The following column is going to dig into all sorts of Marvel Cinematic Universe spoilers, including things that have happened, and things that might still come. It’s a mix of analysis and speculation, and you might want to not read it if you haven’t yet seen Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. You have been warned!
Halfway through the new Doctor Strange movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, our hero (Benedict Cumberbatch) is detained in Earth-838 by his foe Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and brought before a powerful group of multiverse-policing superheroes known as The Illuminati. The Stephen Strange of Earth-838 assembled this team to make difficult decisions that others can not. And in a somewhat surprising cameo, A Quiet Place director and star John Krasinski made his MCU debut playing Reed Richards, the “smartest man alive” and leader of The Fantastic Four.
John Krasinski has been fan-casted as Reed Richards for some time now, with MCU supporters also lobbying for Krasinski’s wife, the ultra-famous Emily Blunt, to co-star alongside him as Sue Storm, aka The Invisible Woman. The actor even addressed the rumors while promoting A Quiet Place Part II, saying he puts all of his trust in Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. Now that it has come to fruition, what does the future hold for the actor, the character, and the franchise?
John Krasinski should keep playing Reed Richards.
Yes, we too saw Reed die horribly at the hands of the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), somehow unraveling his elastic body until his head popped like an over-inflated balloon. But Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness confirmed that there are multiple versions of every character existing in alternate universes, and for the most part, they look like the actor cast in the original role. For Stephen Strange alone, we met Defender Strange (in the opening scene), Supreme Strange, and Sinister Strange. They are all played by Benedict Cumberbatch, so there’s precedent for John Krasinski to play a Reed Richards variant in the Fantastic Four movie.
However, Marvel Studios has also given themselves an out if they somehow are not able to retain Krasinski for the coveted role. In Spider-Man: No Way Home, the variant Peter Parkers looked like Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, not like Tom Holland. So Marvel COULD cast a different actor, and just say they cameoed Krasinski as a fun nod to the fan demands.
John Krasinski should direct the Fantastic Four movie.
He’d be replacing Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts, who walked away from the Fantastic Four project at Marvel but left on good terms, with Kevin Feige saying he’d be eager to work with Watts in the future. You know, like on Spider-Man 4.
Handing the Fantastic Four over to Krasinski makes sense. He has directed two Quiet Place films with his wife in the lead. He has a taste for sci-fi (essential to the FF origin story), models his films after the warm, nostalgic Amblin vibe that would fit the Fantastic Four like a glove, and he’s poised to take the next step to blockbuster filmmaking. The Quiet Place movies are enormous successes for Paramount. It feels like Krasinski could transition into the MCU and not lose the style, grip on tension, and humor he has brought to his bigger-budget films.
Also, it’s crazy convenient that Jon Watts walked away from Fantastic Four mere weeks before John Krasinski was introduced into the MCU as Reed Richards. It’s almost as if Watts never really intended to helm Fantastic Four, but agreed to attach his name to it, then gracefully bow out, as a favor to Kevin Feige. It makes for a clean transition to Krasinski, should Marvel have a contract with The Office co-star ready and waiting to go.
The issue with a Fantastic Four movie is that while it has been announced, there is no release date on the schedule of upcoming Marvel movies, and once Watts left, we assumed that the pre-production would have gone on hold. It’s possible that John Krasinski has been brainstorming on Fantastic Four since the moment he filmed this cameo. If so, we might expect to hear some confirmation regarding a collaboration soon. Until then, Thor: Love and Thunder is the next Marvel movie up, featuring a fresh new take on the God of Thunder, courtesy of Natalie Portman. See you in July.
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