Star Trek Is Influencing Marvel’s Most Important Upcoming Movie

Director Matt Shakman says his love of Star Trek influenced him to direct Fantastic Four.

By Nathan Kamal | Updated

star trek fantastic four

According to director Matt Shakman, his love of the Star Trek franchise was one of his primary motivations to take on Fantastic Four, the most recent attempt to reboot Marvel’s First Family for the big screen. In a recent interview with Collider, the WandaVision director said “the reason I love Star Trek, I’m sure, is a big part of why I love the Fantastic Four,” which certainly seems like he will be trying to bring some of his affection for the venerable science fiction series to the new MCU movie. While there are few details available about the upcoming movie, this is a tantalizing hint of how the subject matter might be approached.

Star Trek and Fantastic Four do have a lot of historical similarities. As Matt Shakman puts it, the franchises “share a great sense of optimism, the idea of looking to the stars, and technology can save everything,” which is true enough. While Fantastic Four has certainly not been immune to the periodic grim and gritty trends of the world of comic books, its tone of human triumphalism in the face of overwhelming odds is certainly mirrored by Star Trek. 

Shakman goes on to say that both Star Trek and Fantastic Four frequently have themes of “coming together as a family, either a real family in the case of [Fantastic Four], or the family that you find in the case of the Enterprise.” In the former case, one of the great innovations of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee was to form a team of people with actual connections other than the desire to fight crime or cosmic threats, while in the latter, the sheer amount of time you spend in a confined workplace like a spaceship does seem to turn into surrogate families.

Interestingly, Matt Shakman was actually all set up to direct a Star Trek movie, but set it aside for the opportunity to direct Fantastic Four. Though Shakman has only directed one previous feature film (2014’s Cut Bank, a thriller starring Liam Hemsworth and Billy Bob Thornton), it seems that his work on Marvel’s WandaVision knocked him up to the big leagues in terms of franchises. Of course, he had also directed numerous episodes of Game of Thrones, House M.D., and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, so it is not exactly like he was a newbie.

Regardless of how it is influenced by Star Trek, we currently know that Fantastic Four will not be yet another origin story for the team (unlike the 2005 and 2015 movies) and that it is scheduled to be released on February 14, 2025. While we believe the former to be part of Marvel Studios’ ongoing plan (much as Tom Holland’s Spider-Man was introduced in Captain America: Civil War with the assumption fans would get who he was), there have been so many delays to basically every tentpole franchise movie in the last several years that we have some doubts. We’ll just have to see how much Star Trek energy Matt Shakman brings to Fantastic Four in a few years.