Marvel's Fantastic Four poster teases when the MCU movie is set, and it's a perfect fit

A screenshot of The Fantastic 4 poster showing the iconic Marvel superhero quartet and the actors playing them
Marvel's Fantastic Four movie might end up being the first film on the MCU's chronological timeline. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

It's been less than 24 hours since Marvel's Fantastic Four movie finally received a hype-inducing update, but there's one big mystery that remains unsolved: what year it'll be set in.

Well, it's unsolved unless you're an eagle-eyed Marvel comics fan and a Fantastic Four fanatic. You see, while most of us enthusiastically greeted the news that Marvel Studios had finally revealed the cast for its Fantastic Four film – plus its new title and release date – other Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) devotees were busy doing something else: deciphering when The Fantastic 4 (the movie's new name) would be set – and it seems they've worked that out.

To reveal what era the superhero flick is likely taking place in, we need to backtrack a tiny bit. Alongside yesterday's (February 14) exciting announcements, Marvel Studios unveiled an official, retro-futurism-inspired poster for the movie, which showed off its iconic quartet and the actors who'll be playing them – and it's this piece of artwork that's convinced MCU fans that The Fantastic 4 will eventually be installed as the first entry in any Marvel movies in order guide's chronological timeline.

A screenshot of The Thing reading a 1960s magazine in Marvel Studios' The Fantastic 4 movie poster

What's that important thing you've got there, erm, The Thing? (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Indeed, MCU detectives believe that a magazine, which The Thing is reading on the poster, is the key to solving this conundrum. It's hard to tell exactly what's on the cover of said print publication, but it bears a striking similarity to a December 1963 issue of Life Magazine, which has Lyndon B. Johnson – the 36th US President – adoring it.

If The Thing is reading this specific magazine issue, it all but confirms that the Marvel Phase 6 movie – though I suspect it'll likely be moved into the Marvel Phase 5 lineup, given its revised July 2025 release date – will be set in the early 1960s. That would be a near-perfect fit for the group, too, with the superhero team making their comic book debut in The Fantastic Four #1 in November 1961.

With filming set to begin on The Fantastic 4 in mid-2024 (per Variety), it won't be long until some sneaky industry insiders try and grab some behind-the-scenes shots of its production. If they do, any leaked images might give us confirmation that it'll be set during the so-called 'Swinging Sixties'.

A hugely positive week for Marvel

Deadpool dances in a TVA elevator in Deadpool and Wolverine's trailer

Deadpool and Wolverine's first trailer is the most-watched film teaser of all time (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

After a chaotic 12-month period that saw two big box-office bombs in the form of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels, the sacking of Kang actor Jonathan Majors, and other headache-inducing issues, Marvel appears to have turned a corner over the last few days.

The week began with the debuting of Deadpool 3's first trailer, which revealed that the film's official title would be Deadpool and Wolverine. You can read more about the teaser's biggest secrets in our Deadpool and Wolverine trailer breakdown – and it seems Marvel fans are convinced that Deadpool 3's trailer is hiding two big character Easter eggs in plain sight, too.

But I digress. Two days after its world premiere, Deadpool and Wolverine's first teaser was confirmed to be the most-watched movie trailer of all-time, with 365 million views in the 24-hour period after its unveiling. Not bad for a supposedly flagging cinematic universe, eh?

Buoyed by the reception to that trailer reveal, Marvel continued to let the good times roll with its multi-part Fantastic Four movie announcement. Aside from the odd bizarre comment about Stranger Things season 4 actor Joe Quinn's casting as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, it seems MCU fans are delighted with what they've heard so far.

These aren't the end of this week's big reveals, either. This afternoon (February 15), Marvel unveiled the March release date and exciting, nostalgia-fueled trailer for X-Men 97, the eagerly-anticipated and long-overdue sequel to 1990s classic X-Men: The Animated Series, which will launch on Disney Plus. We don't have too long to wait, then, for it to debut on one of the world's best streaming services.

Remember in Marvel Phase 1 when the Nick Fury-centric events of Iron Man, Thor, and The Incredible Hulk were – due to their in-universe proximity to each other – lumped together and colloquially referred to as 'Fury's Big Week'? I wonder what the odds are on people labeling February 11 through 18, 2024 as 'Marvel's Big Week'. After all, the Disney subsidiary certainly needed one.

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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.