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Marvel’s Fantastic Four: Everything we know about the superhero team’s MCU debut – CNET

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The Thing, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic and the Human Torch are coming to the MCU.

Marvel Comics

As WandaVision brings the Marvel Cinematic Universe to Disney Plus, you might be wondering about other upcoming adventures. We’ve known the Fantastic Four are coming to MCU since Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige namechecked the superteam at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 after Marvel parent company Disney got the rights in its Fox takeover.

Then Feige dropped a major update during last December’s Disney Plus event — the studio is making a new Fantastic Four movie, and it’ll be helmed by Jon Watts (director of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Far From Home and their upcoming sequel.

This movie is still early in production, so let’s look at who the Fantastic Four are, possible casting, release date, and go through the characters’ (ugh) cinematic history.

The basics

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 comic legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. This basically kicked off the Marvel Comics Universe, since the pair cocreated the Avengers and the X-Men shortly afterwards.

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This issue started it all.

Marvel Comics

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. Also Reed’s fiancee.
  • 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 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.

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Look how cool Doctor Doom is!

Marvel Comics

Doom

Doctor Doom, also known as Victor Von Doom, was Stan Lee’s favorite villain 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.

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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, 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.

Casting

There’s no word on casting yet, but fans have long called for The Office‘s John Krasinski to play Reed and Edge of Tomorrow‘s Emily Blunt to be Sue. The real-life husband and wife already played an on-screen couple in 2018’s A Quiet Place, so it’d be excellent to see them bring that dynamic to the MCU.

Release date

You’ll have to be patient, since this movie doesn’t have a release date yet. Marvel’s schedule of upcoming movies and shows for 2021 and 2022 is already packed, and Watts is still working on the third MCU Spidey adventure. It’ll likely be 2023 before Fantastic Four hits theaters.

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.

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The 2015 Fantastic Four is not worth your time.

20th Century Fox

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. In Feige we trust.