shoe-horned reshoots that erased the need for an “Eric Sachs” with an Asian “Oroku Saki”. Shredder comes from Japan. Perry White and Johnny Storm are Americans and can be any race because the story doesn’t center around their home country.
But Laurence Fishburne and Michael B. Jordan are great actors. Ice Cube is not. He is a decent writer, having written a few of his Friday films, not to mention many N.W.A. songs back in the day. He wisely sticks to comedies because he plays a thousand variations on himself….but J. Jonah Jameson is a comedic character. Cube can definitely play a funny irritated guy. I can see him sticking a cigar in his mouth and barking orders around the Daily Bugle. And the character of Jameson was always sort of a bigot, starting back in the comics. Back in the 60’s, Jameson hated teenagers because they were all hippies protesting the Vietnam war. He had a black editor named Robbie Robertson and didn’t seem to have much of a problem with him. Would making Jameson black put a modern spin on this bigoted character and his relationship with Peter Parker? Would Sony/Marvel make Ice Cube’s Jameson racist to explain why he doesn’t like Peter, since the character has always been a bigot, but no longer has the Vietnam-era context?
True, this is just a casting rumor for the moment, but I hope they pick a better actor (like J.K. Simmons). What do you think? Who should play J.J. Jameson in the new Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man films? Are you with me on Team J.K.? Do you think the Ice Cube rumor is “just kidding”? Comment below.