Fantastic Four director Matt Shakman has denied claims that Marvel has already cast the forthcoming movie's lead roles.
Marvel finally announced that it was developing a Fantastic Four MCU film in July 2019. Since then, industry insiders, MCU leakers, and more casual fans have linked every big-name star with the role of Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Human Torch, and The Thing.
However, Shakman attempted to quell the hype over those casting rumors for the Marvel Phase 6 movie. Asked if he could confirm or deny any of the casting rumors circulating online, the WandaVision director responded: "We are early in our process there. We have nothing to announce right now, and certainly, when we do we'll let you know."
Addressing the rumors further in an interview with ComicBook.com, Shakman added: "There are a lot out there, man! It's pretty amazing. As I learned from WandaVision, it's so lovely to see the level of engagement that fans have with this material. I've been reading the Fantastic Four comics since I was a kid, I love these characters, and I love the chance we have to bring them to the MCU... But yeah, I have no answers for anyone today about casting."
Analsysis: putting out the Human Torch-sized rumor fires
Marvel's Fantastic Four movie is still two years away from being released, with the MCU flick set to debut in theaters in February 2025. Principal photography won't begin on the superhero film until early 2024, according to Shakman (per The Wrap), so Marvel has plenty of time to hire the right actors for each role.
That hasn't stopped MCU leakers and fans, though – us included, admittedly – from speculating on who will play the legendary heroes and the movie's primary villain.
In January 2022, we reported that Marvel was seemingly ready to cast the Fantastic Four's iconic quartet. Of course, we – alongside everyone else – jumped the gun. In the 12 months since then, though, rumors about who will star in the film have only grown exponentially.
May 2022 saw Bryce Dallas Howard linked with the role of The Invisible Woman – aka Sue Storm – with the Jurassic World series star forced to deny her involvement. Five months later, Adam Driver (Star Wars, A Marriage Story) was touted as a potential candidate to play Doctor Doom, the Fantastic Four's biggest adversary, or Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards.
It was in the lead-up to Marvel's D23 Expo presentation in September 2022 that speculation reached fever pitch. Multiple MCU insiders suggested that Marvel was set to reveal who would play each member of the supergroup at the event.
The list of stars apparently attached to the project was as stacked as you'd have expected. Actors linked with the project included – deep breath – John Krasinski, Penn Badgley, John David Washington, Emily Blunt, Lily James, Alexandra Daddario, Eiza González, Zac Efron, Ryan Gosling, Jason Segel, Jamie Dornan, Melissa Benoist, Natalia Dyer, and William Jackson Harper.
Chris Evans, who famously played Captain America in the MCU between 2010 and 2019, was even rumored to tackle the role of Johnny Storm/Human Torch again – Evans having played the character in Fox's two Fantastic Four movies. US radio host Howard Stern played a joke on Marvel fans, too, by suggesting he could play Doctor Doom in the MCU.
Unfortunately, the only Fantastic Four D23 Expo announcement was the one that confirmed Shakman would helm the project. That confirmation came four months after Shakman was reportedly tapped to direct the MCU flick, and just two months after legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg was seemingly sounded out to make it instead.
We get it – everyone is excited (us included) to see Marvel comics' first superhero team make their MCU debut. However, the sheer amount of speculation surrounding the film has been over the top, and it's fallen to the film's director to try to calm us all down.
Sure, Shakman's comments could be a form of misdirection. Marvel might have met with some A-list stars to sound them out about joining its cinematic juggernaut, and negotiations could be at an advanced stage with one or more of them, too. But, with filming not set to begin for a year, Marvel may still be searching for the right candidates before it officially begins the audition process.
For now, though, that (not very) old adage, "don't believe everything you read on the internet", holds true. Hopefully, we'll get some official casting details at this year's San Diego Comic-Con or D23 Expo.
For more MCU coverage, find out how to watch the Marvel movies in order. Additionally, read up on what you need to know about Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania before it lands in theaters on February 17.
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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.
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