Given Marvel's history, it doesn't seem likely that the MCU's Fantastic Four villain would be Doctor Doom. Marvel Studios officially unveiled their MCU Phase 4 slate at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, but in addition to talking about the franchise's immediate future, they also mentioned that they're working on bringing the Fantastic Four into the MCU.
While the Fantastic Four are coming into the MCU for the first time, this wouldn't be their first big screen appearance. Over the years, 20th Century Fox worked on multiple Fantastic Four movies - Tim Story's Fantastic Four in 2005 (with a sequel in 2007) and Josh Trank's Fantastic Four in 2015. Unfortunately, each installment had been received harshly by critics and fans around the world. What's more, the Fantastic Four villain Doctor Doom had been adapted three times (if one counts the unreleased The Fantastic Four movie released by Roger Corman) and his potential as both a sympathetic character and a villain has been wasted in each version.
The Fantastic Four movies kept screwing up Doctor Doom, who's not only one of the team's main villains but also an immensely popular comic book character. A version of Doctor Doom that is closer to his comic book counterpart seems like a natural choice for the villain of the upcoming Fantastic Four movie, but Doctor Doom has a lot of baggage that might keep him away from the team when they debut in the MCU. At least at first.
Marvel Likes To Differentiate Themselves From The Past
The Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and 2015's Fantastic Four all featured Doctor Doom as a villain, at least on some level. These versions of Doctor Doom didn't try to recreate the comic book version of the character on-screen; instead, they went with their own routes. The first Doctor Doom was a Bruce Wayne-style playboy whose mind was twisted by his newly-acquired superpowers, while the second version of Doctor Doom was a lowly computer programmer who was in love with Susan Storm. In the end, he grew attached to the alien world that gave him superpowers. Neither version of Doctor Doom was well-received by audiences, and the grandiose comic book version of the character has yet to make an appearance in live-action.
So it's possible the previous live-action iterations of Doctor Doom might have soured Marvel on him if the Spider-Man movie franchise is anything to go by. The two Spider-Man movies in the MCU used villains that never appeared in any of the Sony films - Vulture and Mysterio. The Green Goblin appeared in three Spider-Man movies, so it wasn't necessary to immediately repeat the past. Marvel has yet to touch any of the villains from the previous Spider-Man films - despite the fact that Spider-Man: Far From Home did use a version of Sandman - even though it means missing out on some of the most popular villains in the franchise.
Part of this is because the studio doesn't want to draw more comparisons between the MCU Spider-Man films and the ones from Sam Raimi and Marc Webb. Furthermore, it seems they plan on doing something similar with the X-Men if they really do simply focus on mutants and not the superhero team.
Doctor Doom Could Get His Own Movie
When the Disney-Fox deal closed, the Mouse House ended up cancelling several 20th Century Fox movies. It's presumed that all of the Fox Marvel projects that were in development - everything from Gambit and X-Force to Kitty Pryde and Multiple Man - have been cancelled and won't be revisited in the future. Another Marvel project that was in development at the time was a Doctor Doom solo movie from Fargo and Legion creator Noah Hawley.
The story of the Doctor Doom solo movie might have ended with the Disney-Fox acquisition, but Hawley and Marvel are still in talks with each other about making the film. It's possible that there are plans to adapt his existing ideas for the MCU, which would give Doctor Doom his own solo movie before later appearing as a villain in another film. (This isn't dissimilar to what DC Films is doing with Dwayne Johnson and his Black Adam movie.) Introducing Doctor Doom in his own film without tying him to a specific hero or team might also be helpful in building him up for something bigger down the line.
Doctor Doom is known as being a Fantastic Four villain, but he has crossed blades with pretty much every superhero and team of heroes. The nature of Doctor Doom's abilities means he can take on anyone. He has an entire country behind him, an army of Doombots, a cybernetic suit similar to Iron Man's strength, and a skill with magic that is second only to Doctor Strange. Doctor Doom could theoretically fit as the villain in any number of MCU movies, as he has what it takes to be a global-level villain. And that's what makes a Doctor Doom solo movie so intriguing.
Other Fantastic Four Villains The MCU Could Use
Doctor Doom might not debut as the villain in the MCU Fantastic Four movie, which means that they still need a foe to face in their first film. Going on the logic that Marvel will be avoiding villains that have already been used in previous installments, then Galactus and the Silver Surfer would be out. Galactus could be the next cosmic-level threat that the MCU faces, but it would take time to build up to him as a threat and he is a more likely candidate for a post-credits scene cameo.
Mole Man seems like an obvious choice, as he was the first-ever villain in the Fantastic Four comics. Namor is another strong choice, as his solo movie has been in development hell with different companies over the years and Aquaman proved how profitable movies set in underwater cities can be. Puppet Master would also be a good choice if Marvel was going with smaller scale villains in the build-up to Doctor Doom, and he could connect Alicia Masters to the MCU.
Captain Marvel has already introduced the Skrulls to the MCU, but the Super-Skrull could be a continuation of their storyline in the Fantastic Four movie. Furthermore, Spider-Man: Far From Home has hinted that the Skrulls have a bigger role to play in the future of the MCU, and that story might dovetail into the return of the Fantastic Four.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021