With 29 movies and a bunch of series already under its belt, one would think that Marvel had handled all of the stories it could reasonably tell on the big and small screen. That thought would be incorrect. If anything, it feels like things are only ramping up at the studio with more and more films and shows already in various stages of production. It’s going to be a fruitful few years for the studio and we are going to get a whole host of new characters. One of the most anticipated films, for some time now, is Marvel’s Fantastic Four which had been rumored for a while and is now set to hit theaters with a specific date.
Let’s take a look at everything we know about Fantastic Four when it will release in theaters, who are taking over key roles, and what kind of story it could tell. There’s a lot to dive into even for a movie so far off into the future.
WHO ARE THE FANTASTIC FOUR?
As one of the most popular and well-known groups of heroes in the Marvel Universe, it makes sense that fans have been itching for this foursome to make a debut in the MCU. But there’s also likely been reasons Kevin Feige and company have waited so long to do so.
The Fantastic Four is comprised of Reed Richards, Susan Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm. But you might know them better as their superhero alias Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, and Thing. The group first hit comic book stands in 1961 with a story that somewhat mirrored the United States’s budding fascination and move towards outer space. The group was on a mission into the great unknown there when they were hit by cosmic rays which altered their bodies. Each ended up with a specific superpower.
Mister Fantastic can stretch and bend into basically any shape, Invisible Woman really needs no explanation, Human Torch gets a little hot under the collar, and Thing essentially turned into full-on stone with super strength to boot.
Over the years the Fantastic Four have had stories that dovetailed with nearly every character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The timeline is a rich one meaning this upcoming movie can go in just about any direction.
WHAT WILL IT BE ABOUT?
While we aren’t sure exactly how Fantastic Four will unfold, it at least looks like we know how it won’t go down. That’s because Kevin Feige has already confirmed that the movie won’t be an origin story. He told The Hollywood Reporter, “A lot of people know this origin story. A lot of people know the basics. How do we take that and bring something that they’ve never seen before.”
In many ways, this is a good sign and it likely means we will see references or maybe even appearances by the characters leading into the movie. Marvel has been good with these kinds of teases in the past, and if we are picking up the story mid-stream then there’s no reason to hold back and not give a morsel or two about the characters and group leading out of Phase 5.
Not taking the origin story theme with Fantastic Four is something Marvel has done here and there with the MCU timeline so far. For instance, we picked up Tom Holland’s Peter Parker story when he was already becoming established as Spider-Man. Scarlet Johansson’s Black Widow was somewhat similar though we did retroactively get an origin there when it was all said and done. So while Marvel often wants to give the full background, it’s good to know they won’t want to do the same with the Fantastic Four. Much like Spiderman, we already know how things played out at the beginning.
After it not being an origin story, some of the Fantastic Four plot will likely have to do while we (mostly) haven’t seen them up until now. The Multiverse cures some of these issues, but in the base timeline, they’ve been conspicuously absent even during the whole Infinity Saga. If any group should have kind of seen Thanos coming it would have been these folks. But they weren’t around at all. That will require at least some plausible explanation.
WHO WILL BE IN FANTASTIC FOUR?
We’ve already seen two versions of the Fantastic Four on the big screen. The first set had two movies with Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, and Michael Chiklis in the lead roles. This was in 2005, a few years prior to Iron Man kicking off the MCU. That movie and its follow-up Rise of the Silver Surfer were generally panned, struggling to come up with a coherent story while the effects left quite a bit to be desired.
Then, in 2015 Josh Trank took a stab with a reboot movie that had Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell as the foursome. Somehow, this one did even worse at both the box office and with critics. Any thoughts of a sequel were quickly scrapped.
And then, in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, we got our first real reference that the Fantastic Four were alive and kicking somewhere in the MCU. That’s because John Krasinski played a version of Reed Richards who sat on the Illuminati council along with Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier, Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter, Black Bolt, and Lashana Lynch’s Captain Marvel. This group struggled, to say the least, with the Scarlett Witch and it sure doesn’t look like we are going to see Krasinski back in the Richards role.
In fact, none of these folks will be back for Fantastic Four and we are set to get an all-new casting for the group. Additionally, we could see the first inclusion of Doctor Doom around this time. He’s the archrival of the group and with the way the MCU is heading towards Secret Wars to finish off Phase 6, setting the table here would make some sense.
WHO WILL DIRECT?
This is another piece that’s up in the cosmos as of right now. Originally Jon Watts was supposed to helm the film, adding quite a bit of excitement around what to expect when it finally hit the big screen. He was responsible for the Spider-Man: Homecoming trilogy of films which concluded masterfully with No Way Home. But he stepped away from the project earlier in the year. Even with filming set to get underway next year, they still need to fill out this part of the crew.
WHEN WILL FANTASTIC FOUR RELEASE?
Even with all of the unknowns, there is one piece of news Marvel has set in relative stone. That’s the release date for Fantastic Four. It is set to hit theaters on November 8, 2024. So there’s quite a bit of time to fill in some of the blanks for the movie. It’s already gearing up to be one of the biggest Marvel has ever made.