D23 Expo 2022 is coming soon, and it’s possible Marvel Studios will officially announce the director and cast of MCU Phase 6’s Fantastic Four movie. Fantastic Four was officially announced as an MCU movie in 2019 at San Diego Comic-Con. Since then, the movie has gone through some changes with Jon Watts initially hired to direct the film before leaving the project to focus on non-superhero-related opportunities.
At San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Marvel Studios’ first appearance at the Con since 2019, Kevin Feige announced that Fantastic Four is still in development despite losing Watts as director. The film was confirmed to be the first movie in the MCU’s Phase 6, followed by two Avengers movies in 2025. With the film set for a November 2024 release date, the search for a director has been ongoing since Jon Watts left the project.
Besides the director search for Fantastic Four, one of the biggest talking points in recent superhero cinema has been who will be cast as the various members of the titular team. With popular fan-casting for Reed Richards John Krasinski playing the Earth-838 version in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, many began speculating whether Krasinski would return as the MCU’s prime version of Reed Richards for Fantastic Four. Alongside Krasinski, many names have been brought up as fan castings for the other three team members. With that being said, here are all the rumors, leaks, and potential announcements that could be made regarding Phase 6’s first film at D23 Expo 2022.
Will Matt Shakman Be Confirmed As Fantastic Four’s Director At D23?
With more Marvel announcements expected at D23 Expo 2022, one of the highly likely reveals will be the official confirmation of Fantastic Four’s director. Since Watts left the project, many names have circulated the rumor mill including legendary directors like Steven Spielberg. However, in recent weeks, it was reported that Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four, filling in for Jon Watts. Shakman is no stranger to the world of the MCU, having been the sole director for 2021’s WandaVision.
Some of Shakman’s other directorial credits from the world of TV come in the form of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Boys, Game of Thrones, and Fargo to name but a few. Shakman would be a natural choice to direct Fantastic Four, especially given his already strong working relationship with Marvel Studios. While no official confirmation came from anyone at Marvel over Shakman’s helming of the film, many insiders reported that the talks were progressing well, and Shakman’s departure from Star Trek 4 in light of the talks bodes well for him taking the position. Naturally then, it would make sense for Shakman to be officially confirmed as the director of Fantastic Four at D23 Expo 2022, shedding more light on one of the MCU’s most secretive projects.
All Potential Fantastic Four Casting Rumors That Could Be Confirmed At D23
Should Shakman’s direction of Fantastic Four be confirmed at D23, it would make sense for the casting for the film’s titular team to finally be set in stone alongside its director. While the many casting rumors surrounding Fantastic Four that have circulated the film since its announcement are much less reliable than Shakman entering talks with the studio, there have still been many rumors surfacing in recent weeks regarding each member of the team. Some of these rumors could very well turn out to be accurate, and potentially even be announced at D23 2022.
Beginning with Reed Richards, the obvious leader in casting rumors is John Krasinski after the actor portrayed Reed in Doctor Strange 2. Since then, however, there hasn’t been any official confirmation on whether Krasinski will play Earth-616’s version of the character. In recent weeks, though, a few other names have resurfaced after being in the rumor mill for the MCU’s Reed Richards. The front-runner, according to several insiders though without official confirmation, is apparently Penn Badgley, known for his roles on Gossip Girl, Easy A, and You. According to the anonymous insider GreatPhase, Badgley is among Marvel’s top choices for Reed Richards, alongside other actors such as Jamie Dornan. With Shakman’s direction of the film all but confirmed, an official announcement for the MCU’s Reed Richards is likely, and certainly highly anticipated, for D23 Expo 2022.
In terms of Reed Richards’ other half, Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, Krasinski’s wife Emily Blunt takes her place alongside her spouse as the front-runner of most MCU fan-casts. However, Blunt is unlikely to play Sue Storm in the MCU should the rumors around Badgley and other front-runners turn out to be true with Marvel opting for slightly younger actors. Recently, a shortlist of actresses has seemingly been leaked for the MCU’s Sue Storm. Like the Badgley rumors, insider GreatPhase leaked names including Lily James, Amanda Seyfried, Phillipa Soo, Jodie Comer, Saoirse Ronan, and Vanessa Kirby. Whether one of these names will be confirmed for Sue Storm remains to be seen, however, it remains the case that D23 Expo 2022 would be the perfect place for Marvel Studios to do so should Shakman be announced as director.
Regarding the other two members of the Fantastic Four, Ben Grimm/The Thing and the Johnny Storm/Human Torch (previously played by Chris Evans), the fan-casts have mainly remained exactly that, with no real rumors or leaks being revealed for the two. Some names in circulation for The Thing include Jason Segel and Seth Rogen, with both being of Jewish descent like Ben Grimm in the comics. For Johnny, names like Joe Keery, Dacre Montgomery, Zac Efron, and Rudy Pankow are commonly mentioned. Again, with Shakman’s official confirmation as director highly likely for D23 Expo 2022, it would make sense for Feige to finally reveal the titular teams’ cast either from the rumored list of names or completely new actors altogether for the MCU’s Fantastic Four, finally stopping the rumor mill once and for all.