Marvel's incredibly slow-drip of Fantastic Four movie news delivered a small dribble at D23, but it wasn't anything that hadn't already been properly leaked. The film, originally announced at the 2020 Disney Investors Day event, finally got a new director. Jon Watts, long out, is replaced by Matt Shakman, of WandaVision.
But, then, we waited to hear more — only for Marvel Studios exec Kevin Feige to reportedly outright say that no Fantastic Four casting was coming that day. Meanwhile, eight empty spots (2x Fall 2024, Winter 2024, Winter 2025, 2x Spring 2025 and 2x Summer 2025) sat open in the Marvel Phase 6 lineup.
All this came out while we kept thinking about that news of the Marvel X-Men movie title that maybe leaked this past summer right before Comic-Con 2022. There's still no news on that front yet. And while we're not here to say that we felt like D23 was a waste of time, or that we felt mislead by the hype trains, we do wonder when exactly we'll learn more about these two massive pieces of Marvel's Phase 6.
Or, at least we hope the X-Men movie is coming in Phase 6. All signs point to them being in the MCU by the end of that section of the Marvel movie timeline. So, let's dive into what we know about both of these movies.
Kevin Feige's Fantastic Four comment shouldn't be taken literally
D23, as you might know is a bi-annual event. So, when we saw reports that Feige was teasing Fantastic Four news for the next D23, a big "no duh" rang out in our heads.
This past summer's Marvel panel at San Diego Comic-Con saw the MCU Fantastic Four movie get a release date of November 8, 2024. And since D23 events happen around/during the summer, the suggestion that the next D23 will have news about one of the imminent upcoming Marvel movies? We'd expect casting news much earlier than then. For example, this year's D23 gave us a reveal of the cast for the Phase 5 capper Thunderbolts, check them out:
If we could get this July 26, 2024 movie's cast at D23, why are we waiting on Fantastic Four's?
Furthermore, at D3 this month, we learned more of the Captain America: New World Order (May 3, 2024) cast.
So, with those data points, it's not that wrong to feel let down about D23 when it comes to the Fantastic Four cast. That said, we now have one more datapoint for judging any rumors from YouTuber John Campea. His sources told him that Jodie Comer (Killing Eve, Free Guy) is "going to be our Sue Storm" and "she's going to be announced as [the character] at D23." Of course, that didn't happen this time around.
Two potential Fantastic Four cast announcement points
Marvel could break the news of who joins the Fantastic Four cast whenever it wants. But right now? It feels like it's going to happen soon.
So, we look to the next Marvel movies as opportunities for more than just a great time, but for the Richards family's MCU debut. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Nov. 11, 2022) will feature the MCU introduction of Namor: The Submariner, who has often appeared alongside The Fantastic Four.
We're less sure about this because of those rumors that have swirled around frequent FF villain Doctor Doom making his MCU debut in that same movie. And as @MasterDesperado puts it "there’s no time for Wakanda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." Sure, they could appear in a post-credits scene, but with all of these introductions, they feel more likely for the next MCU movie. That said, Black Panther was introduced in Captain America: Civil War, so we're not ruling anything out. These movies are often filled with places to make big first appearances.
Ant-Man 3 (Feb. 17, 2023) aka Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania feels like the ideal place in the Marvel timeline to introduce The Fantastic Four. Either in a post-credit scene or elsewhere, it's not hard to see the Richards appearing in the Quantum Realm.
As Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) said in the films, this region is not exactly well-mapped. A rogue ship filled with the Richards family — who may in this very mission have gotten their new abilities — makes all of the sense in the world.
The worst case scenario
At the latest, though, San Diego Comic-Con 2023 (Wednesday, July 19 through Sunday, July 23) is the last possible date for when we'll meet The Fantastic Four.
Historically, Comic-Con is where Marvel loves to make a big splash. That's where we saw Natalie Portman return to the fold as Jane Foster became The Mighty Thor. That's where Mahershala Ali was confirmed for Blade. We just hope we don't have to wait until next summer to find out.