Marvel’s Fantastic Four: The Director Quits, Fans Know Who They Want As Replacement

By Ross Bonaime

fantastic four

The Fantastic Four have had a strange history at the movies. After 2005’s Fantastic Four and 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the franchise remained dormant, until 2015’s Fantastic Four, which was both a critical and commercial failure. But with The Walt Disney Company acquiring 21st Century Fox in 2017, Disney and Marvel Studios now have the rights to Fantastic Four, and seem ready to introduce them into their Marvel Cinematic Universe.

With the Fantastic Four now on the way, let’s take a look at everything we know about Marvel’s Fantastic Four.

Fans Want John Krasinski To Replace Watts

john krasinski

In May 2022, in the wake of the news that Jon Watts was leaving Fantastic Four as director, fans began petitioning to get John Krasinski to replace him. Along with being the acclaimed director of the A Quiet Place films, Krasinski has long been fan cast as Reed Richards. At least one fan posted an interview clip that seemed to indicate The Office star was open to working for Marvel.

Fantastic Four’s Director Bows Out

During The Walt Disney Company’s Investor Day Presentation on December 11, 2020, Kevin Feige revealed that the director of Fantastic Four would be Jon Watts. With Watts’ great reputation among fans as director of all three MCU Spider-Man films, that was good news to most. Unfortunately, there was bad news on the way.

At the end of April 2022, Watts announced he was leaving Fantastic Four. The director said his departure had nothing to do with any creative disagreements between himself and the studio. Instead, after directing three Spider-Man films including the hugely successful Spider-Man: No Way Home, he said he was burnt out on superhero fare and needed a break from the genre.

Marvel’s Fantastic Four Reveal

Fantastic Four

At their 2019 San Diego Comic Con presentation, Marvel and studio head Kevin Feige announced a ton of projects. Feige unveiled the majority of Marvel’s Phase Four plans, unveiling huge revelations about films like Thor: Love and Thunder, Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Marvel’s upcoming slate of Disney+ television series. While the big reveal seemed to be that Mahershala Ali would be playing Blade, the major surprise was Feige mentioning he didn’t have time to get into the studio’s plans for mutants or the Fantastic Four.

The comment was quickly thrown off, but Kevin Feige knew that fans that had been eagerly anticipated another Fantastic Four film would latch onto this tiny nugget. No other news would be made about Marvel’s plans for the Fantastic Four for almost a year-and-a-half, but that hasn’t stopped the Marvel Cinematic Universe audience from fan-casting and making their own predictions, right down to hoping that John Krasinski and Emily Blunt might be playing Reed Richards and Sue Storm, respectively. That seems unlikely to happen, as Emily Blunt called the genre “exhausted” and said that superhero movies were not for her.

When Will the Fantastic Four Be Revealed?

Fantastic Four

Phase Four is already packed with an incredible amount of films and television series, yet even without a release date at this point, Marvel has Fantastic Four announced as a Phase Four film. As of right now, that means Phase Four will be at least eleven films, with it seems likely that Fantastic Four might be the film to conclude this next phase.

Yet that doesn’t mean the team won’t be introduced before that. With WandaVision opening up the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the idea of multiverses, many have theorized that the way to bring Fantastic Four into the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be simply by plucking them out from another universe.

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Fantastic Four

On the other hand, there are a few other options that would likely be closer to the Fantastic Four’s own film. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness implies the multiverse insanity right there in the name, and while Spider-Man 3 will bring characters from the past into the present, the film may already be too packed to also include the Fantastic Four. 

But at this point, it seems likely that we will be introduced to the Fantastic Four in some capacity around the time of 2023’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Marvel has announced that Jonathan Majors, star of HBO’s Lovecraft Country and The Last Black Man in San Francisco, will be playing Kang the Conquerer in the third Ant-Man film. Considering Kang the Conquerer was introduced in a Fantastic Four comic and was a major enemy of the foursome, it would seem strange for the Fantastic Four to not be around close to the time that Kang is introduced. 

When Is Fantastic Four Coming Out?

Fantastic Four

While there’s no set release date for Fantastic Four, the film is set for Marvel’s Phase Four, which currently looks to stretch from to the end of 2023. With Jon Watts leaving the film and a new director needing to be chosen, it seems likely we’re looking at — at the earliest — a 2025 release.