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MCU’s Fantastic Four: release date, trailer, cast, plot

The official logo for Marvel Studios' "Fantastic Four."
Marvel

It’s not a coincidence that one of the first Marvel movies announced after Disney purchased 20th Century Fox’s entertainment assets in 2019 was a new reboot of The Fantastic Four. In 1961, Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby launched the Marvel Universe as we know it with Fantastic Four #1, and it was the comic that set the tone for everything that came after.

Because the rights to the Fantastic Four were tied up at Fox for the better part of two decades, FF supporting players like Silver Surfer were withheld from the MCU. Now that the characters are firmly under Marvel Studios’ control, the sky’s the limit for the upcoming reboot. And we’re here to share everything we know about The Fantastic Four so far.

Who has been cast in The Fantastic Four?

The cast of "The Fantastic Four."
Marvel Studios / Marvel Studios

After a very long casting process, Marvel Studios has revealed the primary actors in The Fantastic Four. The Mandalorian and The Last of Us‘ Pedro Pascal will headline the film as Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic, the leader of the Fantastic Four whose powers allow him to stretch his body into almost any shape and size. He is also a genius on par with or even higher than Tony Stark.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning‘s Vanessa Kirby has been cast as Susan Storm, aka Invisible Woman. Her codename actually undersells her power because Susan isn’t just limited to turning invisible. She can turn anything else invisible and create invisible objects around her that can be used as weapons or shields. Susan’s role in the comic was originally the damsel in distress before she was re-envisioned as a powerful heroine in her own right. In almost every incarnation of the team, she is either Reed’s girlfriend or his wife.

Stranger Things‘ Joseph Quinn is playing Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch, a role most recently played by Michael B. Jordan and Chris Evans. Given that pedigree, Quinn has a lot to live up to. However, we recently reviewed some of Quinn’s movie and TV roles, which demonstrate that he isn’t limited to playing characters like Eddie Munson. Johnny’s powers give him complete control over fire, and they also allow him to fly.

Finally, Ebon Moss-Bachrach is slated to play Benjamin Grimm, aka the Thing. Unlike the other members of the team, Ben’s powers create a physical mutation that makes him look like a rock monster. That power also gives Ben incredible physical strength, nearly on the level of the Hulk. Moss-Bachrach previously portrayed Micro/David Lieberman in Marvel’s Netflix TV series, The Punisher. He also appeared in Andor season 1.

The little robot in the left-hand corner suggests that H.E.R.B.I.E. will be featured in the film. The Humanoid Experimental Robot, B-type, Integrated Electronics was created for the 1978 Fantastic Four animated series in place of the Human Torch. And H.E.R.B.I.E. was later integrated into the comics as well.

Ozark‘s Julia Garner has also been cast in The Fantastic Four as the MCU’s Silver Surfer. In a departure from comic book canon, Silver Surfer will not be a man named Norrin Radd from Zenn-La. Instead, Garner’s Silver Surfer will be Norrin’s lover, Shalla-Bal. And if the Silver Surfer is in this movie, it means that her master, Galactus, can’t be far behind.

Who is directing and writing The Fantastic Four?

If you’re a fan of mainstream geeky pop culture, there’s a good chance Matt Shakman was involved — the rising director sits down with @jacobkleinman to talk #Godzilla, his new @appletv MonsterVerse show, the #MCU, and more. https://t.co/klnYAvnBnr pic.twitter.com/azMXEUOjbm

— Inverse (@inversedotcom) November 8, 2023

Matt Shakman is directing The Fantastic Four on a screenplay by Josh Friedman, Jeff Kaplan, and Ian Springer. Shakman is best known for executive producing and directing all nine episodes of WandaVision. Shakman’s recent directorial credits include one episode of The Consultant and two episodes of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. In an interview with Inverse, Shakman explained how he will use the comics, not the previous film adaptations, as his source of inspiration for The Fantastic Four.

“I’m not so much looking at the other movies,” Shakman said. “I’m looking at the comics themselves. I’m a huge comic book fan. I’ve been a big fan of the Fantastic Four since I was a kid. So going back to Kirby and Lee and Byrne and following all the way up to what’s happening, certainly, Hickman and Waid and Ryan North, what he’s been doing. I’m trying to figure out who these characters are to me and how to bring them to life in the best possible way, and that’s really where I’ve started and how we’ve approached it.”

Jon Watts, the director of the MCU’s Spider-Man trilogy, was originally attached to direct The Fantastic Four. However, Watts exited the project in April 2022, citing a need for a break from the superhero genre.

