With Fox selling a bunch of their creative properties to Disney, it looks like the MCU will be getting even more populous as the rights to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four are reverting back to Marvel Studios. The Fantastic Four were Marvel’s first superheroes. They starred in the campy early stories that set the template for all the superhero comics that followed it.
As a result, in the MCU – as in the crossover comics – they should be the older, wiser characters from an earlier generation of heroes. Not super old, but old enough to be respected by the Avengers. Here are 5 Actors Who Should Play Fantastic Four Characters In The MCU (And 5 Who Shouldn’t).
10 Shouldn’t get cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Mr. Fantastic
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a fine actor who has both the charm and confidence of a movie star and the awkwardness and neuroses of someone you can relate to. That would make him an ideal Reed Richards – if he was old enough. Gordon-Levitt simply isn’t old enough to play Mr. Fantastic.
The Fantastic Four are often referred to as “Marvel’s First Family,” and that’s what they are. They were there at the beginning, setting the mold for every superhero comic to come. Reed Richards and Sue Storm need to be married and in their 40s for the characters to work on-screen.
9 Should get cast: Patrick Wilson as Mr. Fantastic
The fatal flaw in the casting of 2015’s Fantastic Four reboot is that they cast young actors. Miles Teller looks like a teenager. Reed Richards is a smart, sensible, middle-aged man. The Ioan Gruffudd movies had their own problems, but at least he was cast based on type.
Patrick Wilson has been great in The Conjuring movies and the second season of Fargo – he just needs a starring vehicle that suits his type to push his star power to the next level, and the MCU’s Fantastic Four reboot could be that vehicle. The only issue with Wilson is that he was just in Aquaman, so it’s possible that the MCU wouldn’t borrow an actor from their rival franchise, the DCEU.
8 Shouldn’t get cast: Emily Blunt as the Invisible Woman
It seems that any time there’s fan casting for a female comic book role, Emily Blunt is on the top of everyone’s lists. But there’s a good reason for that. She’s one of the best actresses working today, and she’s proven herself to have incredible range, appearing in comedies, dramas, action movies, horror movies – all kinds of projects. She has both the acting talent and the intense physicality to play a superhero well.
However, she isn’t quite right for the Invisible Woman. She’s too young, and she’d be better suited to a more unique and singular character like Captain Marvel than a member of a team. She’s already turned down two MCU roles – Black Widow and Peggy Carter – so it’s possible she doesn’t even want to play a superhero.
7 Should get cast: Charlize Theron as the Invisible Woman
Charlize Theron has the perfect look to play Sue Storm, but she’s also a brilliant and committed actor, she’s proven she can carry her own movies (even if the team tag along for the ride), and she gave the famously dedicated Keanu Reeves a run for his money when they stunt-trained together.
The Invisible Woman was often objectified and depicted as basically the team’s maid in the comics from the ‘60s. Casting Theron, who has won over action movie audiences with her portrayal of kick-ass women in Mad Max: Fury Road and Atomic Blonde, would help to save her from falling into that trap and instead be characterized as a strong-willed and independent character, as she should be.
6 Shouldn’t get cast: Sam Claflin as the Human Torch
Granted, Sam Claflin played a character in The Hunger Games franchise who bore a striking similarity to Johnny Storm: he was arrogant, self-obsessed, and flirtatious. However, unlike Johnny, that character was the worst. He was the kind of guy you love to hate, whereas Johnny Storm needs to be the kind of guy you hate to love.
His smugness can’t be seen as a negative quality, like it is in Claflin’s Hunger Games character Finnick. It needs to be seen as an unfortunate, yet bearable side effect of a positive quality, like Tony Stark, or simply unwarranted for comedic effect, like Peter Quill. That’s why Sam Claflin isn’t the guy.
5 Should get cast: Zac Efron as the Human Torch
The casting team for the MCU seem to take actors who are already quite famous and recognizable – like Chris Pratt or Paul Rudd or Benedict Cumberbatch – and immortalize them as superheroes. A lot of fan castings for the MCU’s Fantastic Four have chosen Zac Efron as Johnny Storm.
Efron is exactly the level of fame and likability that the MCU filmmakers usually go for – in fact, it’s a wonder why he hasn’t joined the franchise already – and he’d make a perfect Human Torch. Johnny is the reckless, womanizing, immature, handsome younger brother of Sue Storm. Are those not the roles Zac Efron plays best?
4 Shouldn’t get cast: Dave Bautista as the Thing
A lot of fans have put Dave Bautista in their dream cast for a Fantastic Four reboot, but the problem with that is that it would prevent the Fantastic Four from ever hanging out with the Guardians of the Galaxy. If the Fantastic Four are joining the MCU, then they’ll likely be spending a lot of time with the cosmic heroes.
After all, they did get their powers from a cosmic storm in outer space. It would be a real shame to have the choose between Drax and the Thing. Bautista should keep playing Drax and someone else should play Ben Grimm, as perfect as Bautista would’ve been for the role.
3 Should get cast: David Harbour as the Thing
While the recent Hellboy reboot wasn’t anything to brag about, David Harbour was brilliant as the title character. He nailed Hellboy’s cynicism, snarkiness, and lovability, and proved that David Harbour is still David Harbour if you bury him under a mountain of makeup and prosthetics (and that is how the Thing should be portrayed on-screen, like Michael Chiklis – not with dreadful CGI, like Jamie Bell).
He has fanboy cred, a slumped brow, and impeccable talent. That’s what would make him the perfect Ben Grimm. The only issue is that Harbour might not be eager to jump back into a heavy superhero suit for a long shoot, especially since the last time he did that, the movie was annihilated by critics and audiences.
2 Shouldn’t get cast: Eddie Redmayne as Doctor Doom
During pre-production on Josh Trank’s 2015 Fantastic Four reboot, Eddie Redmayne was one of the names under consideration to play Doctor Doom. But come on, that’s a terrible idea. Doctor Doom is one of the most fearsome and incredible villains in Marvel Comics history, and he’s yet to be properly portrayed on the big screen.
Redmayne makes a good Stephen Hawking and Newt Scamander, but he’ll never be able to play a frightening, evil overlord. They already screwed up two Doctor Dooms. This character has the chance to be the next Joker if he’s depicted right, but Eddie Redmayne isn’t the guy to do that.
1 Should get cast: Bryan Cranston as Doctor Doom
To avoid the MCU’s Doctor Doom feeling like a rip-off of Thanos with an actor simply putting on an “evil voice” to deliver the lines, the filmmakers will need someone truly brilliant to make the part their own and do something unique with it. That’s where the spectacular Bryan Cranston steps in (or should step in).
He’s already played a corrupted genius who turned against the people he cared about and became a full-blown criminal mastermind. Imagine if Walter White had diplomatic immunity and superpowers. He’d be unstoppable! That’s what would make Bryan Cranston as Doom such a sight to behold.