The Marvel Cinematic Universe has an even bigger toybox of iconic comic book characters to play with after the acquisition of the X-Men and Fantastic Four. 2020’s Disney+ Investor Day stream formally confirmed what fans surely knew by announcing a new reboot of the latter. Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts was slated to helm the latest attempt at getting this beloved team right on the big screen, but he’s now left a void in the director’s chair.
Marvel Studios has developed a strong relationship with a slew of directors, wielding an industry pull that many studios would love to have. Finding a new director for Fantastic Four should be a minor issue at best for Kevin Feige, but it’d be best that the new head of the movie has a unique vision that will continue to help shake the MCU out of its mundane comfort zone.
While it doesn’t look like Feige and the rest of Marvel Studios are looking to heavily tie down their creatives anymore, it certainly helps that they’ve already got a working relationship with the beloved Sam Raimi. The director of the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness could hypothetically be the easiest fill-in, depending on his desires. With Marvel Studios having already gotten Raimi through the door for one movie, it could potentially make him coming aboard for one more ride smoother.
Sam Raimi is a director with a unique vision and filmmaking style, which is something the MCU would surely benefit from, and his work on the classic Spider-Man trilogy showed fans his soulful passion for intimate, character-driven storytelling. His iteration of Peter Parker was both grounded and emotionally investing, and that could only be a boon for Marvel Comics’ First Family’s fourth stab at getting a good live-action Fantastic Four movie. A potential obstacle for this pick would be the director’s wishes to only helm projects he feels passionate about, which is both admirable and understandable.
There have been a lot of rumors and fan-casts circulating the internet over who would play Reed Richards, and actor John Krasinski has been at the center of them. Should those rumors and speculation over the members of the Illuminati in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness pan out, fans could get their final answer soon enough.
He certainly has the looks for it and could pull off Mr. Fantastic’s characterization, and it becomes all the more convenient that Krasinski has been gaining experience in the director’s chair lately. While his strong outings with the emotionally tight-knit family of A Quiet Place and A Quiet Place Part II are of the wildly different horror-thriller genre, perhaps getting to star and direct the Fantastic Four reboot could stretch his directorial range.
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Sheinert
The directing duo of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Sheinert — known as The Daniels — are the most topical candidates for the Fantastic Four reboot. Kwan and Sheinert recently made waves with the acclaimed A24 indie hit Everything Everywhere All at Once, with the sci-fi action movie having pieces that could translate into a strong story for Marvel’s First Family.
The movie received critical acclaim thanks to its inventive take on sci-fi premises like the multiverse, all the while maintaining poignant familial and philosophical themes. Nailing the emotional family dynamic of the Fantastic Four will be crucial to making the latest reboot stick, and The Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All at Once — as well as the likes of the intimately surreal and witty Swiss Army Man — make a strong case for this.
Bryce Dallas Howard
Signing on up-and-coming director Bryce Dallas Howard for Fantastic Four sounds great in practice and would be within Feige and Marvel Studios’ M.O. While directing for TV and film demand different scopes, the daughter of beloved director Ron Howard is showing incredible promise in her own right under Lucasfilm. Bryce Dallas Howard has been continuously testing and proving her mettle as a director on some of the best episodes of Star Wars’ The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.
On top of doing excellent work directing tighter-scaled stories focused on the heartwarming connection between Din Djarin and young Grogu within a gritty sci-fi-western show, having a working relationship under the Disney umbrella is also convenient. Howard looks like she has a promising future with Star Wars, so having her cross over from one mega Disney IP to another would be smooth.
Brad Bird is a director that seems like a seamless fit for something like the Fantastic Four. Bird has flexed his impressive directorial muscles across live-action and animation, having a resume including the likes of The Iron Giant, The Incredibles movies, and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. On paper, all of these movies contain narrative and thematic elements that look tantalizing for Fantastic Four.
Whether it’s the emotionally gripping relationship between Hogarth and his alien robot friend with a heart of gold, the thrilling action set pieces and the colorful crew of Agent Ethan Hunt, or the loving homage to the Fantastic Four with Mr. Incredibles’ superhero family — Brad Bird looks increasingly like a match made in heaven.