Who Should be the Next Fantastic Four?

Following the confirmation of Disney’s acquisition of the rights to the Fantastic Four from 20th Century Fox, very little has been divulged to fans about the upcoming reboot. Despite credible rumours flying around for the past couple of years, no exact release date within late 2023 or 2024 has yet been confirmed, and in addition to this, we are still waiting for official word on who will be cast in Marvel’s most anticipated team up since the Avengers. In the interest of keeping this casting spoiler free, I will not specifically mention the events of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness; however all I will say is, he who shall not be named would be my first choice for a key role in this upcoming blockbuster, along with a certain actress who has gone on record stating she does not have a ‘burning desire’ to join such a franchise. But this article will proceed on the assumption that no casting decisions for the Fantastic Four movie have been made, with certain names having been redacted for the purpose of secrecy. Instead, I will discuss two ideal castings for each character of the four, before debating who should play the highly anticipated (and frequently hinted at within previous projects) role of Doctor Doom in the MCU.

Reed Richards

Andrew Lincoln

The 48 year old English actor in my opinion would be a perfect fit for the role of Reed Richards. Becoming a fan favourite during his years starring in The Walking Dead, Lincoln is more than used to the demands of a worldwide franchise, and his acting style very much lends itself to the role in question. The calculating and methodical leadership of Rick Grimes could without doubt translate into becoming the leader of the next big MCU collective; and should he who shall not be named (in an effort to avoid spoilers) not reprise the role in further iterations of the character, Lincoln would undoubtedly be a great fit.

Alfred Enoch

At 33 years old, my younger choice to portray Reed Richards in the MCU would be Alfred Enoch; an unsung hero of the acting world, who would be a near perfect fit for the role. Similarly to Lincoln, Enoch played a recurring role in one of the biggest franchises in the world; the Harry Potter universe as Dean Thomas, and with this boasts a knowledge and confidence coming into a project of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s magnitude. Moreover, playing a lead role in ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder alongside the likes of Viola Davis, Enoch’s intense acting in the series makes the actor a serious candidate for a crucial role in the Fantastic Four, and once again I believe he would be a perfect fit for the part.

Honourable Mention: Rahul Kohli

Sue Storm

Lily James

Lily James has become a prominent actress in recent years, with popular roles in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Baby Driver and Cinderella planting her career firmly into the spotlight. James boasts incredible acting range, portrayed in her recent project Pam and Tommy, in which she played Pamela Anderson alongside Sebastian Stan to a tee. With the variety in role Lily has already undertaken in her blossoming career, it is not too far of a stretch to assume James would be enthusiastic to join a project in the coveted MCU, and that most importantly, she would play the role to perfection.

Anya Taylor-Joy

Boasting astounding versatility within her acting, Anya Taylor-Joy is another actress with the capability to captivate audiences, whilst also bringing her own unique take on Sue Storm to the big screen. Having already starred in a Marvel project through her portrayal of Illyana Rasputin in New Mutants; a film that was markedly underwhelming when compared to the hype surrounding it, Taylor-Joy is already familiar with playing roles under the same umbrella as this genre. Moreover, coming off the success of projects such as Last Night in Soho and The Queen’s Gambit, I am sure the actress would be eager to re-enter Marvel lore in this much anticipated reboot of the Fantastic Four, and showcase her skill in a project that is almost guaranteed to succeed in today’s box office.

Honourable Mention: Bryce Dallas Howard (Also for a potential Director role after the confirmed departure of Jon Watts.)

Johnny Storm

Joe Keery

Emerging as one of the most popular characters in Netflix’s hit Stranger Things in 2016, I think Joe Keery would be a great pick to take on the role of Johnny Storm in the MCU. Also appearing in films such as Molly’s Game and Free Guy, Keery’s ongoing role as Steve Harrington has me fully convinced he would be a great candidate for the arrogant yet charming Human Torch, after showcasing his true acting skill and progression within Stranger Things over the past 6 years. On the topic of the Netflix sensation, the final season of the show airs on 27th May this year; so surely it is time for Keery to dive into yet another big franchise role, and swap Hawkins, Indiana, for the Baxter Building of New York, in a role that I have complete faith he will excel in.

