It’s tough to be a Fantastic Four fan. The team has been involved in some of the most iconic storylines since launching the modern Marvel continuity almost 70 years ago, boasts some of the best villains of any Marvel comic, and features a really engaging and rare family dynamic. Unfortunately, after many, many attempts, we have yet to see a great movie adaptation of Marvel’s first family.
However, Marvel fans are hopeful once again. With the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four returning to Marvel and Disney and Kevin Feige at the helm, could we finally get the Fantastic Four movie we deserve?
What exactly would that movie look like? How can the FF fit into the current MCU? Let’s take a look at the potential plot and casting choices for a Fantastic Four movie.
One thing the movies have gotten wrong (and the 2015 F4ntastic got really wrong) is the fact that the Fantastic Four aren’t a superhero team. They are a family of explorers.
A Fantastic Four movie that focuses on both of those words has the opportunity to be something wholly unique to the MCU and to superhero movies in general.
The Fantastic Four Are Astronauts
While the MCU has made a space opera with Guardians of the Galaxy and has explored different dimensions with Doctor Strange and Ant-Man, Fantastic Four is an opportunity to really go out there. Classic Fantastic Four stories find the group exploring the Negative Zone, discovering a lost underwater civilization or going back in time to view the Big Bang as it happens.
In 2012, Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley relaunched the Fantastic Four series with a storyline that saw the family embark on a long-term expedition through time and space which Reed used as a way to secretly investigate why their powers were degrading. This story is a good starting point for a couple of reasons:
Where have the Fantastic Four been?
The classic shared universe problem. Why didn’t they help with all of the catastrophic events of the past decade? This offers a simple explanation: They were in the Negative Zone, or lost in an alternate dimension, or inside a bottle city where time works differently. Sending them on a long expedition allows you to skip the origin story, bring back an established Fantastic Four team, and explain where they’ve been.
Instead of investigating their powers degrading, Reed could be investigating the origin of their powers or even looking for a way to help reverse Ben’s condition. This allows it to serve as a first outing for the team and address their power sets.
The actual area/dimension/time/planet they end up travelling to could depend on where the MCU plans to take their next major arc. Perhaps the Fantastic Four find evidence of the Annihilation Wave (or even cause it), leading to the Annihilation storyline. Maybe they run into some Skrulls or Captain Marvel, helping lead into Secret Invasion.
The Fantastic Four Are a Family
One of the most celebrated Fantastic Four comic runs is Mark Waid’s run in the early 2000s. He puts the focus squarely on the family dynamic and removes any real crime-fighting. This is another major unique thing about The Fantastic Four; they are literally a family. While the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy do become very close and treat each other this way, Reed and Sue are married, Johnny is Sue’s little brother, and their kids, Franklin and Valeria, call the Thing Uncle Ben.
Yes, I mention the kids Franklin and Valeria, which is another opportunity the movies have missed out on. The best way to differentiate the FF from other teams is to bring along Reed and Sue’s two young children. In most comics they are aged under ten years old, although they do eventually grow up to be some of the most powerful characters in the Marvel universe. This can introduce some really unique challenges and storylines to their adventures.
Casting the Fantastic Four
Mr. Fantastic – John Krazinski
We’re going with some really obvious and often mentioned casting choices for a few of the team members because they just work so well. Reed Richards needs to be a tough and determined leader for the team. He is also a huge science nerd that goes on long streams of consciousness. John Krazinski has been circling superhero roles for over a decade now. While he definitely has the action hero chops, he wasn’t the right choice for Captain America. This role gives him the opportunity to play the serious scientist/hero while also letting a dorkier side show.
The Invisible Woman – Emily Blunt
While it certainly doesn’t hurt that John Krazinski and Emily Blunt are married, they’d each individually earn their spot on this list. While Reed is the “team leader”, Sue is definitely the leader of the family. She is the strongest and most willful member, constantly working to keep her kids safe while supporting the team’s exploration. Emily Blunt definitely has the strength and authority to pull off the superhero side of things and her role in A Quiet Place clearly shows she can handle the drama associated with keeping a family safe from supernatural horrors.
The Human Torch – Zac Efron
Let’s face it, the Human Torch is a bit arrogant and self-obsessed. However, he’s well-meaning and sincere enough that you love him for it. Zac Efron has proven he can play the cocky guy without being unlikeable. He’s got the exact mix of arrogance and charisma that Johnny needs. Age-wise he is just 7 years younger than Emily Blunt, which is a good range for the annoying younger brother. With both actors in their 30s we’re definitely going for a more mature and established version of the team, which fits well with the family theme.
The Thing – Vincent D’Onofrio
While he’s already played Wilson Fisk in Daredevil, Vincent D’Onofrio is the best choice to bring the Thing to life. I really liked the prosthetics they put Michael Chiklis in for the Tim Story Fantastic Four movies, but wouldn’t be surprised if they decide to go CGI here after the success of Professor Hulk in Endgame. Either way, Kingpin’s face will be completely hidden. Hopefully, D’Onofrio is able to do the motion capture to bring his physicality to the role as well as his commanding voice. More importantly, Ben Grimm is the most pained and tragic member of the family. D’Onofrio is the best actor to display the gruff exterior and booming voice while also demonstrating this more wounded side of the character.
What do you think of these story and actor choices? How would you approach an MCU Fantastic Four movie? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @UndertheCapes.