Matt Shakman, the veteran TV director who ushered Marvel Studios into the age of television, is in early talks to make the jump to MCU features with Fantastic Four, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Shakman became a Marvel favorite with the Emmy-winning WandaVision, the first MCU series released for Disney+. He came up as a director on FX’s long-running comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia before graduating to event storytelling with Game of Thrones. In July 2021, Paramount tapped him to direct the next Star Trek film, which is currently dated for Dec. 22, 2023. It is unclear if he will remain involved.
Other filmmakers who met on the project included Love and Monsters director Michael Matthews and Dog filmmaker Reid Carolin. The two finalists ultimately were Matthews and Shakman, according to sources.
Fantastic Four will kick off Phase 6 of Marvel’s storytelling, with the film due out Nov. 8, 2024. No casting is known, but John Krasinski, who was long fancast in the role, appeared as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, released in May. However, it was an alternative-universe version of the character, meaning it is unknown if Krasinski will continue in the role.
Writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby introduced the team of Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch and the Thing in the pages of Fantastic Four No. 1 in 1961. The comic reinvented the publisher, then known as Timely, and launched the Marvel Universe as a shared storytelling canvas.
The Fantastic Four is a cornerstone of the Marvel mythos but has never had a big-screen adaptation embraced by audiences. In the 1990s, Roger Corman produced a low-rent film that was never released, while 20th Century Fox released films in 2005 and 2007 that featured future Captain America actor Chris Evans as the Human Torch. (In 2010, there was even talk of a Paul Greengrass-helmed Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men crossover movie). Filmmaker Josh Trank helmed the disastrous 2015 Fantastic Four reboot, scuttling plans for more. A few years later, Disney acquired the rights to the superteam when the company purchased 20th Century Fox.
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige first announced a new Fantastic Four film in December 2020 during a Disney investor day, with Spider-Man director Jon Watts attached to helm. (Watts later announced his departure in April 2022.) Feige has said this will not be an origin story, telling THR at San Diego Comic-Con in July, “A lot of people know this origin story. A lot of people know the basics. How do we take that and bring something that they’ve never seen before?”