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Marvel's Fantastic Four Release Date, Cast, Director, Writer And More Details

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The world has seen a number of "Fantastic Four" films come and go. There's the low-budget and infamously unreleased 1994 flick few have ever seen (and perhaps you've never heard of). There's the 2005 and 2007 films helmed by Tim Story, which made a solid splash among the moviegoing public. Finally, there's 2015's "Fantastic Four," which earned devastatingly bad reviews and equally dire box office returns. Though it's better than nothing, this motley assemblage of adaptations has left fans of Marvel's first family frustrated. You would be too, if half of the movies made about your favorite characters were either inaccessible or legendarily awful.

Luckily, hope is on the horizon. The MCU will be turning out its own "Fantastic Four" movie soon, and if its previous big-deal films ("Avengers: Endgame," "Spider-Man: No Way Home") are any indication, it's bound to be a winner. While we caught an early glimpse of an alternate Reed Richards in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," what do we actually know about the upcoming adventure flick? Quite a lot, really. Strap yourselves into the Fantasti-Car, because we're taking a look at everything we know about "The Fantastic Four" so far.

When will The Fantastic Four be released?

"The Fantastic Four" was officially announced in 2019, but it's taken quite a while for the film to hit the big screen. It was originally slated to debut in November 2024 before getting kicked back to May 2, 2025. But then the suits at Marvel decided to push it back one more time, and now, "The Fantastic Four" is set to release on July 25, 2025. The year 2025 will be a huge one for Marvel, especially with "Deadpool & Wolverine" being the lone MCU release of 2024. In addition to introducing Marvel's first family, 2025 will also see the arrival of "Captain America: Brave New World," "Thunderbolts," and "Blade." While we're psyched for all those films — especially the MCU arrival of the Daywalker — the crown jewel of that superhero release slate has to be the movie bringing Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, and the Storms back into the Marvel fold.

Who is starring in The Fantastic Four?

After endless online theories, we finally know who will be playing Marvel's first family. On Valentine's Day 2024, Marvel Studios showed us some love by announcing the four leads. Pedro Pascal of "The Mandalorian" fame will portray Reed Richards (aka Mr. Fantastic), and Vanessa Kirby of the "Mission: Impossible" franchise will star as Sue Storm (aka Invisible Woman). Her hot-headed brother, Johnny Storm (aka the Human Torch), will be portrayed by Joseph Quinn of "Stranger Things." And last but not least, Ben Grimm (aka the Thing) will finally start clobberin' thanks to Ebon Moss-Bachrach of "The Bear."

As for the rest of the cast, Deadline reported in April 2024 that Julia Garner of "Ozark" will portray Silver Surfer, the herald of Galactus. On that note, Jeff Sneider of The InSneider has reported that Javier Bardem might play the aforementioned gigantic cosmic wanderer who literally consumes planets. Also, rumors that H.E.R.B.I.E. — a charismatic robot associated with the Fantastic Four — would make an appearance have seemingly been confirmed now that he's appeared on an official promotional poster. However, we have no idea who will voice the character.

Furthermore, there are also plenty of Doctor Doom rumors, with theories suggesting the masked menace might be portrayed by Cillian Murphy or — more surprisingly — Mads Mikkelsen, who previously portrayed Kaecilius in "Doctor Strange." Again, none of this has been confirmed outside the casting of the four leads, but we're incredibly excited to see what other big names will join this fantastic cast.

What is the plot of The Fantastic Four?

We don't yet know many concrete details about the plot of "The Fantastic Four," but we do have some tantalizing hints. When discussing the similarities between the Fantastic Four and "Star Trek," a franchise he was then part of, director Matt Shakman remarked to TheWrap, "They're very similar in some ways: They both were launched in the '60s at the same time, they're both about optimism and looking to the stars and technology can solve everything, and they're about family too — the family you have, the family you make." 

As ardent fans know, these truly are the core elements of Marvel's first family. The FF — comprised of Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm — begin as a quartet of space explorers, who are bombarded with cosmic rays that grant them superpowers. The bonds between them are complex — two members (Reed and Sue) are married, two (Sue and Johnny) are siblings, and all are longtime friends –  but always strong.