What’s the plot of The Fantastic Four?

Because the film is in such an early stage, there are some questions that we’re just not going to be able to answer yet. This is one of them. Three of the four previous Fantastic Four movies have dealt with the team’s origin story. Marvel’s Kevin Feige has indicated that the MCU’s reboot will follow the example of the most recent Spider-Man trilogy by simply skipping the origin altogether.

There have been rumors that The Fantastic Four film may be set during the ’60s, and the recently released promo art has a throwback aesthetic and logo that may give credence to those theories. But for now, that remains unconfirmed.

Who are the villains in The Fantastic Four?

Doctor Doom strikes a menacing pose.
Marvel Comics

There are two obvious choices: Doctor Doom and Galactus. Doctor Doom, aka Victor Von Doom, has been featured in every single Fantastic Four movie to date. The comic book incarnation of Doom is one of the most popular villains in Marvel’s lineup. In cinematic terms, Doom could easily be the new Thanos. Marvel needs someone to fill that major bad-guy role, especially now that Jonathan Majors has been fired from playing Kang in the future.

Galactus looms large in an image from Marvel Comics.
Marvel Comics

Galactus is a planet-eating alien who appears as a giant humanoid. He was the largely unseen nemesis in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, but comic book fans took issue with Galactus’ depiction in that film as a giant space cloud. Presumably, the MCU reboot won’t make the same mistake.

There’s also an argument to be made that both Doom and Galactus are too big for the FF’s first MCU movie. Both characters may be better served by more build-up to their respective debuts. If Marvel wants to give the franchise a fresh start, it might be a good idea to avoid simply retreading the four movies that came before this one. Especially since the team does have other villains who could convincingly be portrayed as a threat in the movie, like Annihilus. But until Marvel reveals who has been cast as the villain, we won’t know which threat the Fantastic Four will face.

Is Kang related to Reed Richards?

Kang walks on a battlefield in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Marvel Studios

Yes, at least in Marvel’s comic book universe. Their connection may be downplayed or simply ignored in the MCU. Kang’s real name is Nathaniel Richards, which tends to confuse casual fans because that’s also Reed’s father’s name. The older Nathaniel Richards is a time-traveling scientist and explorer who is the common ancestor of both Reed and Kang. Years after Reed was born, Nathaniel met a woman named Cassandra, who lived in one of Earth’s alternate timelines, and he had children with her. Kang’s familial link to Nathaniel is through his union with Cassandra, who gave birth to his direct ancestor.

That may be a bit too much for comic book movie fans to absorb. So, if there is a link to Kang and Reed in the MCU, it will likely be simplified. Kang was also one of the first Fantastic Four villains during his time as Rama-Tut in ancient Egypt.

The Fantastic Four will be a ‘big pillar’ of the MCU’s future

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige opens up about the upcoming 'Fantastic Four' movie, teasing it as a 'big pillar' of the MCU's future plans. https://t.co/nCWujPfjTQ

— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) February 15, 2023

Without Iron Man or Captain America, Marvel needs new leaders. Could the members of the Fantastic Four be the new torchbearers of the MCU? According to Feige, Marvel has big plans for the Fantastic Four.  “We plan on that [The Fantastic Four] being a big pillar of the MCU going forward, just the way they’ve been in the comics for 50 or 60 years,” Feige told EW.

Is there a trailer for The Fantastic Four yet?

No. Casting hasn’t even been finished, nor has a start date for production been revealed. So, it’s far too early for any movie footage to be cut together as a trailer. Marvel typically likes to share first looks at its films during big events like D23 or San Diego Comic-Con, but it’s doubtful that a full trailer for The Fantastic Four will be ready for 2024 unless it’s saved a debut at December’s CCXP in Brazil, which is emerging as one of the biggest comic conventions in the world.

If a CCXP premiere is out, then the public debut of The Fantastic Four‘s first trailer probably won’t come until early 2025.

When will The Fantastic Four be released?

Marvel Studios' The Fantastic Four arrives in theaters July 25, 2025. pic.twitter.com/JZGKJvimEn

— Fantastic Four (@FantasticFour) February 14, 2024

The Fantastic Four will hit theaters on Friday, July 25, 2025.

Has The Fantastic Four begun filming?

In October 2023, Shakman told Collider that The Fantastic Four would begin filming in spring 2024 at London’s Pinewood Studios. However, the Hollywood strikes pushed the start of filming back to the third quarter of 2024. Filming is now expected to begin in summer 2024, putting it on track to hit is 2025 release date.

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