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The MCU's Fantastic Four Reboot Has Hit A Major Setback

Fantastic Four Marvel Comics artwork
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

For a long time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t have access to the Fantastic Four, as 20th Century Fox controlled the film rights to both Marvel’s First Family and the X-Men. That’s no longer a concern after Disney acquired Fox, and it was officially announced at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019 that an MCU-set Fantastic Four reboot was in development. Roughly a year and a half later, Jon Watts was revealed to be directing the reboot, but that’s no longer happening.

Word’s come in that Jon Watts has vacated the Fantastic Four director’s chair, though not because of a falling out with Marvel Studios or anything like that. Instead, the filmmaker simply needs a break from the superhero genre after spending more than half a decade on the Tom Holland-led Spider-Man trilogy. Here’s what Watts said about his exit from the upcoming Marvel movie in a statement shared by Deadline:

Making three Spider-Man films was an incredible and life changing experience for me. I’m eternally grateful to have been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for seven years. I’m hopeful we’ll work together again and I can’t wait to see the amazing vision for Fantastic Four brought to life.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said in his own statement that collaborating with Jon Watts on Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home and Spider-Man: No Way Home was “a true pleasure,” and while he and Marvel Studios’ other executives were looking forward to working with him on Fantastic Four, they’re “supportive of his reasons for stepping away” and hope they’ll have “the opportunity to work together again at some point down the road.” It should be noted that while Watts is gone from Fantastic Four and wants to take a breather from superheroes, that doesn’t mean he’ll be gone from the genre forever. A fourth Tom Holland-led Spider-Man movie is in “active” development, and although we don’t have any idea when it will officially get off the ground, no doubt Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures would want him back for it.

So since Fantastic Four isn’t on his radar anymore, what movie will Jon Watts tackle next? Well, it was reported last September that Watts is writing, producing and directing a movie starring Ocean’s Eleven duo George Clooney and Brad Pitt as “lone wolf fixers” who get assigned on the same job. This movie doesn’t have a title yet, but it was acquired by Apple Studios and will reportedly receive a “robust theatrical release” before being made available on Apple TV+. While a release date hasn’t been set yet, my money’s on this untitled movie being prioritized on Watts’ to-do list.

As far as the Fantastic Four reboot goes, we’re back to simply knowing that the project exists and will play another round of the waiting game to learn who takes over as the new director. This will be the fourth Fantastic Four movie to be released to the public; fifth if you’re counting the one from 1994 that never scored a theatrical release, but was circulated via bootleg copies. Our last outing with this team was in 2015’s Fantastic Four, starring Miles Teller as Mr. Fantastic, Kate Mara as Invisible Woman, Jamie Bell as The Thing, Michael B. Jordan as The Human Torch and Toby Kebbell as Doctor Doom. That take on the Fantastic Four source material was a critical and commercial disappointment, resulting in plans being scrapped for a sequel that was supposed to be released in 2017.

CinemaBlend will share who Fantastic Four’s new director is as soon as that information arrives. Until then, see what offerings in the lineup of 2022 movie releases sound appealing.

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.