Rumors have been circulating for months about whom Marvel Studios and director Matt Shakman might cast for their planned Fantastic Four movie, which would be the fourth movie historically but the first one completely produced by Marvel Studios and released by Disney as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Now, it’s been made official that 48-year-old actor Pedro Pascal is in talks to play Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic, the patriarch and leader of Marvel’s first family of superheroes. The three-time Emmy nominee has been no stranger to genre work over the past few years, leading HBO’s popular video game-based series, The Last of Us, as well as playing the title character in Lucasfilm‘s Disney+ series, The Mandalorian.
Scheduling still needs to be worked out with Pascal’s other obligations, including a second season of The Last of Us, also finishing up his work on Ridley Scott‘s Gladiator 2, which had to shut down production due to the writers and actors strikes. The latter is supposed to return to production by year’s end, while The Last of Us is expected to start shooting again next year.
The Fantastic Four was officially Stan Lee’s very first comic book under the new Marvel Comics banner in 1961, the premise involving a tight family unit of space explorers who are bombarded with cosmic rays that give them superpowers. Richards is able to stretch or contort his body into all sorts of shapes and sizes with his girlfriend (later wife) Sue Storm/Richards able to turn invisible and create force fields. Her brother Johnny Storm gets the power to literally turn himself into a flaming Human Torch, while Reed’s best friend and pilot Ben Grimm gets turned into a super-strong but monstrous beast, who becomes known as the Thing. No word on who might play the other three roles, but Marvel has already claimed a May 2, 2025 release date for that one.
The role of Reed Richards was mostly recently played by John Krasinski in 2022’s Doctor Strange into the Multiverse of Madness, while earlier incarnations of the character were played in 20th Century Fox‘s movies by Miles Teller and Ioan Gruffudd.
(Incidentally, Above the Line will have an interview with Shakman early next week, but that was mainly to talk about his Apple TV+ series, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, which debuts this Friday.)
Almost simultaneously, director Destin Daniel Cretton announced that he was departing as director for the planned Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, which set a release for May 1, 2026, which is plenty of time to find a new director. Cretton will instead focus on makig the sequel to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and a planned Wonder Man series, both for Marvel.