The Fantastic Four: Release Date, Story, Cast & More (2024)

The Fantastic Four: Release Date, Story, Cast & More (1)

(Photo by Marvel Studios)

Film has not been great for the Fantastic Four. Despite being the team that initiated the Marvel Age of Comics, their cinematic adventures have been mediocre at best or career-ending at worst. Nevertheless, there are good reasons to put them on screen. They’re colorful and distinct personalities. They have a deep and impressive rogues gallery. And, potentially most importantly, they are a family.

But getting all the pieces to work together properly has befuddled four films (one of which was never actually released) and at least three filmmakers. Is their inability to become a filmic mainstay the work of Doctor Doom or his agents?

We may soon find out. At Comic-Con International: San Diego 2019, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed it is finally Marvel Studios’ turn to bring the FF to life and introduce them into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The hows and whys may still be something of a mystery, but join us as we assemble everything we know about the studio’s take on The Fantastic Four to see if we can’t shed some light on the Richards clan’s fifth attempt at big screen success.

The Tale Of The Cursed Richards

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(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp.)

While the plot of the film is one of the project’s best kept secrets, we have some ideas of where it might go. For one thing: it will not be an origin story, according to Feige. Like Spider-Man: Homecoming before it, The Fantastic Four will take into account that the team’s origin has been covered in three films (counting the unreleased 1994 film produced by the late Roger Corman). Although, it is possible we might get a recap of how supergenius Reed Richards; his fiancée, Sue Storm; her brother, Johnny; and Reed’s best pal, Ben Grimm, stole their way onto a space ship and encountered “cosmic radiaton” that gave them their incredible powers. Reed emerged with an elastic body, Sue turned invisible, Johnny can switch into a being of flame, and Ben was cursed to live as rock creature also known as The Thing.

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(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp. courtesy Everett Collection)

Also unclear is who the FF might battle in the film. While Doctor Doom is Reed Richards’ archnemesis — adherents of Doom would say the cursed Richards is his own worst enemy — he may be held in reserve as the team face the coming of the planet-eating Galactus and his herald, the Silver Surfer. And there are other options like Negative Zone tyrant Annihilus and the Kang variant known as Rama-Tut. Granted, the lackluster reception to Kang and the real-life troubles of the actor who once played him may have put that plot on ice indefinitely. Additionally, with an actor set to play Galactus, the matter may be settled.

No matter the antagonist, the film has a mission statement: make the Fantastic Four cool. Admittedly, that is no easy feat, considering faithful adaptation and more radical reinvention alike have failed to wow audiences, but maybe the potential setting will set the film apart from those earlier attempts.

Somewhere In Time

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(Photo by ©Marvel/©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Like most Marvel characters, the FF call Manhattan home — famously within the Baxter building at 42nd and Madison — which means familiar locales from Homecoming or The Avengers may be on display. But there is a more provocative aspect of the setting to consider: the when of it all.

Marketing materials released so far have a decidedly 1960s feel to them, leading many to suspect the film will take place in the mid-20th Century. The notion definitely has some appeal. The Fantastic Four are an archly ‘60s concept, from Reed Richards’ science hero aspect to The Thing’s body issues. They also exemplify that initial thrust of creativity at Marvel at the time, when Jack Kirby and Stan Lee introduced a new, wild, and provocative idea in every issue of Fantastic Four. Black Panther, for example, debuted just a handful of issues after Galactus’s first attempted to eat the Earth.

The Fantastic Four: Release Date, Story, Cast & More (5)

(Photo by Jay Maidment/Marvel Studios)

Capturing the energy and optimism of the era would serve the characters well, just as introducing Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in the WWII milieu of Captain America: The First Avenger set him up as a traditional sort of hero. The contrast between them and, say, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) would be readily apparent, even if they don’t meet for many years.

Additionally, removing them from the present-day MCU means the film could avoid crossovers — beyond, maybe, Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper or John Slattery) or Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) — or the Multiverse madness happening in the Phase 5 films and TV programs. Considering the complaints of crossover fatigue that many mention online, presenting the film as a fresh start in the heyday of the ’60s definitely has an appeal.

