Home Entertainment Extravaganza Clobberin' Time: The Long, Harrowing History of Fantastic Four Movies – Monomaxos

Clobberin' Time: The Long, Harrowing History of Fantastic Four Movies – Monomaxos

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A Fantastic Four movie has been tried before—at least three times, actually—but now Marvel Studios is giving the characters a fourth shot at the big screen, announcing Pedro Pascal, Vanessa Kirby, Joseph Quinn, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach as the quartet of superheroes renowned as the comic book universe’s “first family.”

After months, if not years, of rumor and guesswork from fans, the company finally confirmed the casting with an illustration of the actors as their characters in a Valentine’s Day post on Instagram. Pascal, the star of The Mandalorian and The Last of Us, will play paterfamilias Reed Richards, a.k.a. Mister Fantastic, who has the power to stretch and bend his body in impossible ways. Kirby, recently of Ridley Scott’s Napoleon but previously known for The Crown and the Mission: Impossible movies, will be the see-through scientist Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman.

Quinn, the breakout of season four of Stranger Things as the brave metalhead Eddie Munson, will take on the role of Sue’s brother, Johnny Storm, the high-flying Human Torch. And Moss-Bachrach, the scene-stealing cousin Richie on The Bear, will be Ben Grimm, the orange-rock brawler known as The Thing who is fond of announcing: “It’s clobberin‘ time!” (That’s his human form in the portrait behind his stony alter ego below.)

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The new Fantastic Four film will be directed by WandaVision producer-director Matt Shakman, who picked up the project after Jon Watts, director of the Tom Holland Spider-Man films, stepped back in 2022. Watts had been announced as the filmmaker by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige in 2020, so fans of the series have had their hopes rising and falling for several years now. 

A Marvel representative confirmed to Vanity Fair that screenwriting duo Jeff Kaplan and Ian Springer wrote the script for this adaptation, while Josh Friedman, a cowriter of James Cameron’s Avatar sequels, is currently doing a pass on the latest version. 

But even though the guessing game around the cast is over, there’s still a much bigger question: Can a Fantastic Four movie finally be an unqualified success? Marvel Studios recovered the cinematic rights to the characters after parent company Disney merged in 2019 with rival studio 20th Century Fox, which had previously made two different attempts at establishing a franchise in 2005 and 2015. Both those efforts underwhelmed and ultimately stagnated.

Those weren’t even the first big-screen attempts. In the early 1990s, B movie maestro Roger Corman helped produce an ultra-cheap adaptation that was never officially released (except as a bootleg) in part—the legend goes—to help the rights-holders fulfill the terms of his contract and hang on to the license a bit longer. “[Bernd Eichinger] had an option to produce The Fantastic Four on a 30 million dollar budget, but the option was going to expire on December 31st and he didn’t have the 30 million dollars,” Corman told the KPCC radio show Off-Ramp. “So he came to me and said, ‘Roger, I’ve got this 30 million dollar picture. Could you make it for 1 million dollars?’ I said, ‘We can do a pretty good job, I think, for a million dollars.’”



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