During San Diego Comic Con, President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige dropped an enormous, though expected, bombshell, confirming that plans were being developed to get the Fantastic Four into the MCU.
Now, if you are a Marvel fan, by literally any stretch, this news has to have lit you on fire.
Despite three iffy (at best) movies since 2000, the Fantastic Four remain one of the most iconic superhero teams ever. They still hold a certain level of respect, particularly among comic fans, as the first family of superheros.
While I am new to actually reading comics, Jonathan Hickman’s transcendent Fantastic Four run was truly remarkable and made me fall in love with the characters.
As soon as Disney finalized its purchase of Fox, giving it access to not only the Fantastic Four, but the X-Men as well, I began absolutely jonesing for a film adaptation.
So with that in mind, I decided to offer up my casting services. I do have a bit of experience in that arena after all. Fair warning, I tried to stretch my choices outside the box, for the most part anyway, so proceed with caution.
Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards
In my mind, there are only two options for this role, though I must admit I only really struggled to cast one of these characters.
John Krasinski aka Jim from The Office aka Jack Ryan aka as Jacked and Handsome movie star, is often bandied about as THE OBVIOUS choice to play Reed Richards.
Which is exactly why I couldn’t pick him.
It feels like Marvel rarely, if ever, makes the obvious choice to play a character. Sure, in retrospect its almost always impossible to picture anyone else in the role, but equally as often, their casting choices are initially met with skepticism and shock.
Now there are exceptions obviously such as Kurt Russell as Ego (though villains tend to be fairly big name actors), and super famous actors appearing it bit roles, or Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, but for the most part I think it is reasonable to say that Marvel tends to go mid-tier in casting big roles.
All that said, Krasinski would make an exceptional Reed Richards. He can do smart, he can do funny, he can do serious, he can do action…
But to me, the best Reed would be Matt Bomer.
Probably “best known” for his role as renowned con-artist/FBI informant Neil Caffrey on USA Network’s White Collar, Bomer displays all of the characteristics necessary to play Reed Richards.
Although Reed’s superpower is technically his ability to stretch his body into different lengths and shapes, his real super power is his essentially unparalleled intellect. The guy essentially makes all the geniuses we’ve seen in the MCU so far look like dummies.
In White Collar, Bomer believably plays the smartest guy in every room he walks into. He also already has the required physique for the role, though he may be asked to put on a bit more muscle.
Finally, his fame wouldn’t drown out the character. You would see Reed Richards when he walked onscreen, not Jim or John Krasinski.
Others receiving consideration: John Krasinski (The Office), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek)
The Invisible Woman/Sue Storm
Though there are a litany of qualified actresses, any of whom could capably play the role of Sue Storm, this was an insanely easy role to cast.
Sarah Gadon is the ONLY Sue Storm I want in the MCU.
She is beautiful, has shown serious acting chops and whip smarts in a variety of roles on Hulu and Netflix shows.
Others receiving consideration: Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaids Tale), Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones), Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect)
The Human Torch/Johnny Storm
This one was slightly difficult, because like Sue Storm, there are a ton of qualified actors who could take on the role of the Human Torch.
I think Zac Efron would make a… fantastic Johnny Storm. And honestly, he may be the only rational choice for the part. But, much like Krasinski, I worry that he’s too well known to disappear into the role.
That wouldn’t be as big of an issue with Johnny as it would be with Reed (for me anyway). So I’d still honestly be ecstatic if he were to be cast in the role. But with rumors that he’s to take on the role of Adam Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 3, I decided to go with someone a little less known, but in the midst of a career blow up.
Probably best known for his role in the Netflix rom-com Set it Up, Powell seems on the cusp of blowing up, with a role in the upcoming Top Gun: Maverick and a bunch of articles breaking down his two seconds in its trailer.
My first introduction to Powell was Scream Queens an utterly ridiculous show in which he plays the delightfully douchey leader of a fraternity at a college under siege by a serial killer called the Red Devil.
The show is fine, its okay, but Powell’s turn as Chad Radwell is incredible.
I don’t know what you see when you watch that, but I see the Human Torch.
