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Fantastic Four: Everything we know about their debut

todayJune 1, 2021

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As Marvel Cinematic Universe fans gear up for Loki kicking off on Disney Plus next week, you might be wondering about upcoming movies. Fantastic Four is part of the cinematic lineup — it’ll be helmed by Jon Watts (director of Spider-Man: HomecomingFar From Home and upcoming sequel No Way Home).

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 recent trailer highlighting its upcoming movies, but that didn’t reveal a release date. Marvel’s schedule of upcoming movies and shows for 2021 and 2022 is already packed, and Watts is still working on Spider-Man: No Way Home. 

On May 28, Disney updated its 2023 movie release schedule revealed that we’re getting five MCU movies that year — Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania on Feb. 17, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on May 5 and untitled movies on July 28, Oct. 6 and Nov. 10 — one of the latter three is likely Fantastic Four. 

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 have received a phone call about the roles.

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.

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.

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. 3, 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.

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 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.

First published on July 26, 2019 at 1:06 p.m. PT.


Written by: New Generation Radio

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