Everything you need to know about MCU’s Fantastic Four

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 since the Silver Surfer is in this movie, that gave fans the confirmation that her master, Galactus, is coming as well.

Julia Garner in The Assistant.
Bleecker Street

Deadline reported on May 2 that Richard Jewell star Paul Walter Hauser has also signed on to The Fantastic Four in a mystery role. But if we had to guess, Hauser would be a terrific choice to play the team’s first villain: the Mole Man. Given Hauser’s rising star in Hollywood, including roles in The Naked Gun reboot and Inside Out 2, it doesn’t seem likely that Marvel would sign him for a nondescript background character. But we’ll just have to wait until we hear more details about who he’s playing in the film.

Additionally, Deadline revealed on May 9 that John Malkovich has landed a mystery role in the film. This won’t be Malkovich’s first comic book movie. He previously had a supporting role in Red and its sequel, which were based on a comic of the same name. Malkovich doesn’t take a lot of sci-fi adjacent roles, although he was supposedly Sam Raimi’s top choice to play the Vulture in the abandoned Spider-Man 4 movie.

Ralph Ineson stares ahead in The Witch.
A24

Deadline has confirmed that Ralph Ineson will play the primary villain, Galactus. Ineson has actually appeared once before in the MCU as a Ravager pilot in Guardians of the Galaxy. But this is a much bigger role, literally. Galactus’ comic book counterpart is a massive humanoid. He only looks human when viewed by actual humans. To the other races in the universe, Galactus appears to be one of their own.

Charlie on the phone, looking shocked in a scene from Poker Face on Peacock.
Phillip Caruso / Peacock

Even after Galactus was cast, The Fantastic Four is still adding performers. Via Deadline, Natasha Lyonne has been cast in an undisclosed role. The interesting thing about this casting choice is that there’s no obvious character for Lyonne to play in the FF mythos. She’s about two decades older than Alicia Masters, the love interest of the Thing.

And playing the Fantastic Four’s robot receptionist, Roberta, seems like a smaller role than something Lyonne would be interested in. Lyonne is best known for starring in Poker Face for Peacock and Russian Doll for Netflix.

Who is directing and writing The Fantastic Four?

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?

The primary villain of the movie is Galactus, 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. Thankfully, the MCU reboot won’t make the same mistake.

Doctor Doom strikes a menacing pose.
Marvel Comics

Doctor Doom hasn’t been cast in the film yet, but wherever the Fantastic Four go, Victor Von Doom is sure to follow. Doom has been featured in every single Fantastic Four movie to date. The comic book incarnation of Doom is also 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.

There’s also an argument to be made that putting both Doom and Galactus in the same Fantastic Four movie might be overkill. If Doom is sitting out until the sequel, that may prove to be a better idea.

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.

Can Fantastic Four overcome superhero fatigue?

While Deadpool and Wolverine is likely going to be a hit, The Fantastic Four is going to be one of the big tests of whether the MCU brand can rebound after Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels disappointed at all levels. During an interview with EW, Joseph Quinn was asked about whether the film can overcome superhero fatigue. And he assured fans that the creative team wants to get everything right.

“I think that with the story of the Fantastic Four, it feels like we want to get this right,” Quinn said. “There are aspects of it that are very different to other Marvel films. That felt very compelling to me. And again, going back to who’s involved, Matt, of course, the director, I think is brilliant, and the cast, and I’ve read it and the script is brilliant. It’s really brilliant. I’m delighted to have this opportunity.”

“Superhero movies are movies about people,” Quinn continued. “And if we’re invested in the people and the characters and the peril and the spectacle, then that’s why people go to the theaters to watch films. We’re not just in a penny; we’re in for a pound with this one. We’re going to go for it.”

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

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, 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?

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.