Others receiving consideration: Zac Efron (High School Musical), Dacre Montgomery (Stranger Things), Joe Keery (Stranger Things)
The Thing/Ben Grimm
Oddly enough, this was somehow the hardest role to cast.
You’d think this would be the easiest because it almost doesn’t matter because he’ll disappear and be replaced by a makeup/CGI fueled rock monster after a few scenes. Honestly though, that makes it even harder.
Ben Grimm needs to be of an age with Reed, needs to have a believable friendship with him, needs to have a good voice because once he becomes the Thing he’ll essentially become a voice actor, and should be pretty jacked.
It isn’t necessarily a long list of actors who possess all of those things.
So, I agonized over this decision. I thought about going funny with a Jake Johnson type. I thought about going a little older with Terry Crews. I thought about Jamie Foxx because he just might be the most talented person in Hollywood and should just be in everything basically.
Nobody seemed perfect.
Finally, I decided to really go out on a limb and make an outside the box choice.
I think that maybe, possibly, Channing Tatum just might be the Thing.
Long rumored to be anchoring a Gambit movie that never ultimately panned out, I think that Tatum could play an out of his luck former football player who comes to his old buddy Reed looking for a job.
Reed ultimately accepts, bringing his buddy back into the fold and leading to all sorts of resentment.
I think it could work, but I’m open to suggestions.
Others receiving consideration: Terry Crews (Brooklyn 99), Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained), Jake Johnson (New Girl), Tom Hardy (Venom), Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy)
Doctor Doom/Victor Von Doom
Doom is full stop the most important casting decision Marvel has to make in Phase Four of its cinematic universe.
It seems likely that Doom could be set up as the next big bad, at least at the Loki/Ultron level (though he’d hopefully dwarf both film versions of them), with Galactus possibly being the Thanos level threat.
If we’re truly lucky we could even get Secret Wars, but I don’t want to be too greedy here.
Anyway, Doom is integral to all of this, so his casting needs to be perfect.
I danced with the idea of putting several Game of Thrones alums in the role.
Pilou Asbæk (Euron Greyjoy) could do a good job I think, tone down the loud menace of Euron and replace it with a quiet one. Could be nice. He already has the arrogance down.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) would also be a great choice, though he is a bit older than the actors I’ve chosen as Reed and Ben. Though Jaime turned out to be more of an anti-hero than true villain at the end, his performance in early seasons as an arrogant, cunning and vile antagonist could inform his potential role as Doom.
Unfortunately, neither of them are perfect for the role.
But, do you know who is? Somebody who has already portrayed a tortured, brilliant, powerful super villain, convinced of the righteousness of his heinous acts?
Yes, I know he was already Magneto, and yes I know the last movie with him as Magneto literally came out like a month ago, but don’t be silly, I’m still gonna send it.
Fassbender is an incredible actor, he is German, he is menacing, he is awesome, and he is Doom.
Sure, it could be distracting at first, but if he tweaks the Magneto accent a tad it’ll be fine, especially since he’s in a mask most of the time.
I don’t know if he’d be willing to take on another super villain role, but here’s hoping.
Others receiving consideration: Pilou Asbæk (Game of Thrones), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones)
Bonus: Namor the Sub-Mariner
I don’t know why, but I am super into Namor the Sub-Mariner and since it sure seems as if though Marvel already teased his introduction in Endgame, I figured that I might as well cast him as well.
This is another tough choice. Especially in the wake of the DCEU’s near perfect casting of Jason Momoa as Aquaman, it is important for Marvel to nail Namor, particularly if they’d like him to be a recurring character rather than a one off Black Panther villain.
As with the rest of my casting choices, I’m limited by my familiarity with actors. Meaning that actors like Daniel Dae Kim, a popular suggestion for the role, are ruled out.
Namor is the powerful, arrogant and dangerous leader of Atlantis.
Luke Evans played the part of a powerful, arrogant and dangerous leader (of a small French town) in Beauty and the Beast, and also played Bard the Bowman in The Hobbit.
He portrays menacing arrogance with aplomb and in my opinion would make an excellent Namor.
So, there it is. I have successfully cast the Fantastic Four, along with two of their more famous foes. Hopefully I even managed to avoid driving anyone up the wall with rage.
Let me know what you think and who you’d like to see in the roles!