Marvel's new podcast series has found its Mr. Fantastic in Star Trek: Discovery's Ethan Peck. The actor is the grandson of Hollywood icon Gregory Peck. After minor appearances in such shows as Gossip Girl, he earned his breakout role, playing a new (and sometimes bearded) version of Spock in season 2 of the CBS All Access show. Revealed to be the brother of Discovery's lead character, Michael Burnham, the character recurred throughout the sophomore outing.
Marvel, meanwhile, has continued to dominate the big screen. They capped off a huge 22-film saga with Avengers: Endgame earlier this year. Garnering positive reviews, the film recently became the highest-grossing film of all time. The colossal team-up adventure was promptly followed up by Spider-Man: Far From Home. Serving as an epilogue to close out Phase 3, the solo outing enjoyed box office success of its own - becoming Sony's highest-grossing film ever. Following a breakdown in discussions between Sony and Disney, further Spidey adventures within the MCU are currently in doubt. Regardless, the MCU shows no signs of stopping - with Phase 4 already unveiled and Phase 5 teased at SDCC. As well as that, it was revealed earlier this month that Marvel would continue their foray into audio dramas.
According to CBR, the podcast adaptation, which will be a joint production between Marvel and Stitcher, has cast Peck as its Reed Richards. Stitcher previously helped adapt Wolverine: The Long Night and its follow-up Wolverine: The Lost Trail. The new series will be based on Marvels, first published in 1994. The story will pick up in the aftermath of a battle between the Fantastic Four and the world-devouring cosmic entity known as Galactus. A campaign led by J. Jonah Jameson sees the superhero family dismissed as frauds and Galactus’ invasion written off as a hoax. Similar to the source material, the podcast series will be told from the perspective of the ordinary people who inhabit the Marvel world - with photographer Phil Sheldon, journalist Ben Urich, and a student named Marcia Hardesty all trying to uncover the truth.
Sheldon, Urich, and Hardesty will be voiced by Seth Barrish, Clifford “Method Man” Smith, and AnnaSophia Robb, respectively. Joining Peck within the ranks of the Fantastic Four will be Louisa Krause as Sue Storm, Ehad Berisha as Johnny Storm, and Jake Hart as Ben Grimm, aka. The Thing. The series will be comprised of 10 episodes and premiere later this year.
With the rights to the characters reverting to Disney and Marvel Studios, the role of Reed Richards is one that comes with a lot of expectations. Even though it'll be years before they debut within the MCU, fans are already declaring their ideal picks and producing fan art depicting John Krasinski in the role. Peck, however, has already proven himself adept at tackling a role made famous by others. Taking over from Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto was no mean feat. The fact he not only did the role justice but garnered such a level of acclaim that fans are still calling for a spinoff centered on him and Anson Mount's Captain Pike speaks volumes.
While playing the role in an audio drama is a far cry from tackling the character onscreen, it still grants Peck the chance to put his stamp on the character. Especially since the last two attempts at adapting the character in theaters were not met favorably. Similar to how Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy are forever associated with The Joker and Batman, respectively, Peck could not only tide fans over until a Fantastic Four film but could put his voice firmly in people's minds when it comes to casting. As such, who knows what the future may hold?