MCU fans were all ready to forgive Marvel Studios for forgoing to mention anything about the hotly anticipated Deadpool 3 at the San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year. After all, they more than made up for the folly by announcing that Fantastic Four will be making their MCU debut by kickstarting Phase Six in 2024. So, naturally, everyone expected Marvel to either straight-up introduce the who’s who of the film or at the very least, drop some hints at the recently held D23 Expo. But nada.
While the studio made plenty of announcements, any news pertaining to the superhero team was strangely missing. Since D23 was, unfortunately, lacking any news splash about the cast of the film, it has left fans where they started from — day-dreaming how their favorite actors would look as a part of the Fantastic Four while latching on to any and every rumor claiming that the studio is in talks to rope in a particular star for the film.
So far, we have heard of You star Penn Badgley being approached by the studio to play Reed Richards aka Mister Fantastic, and Killing Eve wonder Jodie Komer bagging the role of Sue Storm aka Invisible Woman. While fans have also been busy speculating an unexpected Gossip Girl reunion where the main cast of the sitcom would debut as Marvel’s First Family, there have also been reports that old-time favorites John Krasinski and Emily Blunt will be playing the lead superhero couple.
Their glaring absence at D23 means that we will have to survive on rumors and wait a lot more to get some concrete information. But we did our waiting, thirteen years of it in Azkaban!…
Oops, switched fandoms there for a second but yeah, the elephant in the room remains…
Why MCU Fantastic Four’s cast wasn’t a part of the D23 announcements
There are three very logical reasons, separately or jointly, fueling this highly disliked decision of the studio. One of them has been pointed out by Deadline’s Justin Kroll in a Twitter thread where he highlighted that Mark Shakman — the WandaVision helmer who has been confirmed to head the arrival of Marvel’s First Family — is a fairly new addition to the project.
While Shakman joining the film is a new occurrence, it was originally decided back in 2020 that the Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts would helm the project. So, the studio must have compiled a list of prospective actors they want to see in the film in all this time, right? Most probably, yes. But Shakman will be bringing his unique vision to the film and Feige must want his opinion on who to cast as which character. This is definitely going to take some time.
There is also the fact that we keep forgetting — Fantastic Four’s release date is November 2024 and that is far away. Yes, yes, Mahershala Ali was cast back in 2019 to star as the titular character of Blade, which will release in 2023. While this has been majorly fueling expectations that Marvel’s First Family will receive a similar treatment, we have to remember that Ali’s casting so early on was not the norm but the exception.
The project is still a year away from beginning production and has two years before it hits the silver screen. We will have another Comic-Con and a D23 Expo before the film’s production hits the floor. It makes more sense for the studio to announce the cast of Fantastic Four close to its production.
Also, Ali will be the sole star of Blade. For Fantastic Four the studio can’t just pick the actors they think will work best as Sue Storm, Reed Richards, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm — they will have to look for ones who are not only perfect for their individual roles but will also work perfectly as a team. That’s going to need some heavy deliberations.
We also have to consider the very possible scenario that Feige simply didn’t want the rest of the announcements at D23 to eat away Fantastic Four’s share of the limelight and also wanted to let the hype around the film rile up further. It is not unheard of for the studio to just up and make a major announcement out of the blue, leaving jaws on the floor. And as fans continue with their cast speculations — which are only getting wilder — it is safe to say that whenever the studio drops this particular bombshell, the Fantastic Four will successfully dominate every conversation.