The Marvel Studios calendar is filled through July 2023, but possibly the most anticipated upcoming MCU film is one that’s premiering further down the line. Kevin Feige announced in December 2020 that a Fantastic Four feature was in development, and would be directed by the architect of the MCU Spider-Man trilogy Jon Watts. However, Watts unexpectedly announced earlier this year that he was stepping away from the project, setting back Marvel’s plans for the film. The director’s chair for Fantastic Four has yet to be filled, and according to Deadline’s Justin Kroll, the position may remain vacant for a little while longer:
Kroll goes on to say that sources are telling him there are a large pool of candidates for the job. While no names have been revealed, Kroll says that Feige is “taking a lot of shots at some big names”. Another one of Kroll’s sources said the following as far as what Feige is looking for with the new hire:
“Kevin [Feige] does not want [to] oversee entire shoot and after not having to worry about that with [Sam] Raimi, he is very game to same outcome with this shoot. “
Marvel Studios is clearly taking its time with the decision-making process, which is understandable for a project as high profile as Fantastic Four. There have been three previous attempts at making a successful film about Marvel’s First Family over the last 15 years, and none of them proved to move the needle. Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox reverted the Fantastic Four’s character rights back to Marvel, giving fans a lot of hope for the future of the property. Feige and crew want to have a proven filmmaker at the helm of Fantastic Four, so the due diligence is being done to ensure a home run choice is made.
Could a Directing Announcement Be Made at D23?
With Kroll reporting that a directing choice may not be made until after Labor Day, all eyes are now turning to this year’s D23 event as the next chance to get a substantial update about Fantastic Four. The Disney fan expo will be held in Anaheim from Sept. 9-11, which is conveniently the weekend after Labor Day. While the timeline is purely speculative at this point, D23 would be the perfect opportunity to reveal a new director, and maybe even a cast, to the world.
A release date for Fantastic Four is still unknown at this time, but the film definitely will not be hitting theaters until the tail end of 2023 at the earliest. As previously mentioned, the Marvel slate is set up until July 28, 2023, which is the new debut date for The Marvels. If production on Fantastic Four begins before the end of the year, then a late 2023 release is not out of the question. That timeline ultimately depends on how much pre-production work has been done without a director in place, and how many things will change once a new director comes on board. A 2024 release for Fantastic Four seems most likely, but it’s all just speculation until Feige gives the official word on the project’s future.