With Marvel finishing up the slate of movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four, we are inching closer to the previously announced Fantastic Four. Dubbed Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four is made up of Reed Richards, AKA Mister Fantastic, Susan Storm, AKA the Invisible Woman, Johnny Storm, AKA the Human Torch, and Ben Grimm, AKA The Thing.
The Thing was created in 1964 for The Fantastic Four #1, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, alongside the rest of the Fantastic Four. Ben Grimm’s exposure to cosmic rays turned his body into rocks, making him nearly indestructible and extremely strong. In the 2005 Fantastic Four, Michael Chiklis played the character, while in the 2015 reboot, The Thing was portrayed by Jamie Bell. With the MCU’s Fantastic Four due to come out soon, who could play the Thing, whether it be his physical form, his voice, or both?
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
Puns aside, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson would be a great choice to portray the Thing’s physical form — he’s certainly built enough for it. Dwayne Johnson is no stranger to superhero films either, as he is about to take flight as the DC anti-hero and common Shazam supervillain, Black Adam, in the movie of the same name. His voice might not fit the character though, as Grimm should have a thick New York accent. He also might be too old to portray Ben Grimm, as he is currently fifty years old.
Johnson is best known for his roles in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Ballers, Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, Tooth Fairy, and his career in WWE. His star power also might detract from the other members of the Fantastic Four, which wouldn’t be ideal for a team-up movie.
John Cena might be best known, like The Rock, for his WWE career. However, he recently made waves as Peacemaker in James Gunn’s Suicide Squad and HBO’s Peacemaker series. He also starred in Fast & Furious 9, Trainwreck, and Bumblebee. He might also be a little older than Marvel is looking for, as he is forty-five years old, but we could definitely see Cena pulling off the physicality of the role, as well as the voice.
It would be difficult to see him balance the tragedy of the character compared to his banter with Johnny Storm, so if John Cena were cast, it might be a drastic difference from his characterization in the comics. Our main gripe with John Cena portraying The Thing is that he might outperform Invisible Woman if he were cast as the character because you can’t see him.
Alan Ritchson might be a great pick for both Ben Grimm and The Thing. Ritchson might be best known for his recent stint as Jack Reacher in Amazon Prime Video’s Reacher, or for his roles in Titans, Smallville, or the 2014 reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and its sequel. Ritchson has the stocky build needed for The Thing and is only thirty-nine years old, being one of the younger actors on this list.
He would definitely be able to portray the rough exterior of The Thing, and his voice could easily work as Ben Grimm. In fact, he might be a good choice to play Ben Grimm pre-transformation anyway, as he does seem like the type who could pull off Grimm from the comic books.
Dean Norris would most likely be best known for his role as Hank Schrader, Walter White’s brother-in-law who was a DEA Agent, in Breaking Bad, a role in which he showed formidable range. You might also recognize Norris from Under the Dome, The Big Bang Theory, Scandal or more recently Claws. Norris also appeared in Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Total Recall.
Unfortunately, if Marvel is introducing their first family as an origin story, Dean Norris might be too old for the role at fifty-nine years old. This is quite a shame because he has a similar look to Michael Chiklis, who played the role previously, and you could easily see him voicing the character.
DeVito might just be the least likely actor to be The Thing on this list. Maybe if the Asgardian theater troupe from Thor Ragnarok ever does a show about the Fantastic Four, Danny DeVito would be a good cameo for their version of The Thing.
But you can’t look at his work and say that Danny DeVito is not perfect to voice The Thing. Sure, his physicality might need some work, since he’s the shortest and oldest on this list at seventy-seven years old and four-foot-ten-inches tall. If somehow you don’t know DeVito’s body of work, he is most known for his long-running role on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and from his roles in Matilda, Taxi, Batman Returns, and Twins.
One of the odder picks on this list, Jason Segel might be a good pick to play Ben Grimm / The Thing. Best known for his role as Marshall Eriksen in How I Met Your Mother, Jason Segel is tall enough to portray the rocky giant, measuring up just shorter than Dwayne Johnson at 1.93 meters.
