Fantastic Four: Everything We Know About the Team’s Marvel Cinematic Universe Debut

As Marvel Cinematic Universe fans get hyped for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hitting theaters this Friday, you might be wondering about upcoming movies. Fantastic Four is part of the cinematic lineup — it was originally meant to be helmed by Jon Watts (director of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Far From Home and No Way Home), but Deadline report on April 29 that he’s withdrawn from the project.

This movie is still early in production, but we can look at release date possibilities and a few casting options, as well as the characters’ comic and cinematic history.

Release date: When is Fantastic Four coming out?

The movie got a brief shoutout in Marvel’s trailer highlighting its upcoming movies last May, but that didn’t reveal a release date and its schedule of upcoming movies and shows for 2022, 2023 and 2024 is already packed.

In October, Disney revealed its revised slate of upcoming movies through 2028. Its 2023 schedule includes one untitled Marvel movie coming out Nov. 3 and 2024 includes four Marvel movies — due out Feb. 16, May 3, July 26 and Nov. 8. One of these is likely Fantastic Four (which may not be the movie’s final title).

Casting: Who will play Marvel’s first family?

There’s no word on casting yet, but fans have long called for The Office‘s John Krasinski to play stretchy Mr. Fantastic and Edge of Tomorrow‘s Emily Blunt to be his wife, Invisible Woman. The real-life husband and wife already played an on-screen couple in 2018’s A Quiet Place and its 2021 sequel, so it’d be excellent to see them bring that dynamic to the MCU.

In May, Krasinski said “Hell yeah” to the idea of taking on the role. However, Blunt dismissed the idea as fan-casting and said neither of them has received a phone call about the roles.

Who’ll direct Fantastic Four?

It’s unclear who will take the director’s chair following Watts’ departure, but Peyton Reed (known for directing the Ant-Man movies and The Mandalorian season 2 finale) revealed in 2018 that he pitched a Fantastic Four movie in 2002 or 2003. Given his enthusiasm for the characters, Marvel might turn to him for this movie.

What’s the comic book history of these Marvel heroes?

Conveniently, the intro for the ’90s animated series outlines the team’s origins and powers in a super-catchy manner.

You’re welcome. Now that you’re tapping your feet, we’ll go over the basics. The team first appeared in 1961’s Fantastic Four No. 1, by late comics legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. This basically kicked off the Marvel Comics Universe, since the pair co-created the Avengers and the X-Men shortly afterward.


This issue started it all.

Marvel Comics

The first issue sees Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm blasting off to space in an experimental rocket. They get bombarded with cosmic radiation (which is a real thing), giving them an array of cool superpowers (not a real thing). 

Reed can stretch his body into pretty much any shape, and takes the codename Mr. Fantastic. He’s super-smart too.

Sue can turn invisible and create powerful force fields. She goes by Invisible Girl initially, but changes it to the more dignified Invisible Woman later. She’s also Reed’s fiancee and ultimately his wife.

Johnny can cover his body in flames, control fire and fly. Known as the Human Torch. He’s Sue’s brother, and his catchphrase is “Flame on!”

Ben turns into a rock monster — taking the name Thing — with super strength and endurance. Is furious initially, but mellows out over time. Glorious catchphrase: “It’s clobberin’ time!” He’s pretty great.

They battle the Mole Man in that first issue, but soon attract a rogues gallery that includes the Skrulls (who joined the MCU in Captain Marvel), angry sea-dwelling Namor the Sub-Mariner, the planet-gobbling Galactus and his herald the Silver Surfer, Kree jerk Ronan the Accuser and Negative Zone ruler Annihilus. But one villain stands above them all.


Look how cool Doctor Doom is!

Marvel Comics

What Marvel villain will they face off against?

The movie’s villain is unclear, but the Fantastic Four happen to have one of the greatest enemies in comic book history. 

Doctor Doom, also known as Victor Von Doom, was Stan Lee’s favorite baddy because he’s the ruler of his home country, Latveria. First appearing in 1962’s Fantastic Four No. 5, he was Reed’s college rival and ignored his advice about a flaw in a machine he was working on. The resulting explosion messed up Doom’s face, and he took to wearing a signature mask to hide his disfigurement.

Like Reed, Doom’s a super-smart scientist. Along with his mask, he forged an advanced suit of armor, which fills the vacancy left after Tony Stark’s fate in Avengers: Endgame. He has a bunch of robot doppelgangers — Doombots — that can take the fall in his place when heroes best him.

Aside from his scientific ability, Doom is a powerful sorcerer, so he could take on Dr. Strange too. In the comics, he attained ultimate power in both the 1985 and 2015 Secret Wars storylines — he’s one of the few villains worthy of taking on the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s no guarantee Doom actually appear in the first MCU Fantastic Four movie, but he’s so darn cool and iconic that he should show up in some form.

In 2017, Legion creator Noah Hawley said he was working on a Doctor Doom movie, but it’s likely that plan was shelved or altered when Disney bought Fox. In early 2020, he expressed hope that his script fits Marvel Studios’ plan for the character, but noted at the time that he’d heard nothing.

They could also face off against some version of Kang the Conqueror, a time-traveling villain whose MCU counterpart was alluded to in Loki’s season finale. Kang will also appear in 2023’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. He’s battled the Fantastic Four in the comics over the years, and may be related to Reed.

Previous movies

The first stab at bringing the team to the silver screen happened in 1994’s The Fantastic Four, which involved B-movie legend Roger Corman. This was an origin story for the characters, but never released — it’s kinda like the Star Wars Holiday Special of Marvel movies — but there are conflicting stories as to why. If you’re curious, it’s on YouTube and not that bad.


The 2015 Fantastic Four is not worth your time.

20th Century Fox

The team’s first real cinematic outing happened in 2005’s Fantastic Four, directed by Tim Story, with future Captain America Chris Evans as Johnny. Jessica Alba played Sue, Ioan Gruffudd was Reed and Michael Chiklis portrayed Ben. Doom was played by Julian McMahon and this origin story was disappointing. This came out the same year as Batman Begins, and Fantastic Four seemed like a throwback to sillier superhero movies.

That didn’t stop it from getting a sequel, Rise of the Silver Surfer, in 2007. This movie brought in the awesome Silver Surfer (played by Doug Jones and voiced by Laurence Fishburne), but still wasn’t great. It’s also infamous for depicting Galactus as a cosmic storm rather than his traditional comic book form.

The franchise was rebooted in 2015, with director Josh Trank at the helm. That movie had a great cast — Miles Teller as Reed, Kate Mara as Sue, Michael B. Jordan as Johnny, Jamie Bell as Ben and Toby Kebbell as Doom — but it turned out to be a joyless mess. Since then, Trank said he has no interest in directing any more Marvel or DC movies.

Let’s hope the Marvel Studios attempt, whenever we see it, finally gives the Fantastic Four the cinematic outing they deserve.

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