While the last decade or so has seen the release of some truly great superhero movies, Twentieth Century Fox's Fantastic Four titles aren't really counted among the winners. Despite modest box office success, the big screen adaptations of Marvel's first superhero team-up comic are regarded relatively poorly by fans and critics alike.
Fox isn't ready to give up on the property just yet however, and is instead turning over a new page with Chronicle director Josh Trank, a brand new cast and (presumably) another attempt at an origin story for the Fantastic Four. The studio is so confident, in fact, that its already staked out a release date for Fantastic Four 2 in summer 2017.
A rumor that the antagonist, Doctor Doom, would be reinvented as a woman was quickly shot down by Trank, but just in case it needed an extra toe tag a new report by Variety reveals that Fox has settled on Toby Kebbell (RocknRolla) as the actor they want for the role. Kebbell was on a shortlist of young British actors that also included Sam Riley, Eddie Redmayne and Domhnall Gleeson. Assuming the deal gets closed he will be joining Jamie Bell, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Miles Teller on set this spring.
Kebbell fits well into a cast of actors who are recognizable, but not yet Hollywood stars, and despite not being the first name that most would pick to play Doctor Doom he's likely to be one of the less controversial casting announcements. At 33 years old he also follows the pattern of somewhat younger actors that have been chosen for Trank's reboot of the movie franchise, which seems to drawing inspiration from the Ultimate Universe rather than the standard Earth-616 Marvel Comics continuity.
This year Kebbell will reprise his role as the sinister, half-blind intelligent ape Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. His best known role to date is art thief Johnny Quid in Guy Ritchie's 2008 gangster film RocknRolla, and he's also played supporting parts in other action films like Prince of Persia and Wrath of the Titans.
In the most recent big screen adaptations - Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - Victor von Doom was played both times by Nip/Tuck star Julian McMahon. It's a vital role, since comic book movies tend to rise or fall depending on the strength of their villain, and Kebbell seems like a solid choice.
Fantastic Four will arrive in theaters on June 19, 2015, with Fantastic Four 2 set for release on July 14, 2017.
Dr. Doom Artwork by Gabriele Dell'otto
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