Oh, Marvel fans, when will we learn to take casting rumors with a pinch of salt? Never? Okay then.
After a lengthy spell without a single piece of speculation, it seems we’re all back on the Fantastic Four movie casting bandwagon. You see, over the last few days (April 29 to May 1), an avalanche of new rumors about the Marvel Phase 6 film’s cast have appeared online – and they’re sending you, me, and every other Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fan into a tailspin.
That’s after numerous rumors did the rounds in mid-2022, such as Bryce Dallas Howard’s apparent hiring as Sue Storm and legendary director Steven Spielberg being tapped to direct the movie. Incidentally, Matt Shakman (WandaVision) will helm the movie.
So, what’s the latest on the legendary Marvel supergroup’s next live-action flick? Let’s break down everything we’ve read and/or heard over the weekend (NB: remember to take all of the following information with a big pinch of salt. None of these actors have been confirmed yet – we’re simply rounding up the latest speculation about the cast.)
In the Driver’s seat?
First up is Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic, aka the Fantastic Four‘s de facto leader.
In October 2022, we reported on various industry insiders’ rumors that Star Wars alumnus Adam Driver had held talks with Marvel Studios about playing Doctor Doom in its forthcoming Fantastic Four film. Those reports came four months after radio host Howard Stern had fooled us all by proclaiming he’d be playing Doom in a Fantastic Four MCU project.
Well, it appears Driver may have actually met with Marvel, but for a different role entirely. Now, credible MCU leakers, such as MyTimeToShineHello, have suggested that Driver is in the *ahem* driver’s seat to play Reed Richards. Even more fascinatingly, they claim the popular actor is “all but set” to play the character.
So, after months and months of speculation – the Fantastic Four movie’s cast was rumored to be announced during D23 Expo 2022, only for that not to happen – it appears Marvel might have snapped up its first big name for one of our most anticipated MCU flicks.
Cooking up a (Sue Storm)
As terrific as Driver’s casting as Mr. Fantastic would be, the latest name to be linked with the role of Sue Storm could be a massive selling point – as if the Fantastic Four movie needed another one, eh? – for Marvel.
So, who is it? Margot Robbie. Yes, that Margot Robbie. The star of huge hits including La La Land, and other superhero fare in DC movie The Suicide Squad, and who’s set to play Barbie in the iconic toy’s live-action film (which is one of our most anticipated new movies of 2023, FYI).
Things kicked into gear on April 28 when MyTimeToShineHello (opens in new tab) (get used to seeing this peculiar Twitter username here) claimed they were “being very careful” about revealing the identity of this actor after they’d already passed on the role. Unsurprisingly, this led to other industry insiders detailing what they’d heard about who the role of Sue Storm, aka the Invisible Woman, was going to.
Jeff Sneider (opens in new tab) suggested it was Jodie Comer (Killing Eve, Free Guy), who was rumored to be Marvel’s first choice in late 2022. Others claimed Mila Kunis (Family Guy) was in the running, but the actor played that rumor down in an interview with James Corden (thanks to Twitter user wandjuul (opens in new tab) for the video capture). The Cosmic Circus’ Lizzie Hill (opens in new tab) said she’d heard it had been offered to Kristen Bell (The Good Place), too.
Now, though, Robbie seems to be the only candidate Marvel wants. Another prominent MCU insider DanielRPK (opens in new tab) took to their personal Patreon to declare Robbie was approached over the role. That led MyTimeToShineHello (opens in new tab) to confirm they’d heard similar, before another leaker – Grace Randolph (opens in new tab) – piped up to say she’d been told likewise. Randolph, however, claims Robbie might not take Marvel up on its offer due to her commitments to legendary DC supervillain Harley Quinn.
A fiery end to this Human Torch rumor
After wowing audiences in critically acclaimed shows like Normal People (now available on Hulu) and indie movies including Aftersun, Paul Mescal is a man in demand in Hollywood right now.
Rumors of his casting as Johnny Storm/the Human Torch in Fantastic Four, then, piqued the interest of diehard and casual Marvel fans alike – DanielRPK (opens in new tab) claiming as much in another Patreon post.
Marvel is surely returning to the drawing board, however, after Mescal reportedly turned the role down owing to scheduling conflicts. That’s according to Deadline’s Justin Kroll (opens in new tab), who says Mescal is set to star alongside Jessie Buckley in Amblin Entertainment’s live-action adaptation of Hamnet. MCU leakers BigScreenLeaks (opens in new tab) and MyTimeToShineHello (opens in new tab) back Kroll’s report, too. We wonder what Captain America alumnus Chris Evans is doing these days… (we kid, of course!).
A not-so-Grimm rumor
As for The Thing – aka Ben Grimm – it sounded like Marvel was looking to gender-swap the character for its Fantastic Four movie. MyTimeToShineHello (opens in new tab) and fellow leaker KC Walsh (opens in new tab) have claimed the Disney subsidiary is looking at male and female actors for the role, one of whom could be Mila Kunis (even though she was also linked with the role of Sue Storm).
Of course, Kunis has denied her involvement – is this a genuine denial, or is she playing it off so as not to give the game away? – and other industry insiders, such as The DisInsider’s Skyler Shuler (opens in new tab), say The Thing will still be Ben Grimm in the Fantastic Four‘s upcoming live-action adaptation. You could say these supposed MCU insiders are caught between a rock and a hard place over what they actually know (because The Thing has rock-based skin? Never mind…).
Galactic misfires or universal truths?
As we stated earlier, it’s worth taking all of these rumors – and others, such as Antonio Banderas playing Galactus in the movie (per DanielRPK (opens in new tab)) – for what they are: rumors. Fantastic Four isn’t due to be released until February 2025, so Marvel has plenty of time between now and when the film starts shooting (late 2023 or early 2024, we’d imagine) to get its cast lined up.
Okay, some of these insiders have previous form for getting things right about MCU projects, so there might be an element of truth to what they’ve heard. As the last few days have shown, though – especially the speculation around Mescal’s apparent hiring – casting actors for movies is a very fluid process. An actor may be approached about a role and have to turn it down, meaning the rumor mill goes into overdrive before suddenly grinding to a halt.
In short: all of these Fantastic Four cast rumors could end up being true. Alternatively, none of them might be. It’s frustrating having to wait for Marvel to confirm who’s been cast as its iconic quartet – after all, it’s been nearly four years since MCU President Kevin Feige announced a Fantastic Four MCU film was in development. But, with San Diego Comic Con just a couple of months away now – a convention Marvel usually attends and makes big announcements at – we might finally get official confirmation about who’s lined up to appear in one of the most eagerly awaited MCU movies for some time. Patience, my fellow Marvel lovers.
For more MCU-based coverage, find out how to watch the Marvel movies in order. Additionally, read our best Marvel movies ranked listicle, get the lowdown on Guardians of the Galaxy 3 before its May 5 release, and find out what’s coming as part of Marvel Phase 5 between now and November 2024.