Zac Efron

Zac Efron boasts a wealth of experience in the field of acting throughout his illustrious career, wielding acting credits across the years that show not only his progression and adaptability, but also the sheer range he brings to his work. Gone is the Troy Bolton of Efron’s High School Musical days, since the actor has participated in projects such as The Lucky One, That Awkward Moment, Dirty Grandpa, and most importantly films such as The Greatest Showman and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, in which he contributed a chilling portrayal of infamous serial killer Ted Bundy; showing that not only is Zac a talented actor, but his acting stemming across different genres musters success on almost every occasion. I believe this would be no different if Efron was to bring his dashing edge into the MCU, and combined with what will be an undoubtedly memorable performance, I believe the pull of a big name such as Zac Efron’s will rake in even more revenue for those running the show over at Marvel; I believe it is what most people would call a no brainer!

Honourable Mention: Dacre Montgomery

Ben Grimm

John Cena

If you had asked me seven years ago, when John Cena starred in Daddy’s Home, accompanied by a famed career in WWE, he would quite possibly be close to the bottom of my list for this role. It was safe to say I was not at all convinced by his acting, let alone considering him for a role of this enormity within the MCU; however the past few years has signified a complete U-Turn in my thinking regarding this actor. Notably, Cena’s role in The Suicide Squad under the direction of James Gunn, accompanied by the subsequent spin-off TV series for his character, Peacemaker, have been inspired performances, and I am wholeheartedly convinced this talent would translate seamlessly into a crucial role in this franchise. Peacemaker’s ability to switch from ruthless violence to effective wit and humour is a testament to the ability of Cena, and despite Ben Grimm being a comparatively pessimistic and hard character, I think the actor has the ability to play the role to perfection, and would be a welcome addition to the MCU’s newest team up.

Alan Ritchson

Alan Ritchson has miscellaneous acting credits ranging throughout his career, naming his role as Gloss in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as only one, however the driving force behind this casting for me is his portrayal of Hawk in the Titans TV series, as well as his most recent contribution, Amazon Prime’s Reacher, in which Ritchson plays two very convincing and striking roles. For me, Titans showcased the actor’s ability to be playful yet gritty, and descend down a darker path for his character as the plot sanctioned it; whilst Reacher cemented Ritchson’s ability to play a role that was wholeheartedly grounded in a much darker place, with much more ominous undertones even when the story did not necessarily warrant such a persona. The accumulation of these factors undoubtedly makes Alan Ritchson a serious contender for this role; not to mention his towering and muscular appearance, that would only supplement the effectiveness of The Thing on screen.

Honourable Mention: Liv Schreiber

Victor von Doom

Rami Malek

Rami Malek is a generational talent when it comes to acting, and in my opinion it is only a matter of time before we see him in the MCU in some capacity; and I am of the strong belief that the role of Doctor Doom would be a superb opportunity for him to showcase his versatility. The Bohemian Rhapsody actor has starred in a multitude of noteworthy projects over the last decade, but the one that comes to mind when recommending him for this particular role is his portrayal of Lyutsifer Safin in Daniel Craig’s last hoorah as James Bond: No Time To Die. Malek’s portrayal of the villain of this piece was captivating and menacing, and if the actor can bring a shred of that performance into the MCU with him, there is no doubt in my mind that his portrayal of Doctor Doom would signify the birth of one of the best villains to grace the franchise to date.

Colman Domingo

Starring in projects such as Fear The Walking Dead, Lincoln and Selma, Colman Domingo is a sensational actor who boasts astounding range, accompanied by a deep and lasting voice that would lend itself to the role of Doctor Doom seamlessly. In his most recent contribution, his role as Ali Muhammad in HBO’s Euphoria, Domingo provides an impressive showcase of the emotion and anger he encapsulates within his acting; and although he has not lent his undeniable talent to the world of superheroes and supervillains before, I believe his on screen presence, accompanied by his ability to captivate audiences with his performances, make him an indisputable choice for the role of the MCU’s Doctor Doom. He would provide a different and chilling rendition of the character without doubt.

Honourable Mention: Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Hopefully we receive some concrete news in the near future surrounding the casting of these monumental roles in the continuance of the MCU. I'm of the opinion that Marvel and Kevin Feige have never been far off the mark with their casting decisions previously, so I'm adamant that even if none of the candidates from my fan casting make the cut, those tasked with bringing this film to life once again will succeed in their task. I am overly eager to find out though if a certain someone reprises their role for further iterations of their character, or whether their previous appearance was simply fan service... We will have to wait and see!

By Joe Baker