While the MCU movie will doubtlessly tackle these details, Kevin Feige has made it clear it won't be in the form of an origin story. That's interesting as the movie is seemingly set in the 1960s, as implied by the official promotional poster where the Thing reads a 1963 issue of Life magazine. Shakman has also revealed the film won't directly adapt any particular comic book run. While further details are thin, there are a number of interesting rumors swirling. "Fantastic Four" is said to be a deeply cosmic movie, with major world-building implications that lead directly into "Avengers: Secret Wars." Casting scuttlebutt also implies Galactus might be the film's antagonist, and — in an exciting departure from classic FF storytelling — Sue is the likely lead.

Who is directing The Fantastic Four?

The MCU's "Fantastic Four" will be directed by Matt Shakman. This project clearly means a lot to him; he chose it over helming "Star Trek 4." "Yeah, I love that comic," he told "The Discourse Podcast." "I certainly let them know that I love that comic ... I was thrilled that I was able to jump into the director's chair on it and take [Jon Watts'] place." Fans should be encouraged by this dedication, to say nothing of the impressive work he's already pulled off within the MCU: Shakman directed the smash hit Disney+ series "WandaVision." 

"WandaVision" is an excellent trial run for "Fantastic Four." Like that series, the FF's stories tend towards the retro. Even as the decades have flown by, there's something indelibly '60s about them — they're children of the Space Race, no matter the era. Shakman's non-MCU experience also bodes well for "Fantastic Four." He's helmed episodes of everything from the riotous historical satire "The Great" to the blockbuster fantasy saga "Game of Thrones," not to mention multiple episodes of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." This versatility will doubtlessly prove invaluable to tackling one of Marvel's longest-running supergroups.

Who is writing The Fantastic Four?

"The Fantastic Four" has had a number of writers attached to it over the course of the last few years, but it's come to rest in the capable hands of Josh Friedman and Eric Pearson. Friedman wrote the primary version of the script, with Pearson coming in to do a bit of a polish.

Friedman is a thoroughly experienced writer who's worked on everything from 2005 disaster epic "War of the Worlds" to 2006 crime drama "The Black Dahlia" to 2019 sci-fi actioner "Terminator: Dark Fate." More recently, Friedman has worked on the Apple TV+ series "Foundation," blockbuster epic "Avatar: The Way of Water," and "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes." 

Sharp-eyed fans will notice something about those projects: They're all science fiction. Moreover, two of them — "Foundation" and "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" — are based on classic genre properties that first came to be in the middle of the 20th century. This is tremendously good news for Marvel fans, as the Fantastic Four were born of that same era. Friedman is a dab hand when it comes to thoughtful stories about humanity on the outer reaches of experience — which happens to be exactly what's called for in "Fantastic Four."

As for Pearson, he's pretty experienced on the Marvel side of things, as he's been involved with "Thor: Ragnarok" and "Black Widow," as well as the Monsterverse's "Godzilla vs. Kong."

Is The Fantastic Four based on a comic?

Director Matt Shakman has a wealth of source material for the MCU's "Fantastic Four." There are decades of incredible ink-and-paper stories starring the famous foursome he can draw on — and happily, he knows their worth. While discussing inspiration with Inverse, Shakman remarked, "I'm not so much looking at the other movies. I'm looking at the comics themselves. I'm a huge comic book fan. I've been a big fan of the Fantastic Four since I was a kid. So going back to Kirby and Lee and Byrne and following all the way up to what's happening, certainly Hickman and Wade and Ryan North, what he's been doing. I'm trying to figure out who these characters are to me and how to bring them to life in the best possible way, and that's really where I've started and how we've approached it."

The names he drops here are seriously encouraging. Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's run on the FF is among the best in Marvel history. John Byrne's time on the comic was marked by incredible action and artwork. Jonathan Hickman, one of Marvel's modern masterminds, expanded the team's mythology in a gigantic way. With touchstones like these, Shakman is definitely on the right path.