The speculation — and our own fond wish — proved to be true as Feige told The Official Marvel Podcast in June that the film will take place in an alternate 1960s. Although, it may not be the MCU’s 1960s, either. As he mentioned on the show, a piece of promo art features a Manhattan skyline that doesn’t “look like the New York we know or the one that existed in the sixties real world.” The statement led to further speculation that the film may take place elsewhere in the Mutliverse. It may be an academic point, of course, as the importance of the Multiverse remains in doubt following the relatively poor introduction of Kang.

Marvel’s First Family

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(Photo by Jon Kopaloff, Dave Benett, Jeff Spicer, Alberto Rodriguez/GA/Getty Images)

After a long period of wondering — and rumors of John Kransinki taking the role after his Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness cameo — Pedro Pascal emerged as the face of Reed Richards in February of 2024. Joining him as Sue Storm is Vanessa Kirby. Joseph Quinn flames on a Johnny Storm while Ebon Moss-Bachrach gives voice and a human face to Ben Grimm. It remains to be seen just how he will be realized once he becomes The Thing, though. The first Fox film put Michael Chiklis in a suit, while the 2015 reboot utilized CGI.

But as the Fantastic Four are surrounded by a vast array of supporting players, the cast of the film is rounded out with John Malkovich, Paul Walter Hauser, and Natasha Lyonne in as-yet unrevealed roles. We’ll take a guess that Lyonne may end up playing Ben’s girlfriend, Alicia Masters, but that’s just a guess. As for the other two? Doom could await either one.

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(Photo by Steve Granitz, Mike Marsland/Getty Images)

In April of 2024, many were surprised by the news that Julia Garner will play the Silver Surfer. Although that title is generally tied to a male alien also known as Norrin Radd, Garner’s Surfer is an established Marvel character generally called Shalla-Bal. Debuting in 1968’s Silver Surfer #1, she was originally presented as Radd’s first love, but became the herald of Galactus in the alternate universe chronicled in the Earth X line of comics. That reality featured both characters as the Surfer, so it is always possible Radd will appear in the film.

But the presence of a herald means the world-devouring Galactus cannot be far behind. Ralph Ineson will play him, although it remains to be seen just how the character will be realized. Jack Kirby’s design is a classic, but its thrilling headgear can put the fear in filmmakers. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer director Tim Story opted to present him as an amorphous alien death cloud. We hope Marvel tries to maintain some of his traditional appearance. After all, films like Thor: Ragnarok prove Kirby’s more spacey designs have a place in the Marvel Multiverse.

Behind The Four

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(Photo by Gilbert Flores/Getty Images)

Initially, Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts was on board to direct the film, but after completing No Way Home and its press tour, he resigned, citing a need to do something different after three back-to-back Spider-Man films. In his place: Matt Shakman, director of Marvel’s WandaVision. Considering his ability to recreate television of the 1960s in that series, his appointment also suggests a period setting.

On the writing side, Josh Friedman (Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes) rewrote an earlier draft from writers Jeff Kaplan and Ian Springer.

Kevin Feige is, naturally enough, producing the film with Marvel Studios’ Louis D’Esposito set as executive producer. Additional crew includes director of photography Jess Hall.

The film is currently expected to begin production this July.

Blast Off!

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(Photo by ©20th Century Fox Film Corp.)

The Fantastic Four is set for release on July 25, 2025. That said, the malleability of Marvel’s release dates — and the fact that its current date comes just two weeks after James Gunn’s Superman — leaves us wondering if the film may end up moving closer to 2026, if it doesn’t end up ultimately releasing that year instead. More time for the film to cook is probably a good idea. The fifth film has to be the charm for the Fantastic Four, and while the cast and crew assembled are good choices, its success will determine if the Richards clan has a place in the MCU — or cinemas at all — at any point in the future.

The Fantastic Four (2025) opens in theaters on July 25, 2025.

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The Fantastic Four: Release Date, Story, Cast & More (2024)

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