Fantastic Four was revealed to the opening movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 6 during the summer, and Disney revealed on Tuesday that its release date was pushed back to February 2025. Let's dive into the movie's director and a few casting options, as well as the characters' comic and cinematic history.
It'll hit theaters on Feb. 14, 2025, Disney said Tuesday, pushing it back from its previous Nov. 8, 2024 release date.
Casting: Who will play the Fantastic Four?
No casting has been announced. Fans have long called for The Office's John Krasinski to play stretchy team leader Reed Richards (aka Mr. Fantastic), and their wish came true in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Krasinski's take on Reed appears as a member of the Illuminati, an elite group of heroes Strange encounters in a parallel reality. He and several of his allies are quickly killed by Wanda Maximoff.
However, this wasn't the mainline MCU Reed, and it's unclear if Krasinski will return to play that version of the character.
Edge of Tomorrow's Emily Blunt is also a popular fan choice to play Richards' wife Sue Storm (aka 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.
"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?" he told the showbiz publication.
That'll put Fantastic Four in a similar position to 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming, which skipped over Peter Parker's extremely familiar origin tale to focus on establishing his supporting cast and place in the MCU.
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.
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 (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. He 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 (soon to be seen in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), 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.
What Marvel villain will the Fantastic Four face?
The movie's villain is unknown, but the Fantastic Four comics 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 king of his home country, Latveria, and therefore has diplomatic immunity. 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 can 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 will 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.
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. It's kinda like the Star Wars Holiday Special of Marvel movies. This was an origin story for the characters, but it was never released and there are conflicting stories as to why. If you're curious, it's on YouTube and not that bad.
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 in comparison the Fantastic Four movie seemed like a throwback to sillier superhero films.
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 finally gives the Fantastic Four the cinematic outing they deserve.