The recent news that director Jon Watts left the upcoming Fantastic Four (FF) film by Marvel Studios was a big surprise for fans of the Marvel Comics property and apparently the film studio itself. Unlike Ant-Man and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness where the original directors of those films were replaced fairly quickly, it seems as if Marvel Studios is taking its time and keeping to its vest who the replacement will be. There are many possible choices and rumors of who will take over. The popular talk was that John Krasinsky, who appeared as an alternate version of Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic in the latest Doctor Strange film was the frontrunner and one reason why Watts left the project. But those rumors have died down since it is not clear that the actor will even be cast as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) version of Richards.
When choosing the replacement director for the Fantastic Four, the president of Marvel Studios,Kevin Feige, has to pick a solid director with a proven track record. Unlike some other MCU films, the Fantastic Four truly has to be phenomenal because the superhero team is one of Marvel Comics’ top properties and the previous vilm versions of the Fantastic Four have been major letdowns. So, Marvel Studios has to get this film right and cannot afford a misfire. The latest rumor has it that Feige prefers to have a proven veteran filmmaker tackle the film instead of an up-and-coming director. That makes sense because for every Joe and Anthony Russo, who blossomed with MCU films, there have been forgettable picks like Alan Taylor.
With that let’s look at some possible choices, which will include the latest rumored potential directors and some suggested possibilities for the Fantastic Four. Of course, bear in mind Kevin Feige may tap someone completely unexpected for the task.
As noted above, Krasinski is considered the frontrunner for the job, at least among fans, given all the fan art of his casting and his directing resume. He has shown the ability to not only direct. but star in genre films, as seen with A Quiet Place and A Quiet Place, Part II. One hindrence is that the actor/director may not want to commit to a long-term film deal. At best, he may only star and direct one Fantastic Four film and hand off the directing duties to someone else for the sequels.
Bryce Dallas Howard
She is the latest rumored frontrunner for the directing task, and for the role of Susan Storm. Fueling the rumors are her recent acclaimed directing of the better episodes of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. Currently she is set to star in and direct a remake of Flight of the Navigator, so this may prevent her from taking the job, but then again she may jump ship for a higher profie job.
The director of the Ant-Man films famously pitched a Fantastic Four film back in the noughties to 20th Century Fox that would have taken place in the 1960s and would have been a comedy. For some time it was rumored that the superhero team would debut in Reed’s upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, but that is doubtful since there has been no news or updates and the film’s release has been moved up to early next year. So there goes Reed’s chance to direct the FF, but, given his interest with the property and his MCU background, Reed would be a perfect choice.
After a long absence, the Spider-Man director made a superhero film comeback with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness where he proved he could still deliver an enjoyable superhero venture. His Spider-Man films were very whimsical and adventurous with the unique Raimi camera tricks that should go well with the FF. Plus, Bruce Campbell could cameo as the Impossible Man or some other comedic role!
Back in 1995, Columbus was attached to write and direct an adaptation of the Fantastic Four, but unfortunately left the project due to the astronomical cost for the special effects, which would have been difficult to pull off in that time period. The director has solid genre credentials, most famously with the early Harry Potter films, and should be considered.
The director certainly has the superhero film credentials to be given the task of bringing the Fantastic Four to the MCU. His most famous superhero film, X-Men: First Class, proved that Vaughn can do a superhero team film with various engaging characters and lots of inventive action.
The acclaimed genre director’s name has always been circulated as a possible director for superhero films, most recently with The Flash, yet he never was chosen. Zemeckis certainly has the skills and film background when it comes to working with actors and special effects teams to bring the best adaptation of the team to the big screen. Tom Hanks as Mister Fantastic? In case, John Krasinski says no.
We all know that his classic Pixar films The Incredibles and Incredibles 2 were clearly inspired by the Fantastic Four, especially with the bickering, but loving dynamic of the family superhero team. Why not give Bird the chance to focus his FF film on that amusing family dynamic, which is an integral part of the team? Sure his Tomorrowland film flopped, but he can do solid adventure films, just look at Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.
Joe Russo and Anthony Russo
With their MCU films being among the most successful and beloved entries in the MCU, the Russo Brothers have to considered as viable picks for the Fantastic Four being that with no announced Avengers films in the horizon, the Fantastic Four have become the default flagship superhero team in the MCU. The film would have to be lighter in tone compared to their MCU efforts but their comedic background, notably Arrested Development, would allow them to deliver a more distinct and lighter MCU film.
The director who birthed the MCU with Iron Man has the directing chops to tackle the FF and it has been over a decade since he helmed an MCU film. That is partly due to the fact that he is busy with the Disney+ Star Wars shows, which could prevent him from coming back to the MCU at the moment. However, the Fantastic Four is the right vehicle for Farvreau who has shown an ability to inject action and lightheartedness in his past films, which are key aspects of the team’s adventures.