WandaVision Director Matt Shakman Explains Why He Chose Helming The MCU’s Fantastic Four Reboot Over Star Trek 4

Fantastic Four logo
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Although Matt Shakman got his start in the entertainment industry as a kid acting in shows like Just the Ten of Us, The Facts of Life and the original Night Court, he’s now better known as a director, namely in TV. However, following following his time helming WandaVision, the first of Disney+’s original Marvel shows, Shakman was tapped to direct Star Trek 4, the long-awaited continuation of the franchise’s Kelvin timeline. Eventually though, Shakman left Star Trek 4 behind to tackle the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Fantastic Four reboot, and now he’s explained why he chose the one over the other as his second movie, following 2014’s Cut Bank.

Matt Shakman boarded Star Trek 4 back in July 2021, but by late August 2022, he’d set his sights on Fantastic Four, which was officially announced to be in development at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con. Shortly thereafter, Shakman made his exit from Star Trek 4 official, and as the director explained to The Wrap, why he picked Marvel’s First Family over the crew of the USS Enterprise boiled down to having had such a good time working within the MCU the first time around:

I had a great time working on ‘Star Trek’ for a little over a year, working closely with J.J. Abrams and everyone at Paramount, and I love that franchise, and I love that cast that J.J. put together, and it would have been an unbelievable pleasure to work with them on the fourth installment there. But movies have different journeys and momentums and and schedules are a little bit mercurial, and so when the ‘Fantastic Four’ opportunity came up, it was just too hard to pass up, and to go back home to Marvel, a place that I worked on ‘WandaVision’ at, with those people who are wonderful collaborators.

So a combination of enjoying his experience on WandaVision and these projects progressing at different rates resulted in Matt Shakman deciding Fantastic Four was the better fit for him. Fantastic Four has definitely been making more progress than Star Trek 4, and in a shorter amount of time since the latter’s been stuck in development hell since 2016. Right now, Star Trek 4 is undated after previously being set for December 2023, while Fantastic Four is slated for a February 2025 release, and Shakman shared that production will begin in early 2024.

Despite choosing Fantastic Four over Star Trek 4, Matt Shakman still deeply admires the Star Trek franchise, and noted the similarities between that corner of the sci-fi genre and the superhero team as follows:

It’s really a family there and to be able to go back and tackle something that I truly love, and they’re very similar in some ways: they both were launched in the ’60s at the same time, they’re both about optimism and looking to the stars and technology can solve everything and they’re about family too — the family you have, the family you make. So they’re aligned in many ways and speak to my heart and equally, so I’m excited to be working on ‘Fantastic Four.'

There’s been no official word on where things stand with Star Trek 4 following Matt Shakman’s departure. That said, the Star Trek franchise as a whole is thriving these days thanks to the shows Discovery, Picard, Strange New Worlds, Lower Decks and Prodigy that Paramount+ subscribers can watch. As for Fantastic Four, no plot details or castings have been announced yet, although it has been clarified that the movie, which is being written by Jeff Kaplan and Ian Springer, won’t tell the origin story of Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, The Thing and The Human Torch. 

We here at CinemaBlend will continue passing along updates on how Fantastic Four and Star Trek 4 are coming along, though it’s safe to say at this point that the former will arrive before the latter. If you’d like to rewatch the previous Fantastic Four movies, they can be easily streamed with a Disney+ subscription.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.