Major spoilers follow for Doctor Strange 2. You have been warned.
According to an anonymous user on Not Safe For Work (NSFW) website 4chan – yes, this makes us very sceptical about the rumor, too – the upcoming Marvel movie will be directed by The Mandalorian's Bryce Dallas Howard.
Howard's rumored appointment has been discussed at length on Reddit, with many Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and Star Wars Fans suggesting that she would be a great fit for the Marvel Phase 4 project. Given that Howard directed two superb entries in the Mandalorian, plus the best episode in The Book of Boba Fett, we're inclined to agree.
The rumor goes on to suggest that Howard would also star as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman in Marvel's Fantastic Four film. Meanwhile, John Krasinski – whose appearance as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange 2 sent fans wild – is also rumored to portray the MCU's version of the Fantastic Four's leader.
Howard's possible instalment as Fantastic Four's new director comes two weeks after Jon Watts stepped away from the project. Per Deadline, Watts, who helmed the billion dollar-spinning (and multiverse-centric) Spider-Man: No Way Home, simply needed a break from the superhero genre following his MCU's Spider-Man movie trilogy directing exploits.
Even if Howard is set to direct Marvel's Fantastic Four flick, we're taking this rumor with a huge pinch of salt right now. Prominent MCU leakers, including Charles Murphy and MyTimetoShineHello, haven't commented on the prospect of Howard being handed the reins to the Marvel flick. Although, MyTimetoShineHello has suggested that Krasinski hasn't signed on to portray Reed Richards in a Fantastic Four film just yet.
Given the usually good track records of these insiders, we're holding off on believing this rumor until someone more reliable can corroborate it. Or, alternatively, Marvel Studios officially announces Howard's hiring. 4chan is the internet's wild west, where anyone can be make a speculative post without a shred of evidence to back it up. For now, then, believe this one at your peril.
Analysis: will Marvel's Fantastic Four be part of the studio's Phase 4 line-up?
That's up for debate. The superhero film reboot was announced by Marvel Studios at Comic Con in July 2019, alongside other forthcoming MCU movies including Thor: Love and Thunder, The Marvels, and Blade.
While Thor 4 and The Marvels – the latter being a sequel to Captain Marvel, WandaVision, and Ms Marvel – have confirmed release dates, though, Fantastic Four doesn't. That's unsurprising, given that it still appears to be in early development.
Similarly, Blade doesn't have an official launch date either but, according to Production Weekly magazine, the Mahershala Ali-starring Marvel film is reportedly set to start filming in summer 2022. Production Weekly is almost always on the ball with movie and TV show filming start dates, so we're expecting principal photography to begin on Blade shortly. As long as that's the case, Blade may arrive in theaters in late 2023. Halloween falls on a Tuesday next year, so we could certainly see Blade getting an October 27, 2023 release date.
But we digress. With Fantastic Four still yet to hire a director or any cast members – speculation suggested that Marvel was gearing up to cast its iconic quartet in January, though – its production (and subsequent release date) seem a long way off at this point.
It's unclear when Marvel's Phase 4 slate will end, too. The studio is set to release five (six if you include Blade) movies, seven TV shows, and two Disney Plus specials over the next two to three years. Add in the fact that five further MCU Disney Plus shows were announced in November 2021, and Marvel has its hands full.
The prospect of seeing a Fantastic Four movie before 2024, then, seems unlikely. That may change if Marvel has a director, writer, and cast in place – they just haven't announced them yet if they do. But, in our view, it'll be a while before Reed Richards and company return to the big screen. Unless the film enters production before the year is out, we'd be surprised if it ends up being part of Marvel's Phase 4 plans, too.
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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.
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.
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