February 23, 2024

Marvel Studios’ “Fantastic Four,” which will bring one of the most well known superhero teams in all of comics into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is zeroing in on one of its main leads.

Pedro Pascal is currently being eyed to play Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic, a brilliant scientist who gains the ability to bend and stretch his body like rubber following exposure to gamma rays during a scientific expedition to outer space.

The role would continue Pascal’s hot streak of iconic characters. His career first took off with his memorable turn as Prince Oberyn Martell on “Game of Thrones,” and then hit a new height when he was cast as the titular bounty hunter on “The Mandalorian,” the first “Star Wars” TV and inaugural series for Disney+. The 48-year-old actor was recently nominated for an Emmy for his performance on the ongoing HBO series “The Last of Us.”

“WandaVision” director Matt Shakman will helm “Fantastic Four.” He took over from Jon Watts, who directed all three of Marvel and Sony’s “Spider-Man” movies with Tom Holland, after Watts exited the film. “Fantastic Four” is scheduled to open May 2, 2025.

Marvel Studios first scored the rights to the Fantastic Four in 2019, when Disney acquired 21st Century Fox. Prior to that, Marvel’s First Family — i.e., the first superheroes ever created for Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby — headlined three movies for Fox: 2005’s original “Fantastic Four,” its 2007 sequel “Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer” and a 2015 reboot that was poorly received. The first cast included Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards, Jessica Alba as Susan Storm, Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm and Chris Evans, before he went on to play the MCU’s Captain America, as Johnny Storm. The 2015 reboot cast included Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell and Michael B. Jordan, who also went on to star in the MCU’s “Black Panther” films, in those same respective roles. (In 1994, producer Roger Corman and German production company Constantin Film infamously shot a low-budget “Fantastic Four” movie in order to keep the rights to the property, but it was never released in theaters.)

This won’t be the first glimpse of the Fantastic Four in the MCU. In 2022’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” John Krasinski appears in a brief cameo as an alternate universe version of Reed Richards — before he’s ripped to shreds by the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). Krasinski’s role was a nod to Marvel fans’ pleas to cast him as the hero in the years following Disney’s acquisition — with his wife, Emily Blunt, as the fan favorite to play Susan Storm, aka the Invisible Woman, who gains the ability to project powerful force fields and turn invisible at will.

Along with Susan Storm, castings for the other two main characters in the title quartet — Susan’s hotheaded brother Johnny Storm, aka The Human Torch; and Reed’s best friend Ben Grimm, aka The Thing —  have yet to be announced.

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