Jason Segel also starred in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and has more recently appeared in the film Windfall and the series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. He might be able to pull off the comedic side of the character and as Marshall Eriksen, he did have his fair share of emotional scenes, so he could play the tragedy of The Thing. Plus, he does seem to be one of the favorites among fans.
David Krumholtz might be second to Danny DeVito in being low on Marvel’s list for the role of The Thing. He’s not overly aged out of the role, as he is only forty-four, but he doesn’t have the bulking physicality that some of the other actors on this list have. You might recognize him from Numb3rs, The Good Wife, Hail Caesar! or The Deuce.
The actor also did post a photo of the Thing on Instagram, referring to Marvel having personal trainers to get their actors into shape. He has seemingly taken the post down since and has actually posted a picture of the Mole Man, one of the villains of the Fantastic Four, with the caption, “Lobbying”. He might actually fit Mole Man better.
Daveed Diggs is best known for playing the roles of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the hit Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, Hamilton. More recently, you may have spotted him in the series, Snowpiercer. He is forty years old, so he is more suited to the age of the role and he isn’t exactly short in stature — measuring at six feet.
The part of the character that Daveed Diggs suits the most is his voice. If you have seen any of his work, you know that he has vocal range, and could easily perform the voice of a weathered New Yorker. He could also undoubtedly handle the banter between The Thing and the Human Torch, which a Fantastic Four film would surely need.
Most known for his role as Randy in My Name is Earl or for his roles in The Ranch, Remember the Titans, John Q, and Mallrats, Ethan Suplee would be a great choice for The Thing. Since the days of My Name is Earl, Suplee has gotten in incredible shape. Some of the actors on this list might not fit the physical capabilities of The Thing, but Ethan Suplee certainly comes close, measuring at six feet and one inch.
Suplee recently played a character in the videogame The Quarry, where his tremendous shape was evident. He could play the tragedy of Ben Grimm quite well too, and if the films were to introduce Franklin and Valeria Richards, Suplee would have no trouble playing the fun uncle, either.
Best known for his role as Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story, Alden Ehrenreich would actually be a great pick for both Ben Grimm and The Thing. He has the looks of Ben Grimm, and could probably pull off the voice based on his accent in Hail Caesar! alone. His physicality is not on the level of John Cena or Dwayne Johnson, but with a good amount of motion capture, Ehrenreich could be great.
Alden was reportedly also recently cast in the upcoming Disney Plus series, Ironheart, which will be set in the MCU. Ironheart will tell the story of a girl named Riri Williams, who is as brilliant as Tony Stark was and makes her own version of Tony’s Iron Man suits. It’s unclear who Ehrenreich will be playing, but that could be because Ironheart might contain the first appearance of Marvel’s first family.
Who could voice The Thing?
Marvel could always cast an actor as Ben Grimm and get another actor to perform the voice and some of the motion capture, if The Thing is truly turned into an unrecognizable rock monster. For the voice, two actors who could play the part are Ron Pearlman and Clancy Brown. Ron Pearlman is probably best known for his performance as Hellboy in Hellboy and Hellboy 2, as well as his role in Sons of Anarchy.
Clancy Brown, on the other hand, is known for both his live-action and voice work. He was most recently in Dexter: New Blood, but you might also recognize him from The Flash, Shawshank Redemption, or Billions. As for his voice, his most famous role is most likely Mr. Krabs from Spongebob Squarepants. But, over the years, he has voiced Lex Luthor, Thunderbolt Ross, and Savage Opress from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. If you know either of these two actors, you’ll recognize that their voices are uniquely suited for The Thing, and if Marvel goes down the voice actor route, these two actors would be perfect.
We should know who will be playing the Fantastic Four cast soon, as San Diego Comic-Con is currently taking place, and Disney’s D23 is up-and-coming in September. As these are the two events primed for Marvel announcements, it will be great to finally find out who will be playing the kid from Yancy Street, Ben Grimm.