Anti-Israel critics slam casting of Julia Garner in new Marvel film

The Jewish actor, whose mother is Israeli, faces backlash for her casting in role of traditionally male character Silver Surfer


Actor Julia Garner will play Silver Surfer in the upcoming Marvel film 'The Fantastic Four' despite criticism over her Israeli background. (Photo by MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Jewish actor Julia Garner will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as The Fantastic Four’s Silver Surfer, much to the chagrin of anti-Israel commentators.

Garner, 30, will play Shalla-Bal, a female version of Silver Surfer, named after the original Marvel character’s love interest in the comics. Some online critics have expressed disapproval over the casting of a woman in the role of Silver Surfer, while others have taken issue with Garner’s Israeli background and support for the Jewish state.

The Emmy and Golden Globe winner has a Jewish Israeli mother, through whom she learnt how to speak Hebrew. She told the Jewish Journal in 2020: “As my grandma always said, if you follow the Ten Commandments and have good values, you’re a good Jew. One day when I have kids, there’s only two things I ask for: that they’ll be healthy and that they’ll be mensches.”

Garner, born in New York, has been lambasted for visiting Israel several times and for signing an open letter to Joe Biden in October 2023 which called for the release of Israeli hostages from Hamas captivity.

X users have invoked Garner’s support for Israel to decry her casting in the role of Shalla-Bal, with some going so far as to call for a boycott of the film.

One user wrote of the casting controversy: “Not y’all having a meltdown over Marvel casting a female silver surfer when the real issue being that Julia Garner is a Zionist.”

Another wrote: “Just FYI, Julia Garner signed that letter to Joe Biden thanking him a couple months back. Hate to say it but boycott.”

Others have criticised Marvel for “going woke” by casting a woman in the traditionally male role. Right-wing commentator Nick Adams called for a “complete and total boycott” of the film for Garner’s participation as the Silver Surfer, adding: “Marvel can make movies without the wokeness or go broke!”

Garner won three primetime Emmy awards and a Golden Globe for her performance as Ruth Langmore in the popular Netflix series Ozark, acting opposite Jason Bateman and Laura Linney. She played Anna Delvey in the renowned TV miniseries Inventing Anna, for which she was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award.

Garner will star alongside Pedro Pascal as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Vanessa Kirby as Sue Storm/the Invisible Woman, Joseph Quinn as Johnny Storm/the Human Torch and Jewish actor Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Ben Grimm/the Thing.

Matt Shakman will direct the film from a screenplay by Josh Friedman, Jeff Kaplan, Ian Springer and Eric Pearson. Production is set to begin this summer, with a planned release on 25 July, 2025.

The Silver Surfer was previously portrayed by Doug Jones and voiced by Laurence Fishburne in 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive