No, Steven Spielberg won't direct Marvel's Fantastic Four movie

Steven Spielberg gives a speech at the 33rd Annual Producers Guild Awards showat
Steven Spielberg was reportedly asked to direct one of Marvel Studios' forthcoming films. (Image credit: Kevin Winter)

Steven Spielberg was reportedly tapped to helm Marvel Studios' upcoming Fantastic Four movie.

Yes, you read that right. According to multiple sources, including former Montclair Film Festival director Mike Sampson and Variety's Adam B. Vary, the legendary director turned down the opportunity to helm the highly anticipated Marvel movie. Those reports emerged after a wild rumor, which swept the internet on July 14, that Spielberg would be announced as the Fantastic Four movie's director during Marvel Studios' presentation at D23 Expo on Saturday, September 10.

The surprising piece of gossip originated on the Marvel Studios Spoilers Reddit page. A Tales From The Mod Queue post, which regularly shares unverified information from various Marvel leakers, included a snippet that linked Spielberg with a dual director-producer role on the Fantastic Four reboot. The post also indicated that the E.T, Jurassic Park, and Saving Private Ryan helmer was in final negotiations to join the growing roster of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) directors.

Unsurprisingly, it wasn't long before this particular leak made its way out onto the wider internet. The post led to various actors, comic book characters, and upcoming Marvel Phase 4 projects trending on Twitter, with Spielberg and Fantastic Four among that number.

However, while it appears that Marvel Studios did reach out to Spielberg – according to Sampson, anyway – to helm its Fantastic Four movie, the multi-award winning director wasn't interested. 

It should be noted that Marvel Studios Spoilers page moderators stressed the importance of taking everything in the Reddit thread with a giant pinch of salt. The initial post suggested readers shouldn't read too much into it, while moderator JohannSchmidt1943 confirmed that the information in that post was unverified.

Still, that didn't stop Marvel fans from being whipped into a frenzy by the rumor tying Spielberg to the MCU's Fantastic Four film. That is, until the likes of Sampson, Vary, and Collider's Steve Weintraub poured cold water on this piece of conjecture.

Disney and Marvel hadn't responded to our request for comment on the rumor by the time of publication. We'll update this article if either studio provides an official line on the speculation.

Analysis: would Spielberg have been a good fit?

A screenshot of the first logo for Marvel Studios' Fantastic Four movie

Spielberg's sci-fi sensibilities may have been a good fit for Marvel's Fantastic Four reboot. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Yes, we believe he would have been. Spielberg is one of the best sci-fi directors around, with Close Encounters of the Third Kind joining E.T. and Jurassic Park in being all-time classics. The iconic director's other sci-fi works, such as A.I., Minority Report, War of the Worlds, and Ready Player One weren't as well received as the previous trio, but they still have their fair share of fans worldwide. Spielberg's influence on the sci-fi genre stretches far and wide, too, with hit Netflix shows like Stranger Things and Sweet Tooth (the live-action series and graphic novels) being heavily inspired by his works.

Given the sci-fi leanings of the Fantastic Four, then, Spielberg would have been a natural fit for the superhero flick's director. His keen cinematic eye, coupled with his vast experience in this genre, could have put a unique spin on the Fantastic Four's origins, albeit one in keeping with how they're created in the comics and how the iconic quartet will fit into the forever-expanding MCU.

Marvel insiders, such as Greatphase, have already suggested that the MCU's Fantastic Four film will take inspiration from one legendary sci-fi series in Star Trek. Getting someone of the caliber of Spielberg on board to direct such a film, then, would have made for fascinating and fan-hyping viewing. Unfortunately, it seems that Spielberg won't be joining the MCU in a directing capacity.

He's not the only one, either. Bryce Dallas Howard has also denied her involvement in Marvel's Fantastic Four film; the Jurassic World star saying she hasn't been approached to be the movie's director or to play Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman. 

Meanwhile, fans remain hopeful that John Krasinski will be retained as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic in the main MCU timeline. Krasinski made a crowd pleasing cameo as the same character in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It's unclear, though, if Marvel will ask him to return. The Tales From the Mod Queue thread suggests he won't be but, as we've learned, it's best to take any rumors about Marvel's Fantastic Four film reboot with a massive heaping of salt.

For more MCU-based content, check out our Ms Marvel ending explainer, or read up on She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, the next MCU TV show to land on Disney Plus.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.