As a reward for marshaling the friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man safely through three movies across two studios, while baking him into the MCU, we knew that director Jon Watts had been handed the keys to The Fantastic Four. Just reward for the truckloads of ca$h the latest installment is delivering to Sony and to Disney.

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The movie was announced by Marvel Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige, during Disney Investor Day in December 2020. Watt’s involvement became known towards the end of 2021. So when will the movie arrive? Keen Marvel watchers think the studio is going to pull something.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which arrives in cinemas on July 28th, 2023, was originally the final Phase 4 movie. However, when Marvel showed an updated Phase 4 showreel to accompany Black Widow on release it had been extended and included a title card for The Fantastic Four.

Fantastic-Four

One of the bad guys from The Fantastic Four, who has deep links with one of them, is Kang The Conqueror. He has already been introduced in the season finale of Loki on Disney+. There are big rumors also circulating that the reshoots on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness were in a closed set with limited presence to allow for the introduction of several new characters in total secrecy. Feige himself seemed to confirm that these reshoots will indeed introduce new characters, but remained tight-lipped about who they would be.

There was also a tantalizing hint from Feige about casting when he gave an interview to ComicBook.com last year when asked about the project in which he hinted that casting was already being carried out in secret for the MCU members that have been acquired from Fox. Speaking of what to expect, he went on to say that maybe we should expect a blend of known and unknown:

“I think the MCU is a beautiful combination of both (established actors and new faces). I think you look no further than Simu in Shang-Chi, like Chris Hemsworth, like Tom Hiddleston, like Tom Holland, an actor that hadn’t been seen by a tremendous amount of people before, or you have a Benedict stepping into Doctor Strange or Christian Bale stepping into Gor in our Thor film.

It is always a beautiful combination of both, and it really is about the search for the best actor for the job whether that actor is known to the world yet or not.”

Fan favorites for at least two of the roles are John Krasinski and his real-life wife, Emily Blunt, as Reed Richards and Sue Storm.

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The guys over at MovieWeb have also talked up the likelihood of at least one of Marvel’s First Family appearing in some capacity in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, maybe in a similar manner to Spider-Man’s first appearance in Captain America: Civil War. If this does then lead to The Fantastic Four being the final Phase 4 movie then filming would have to start this year for a late 2023 release.

Which would fit with the idea that the roles have already been cast. Jon Watts’ is working on Final Destination 6, but only as a Producer. Is his dance card clear enough to get The Fantastic Four up and running for 2023?

Unbelievably this would be their fifth live-action outing as characters in thirty years. Roger Corman’s unreleased 1994 effort was first. Then in 2005, 20th Century Fox gave us Fantastic Four. This was followed by Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer in 2007.

The least said about the 2015 reboot Fant4stic, the better.

The post-COVID release shuffle at Disney left a gap for “Untitled Marvel Movie” on the schedule in November 2023, and another one in February 2024.

Ant-Man 3 has wrapped. Thor: Love And Thunder wrapped some months ago. The Marvels and Guardians of The Galaxy Vol.3 are set to complete by the end of February. That leaves a lot of empty studio space and production talent around at Marvel. Is The Fantastic Four about to utilise them?

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