The Big Picture
- Director Matt Shakman confirmed that his upcoming Fantastic Four film will shoot in London next year, pending the resolution of the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike.
- The casting for the film cannot be announced yet due to the strike, but Shakman expressed excitement in sharing the news once the strike is resolved.
- Shakman hinted that the Fantastic Four movie will be different from anything we’ve seen in the Marvel universe before, both in terms of story and filmmaking approach.
Marvel fans have rightly been concerned about the upcoming slate of Phase 5 and 6 projects in the MCU which have been placed on the back burner as a result of the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, but director Matt Shakman revealed to Collider’s Editor-in-chief Steve Weintraub during an interview for his upcoming Apple TV+ series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, that his upcoming Fantastic Four film will shoot next year in London, with Marvel aiming for a springtime start on getting Marvel’s First Family into the Multiverse Saga currently besieging our favorite superheroes.
A number of exciting names have been linked to the titular quartet for the film—Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, Sue Storm and her brother, Johnny Storm—and the parts are some of the most coveted in Hollywood. To date, there has been absolutely no confirmation in any way for the film, and it’s been complicated by the strikes, as Shakman revealed. One name linked to the role of Reed Richards has long been John Krasinski, who played a variant of the character in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. However, Krasinski has stated he’s unlikely to play the role again, as he told The Wrap back in 2022.
As one would expect with a project of this size and scale, plus the Marvel of it all, concrete information is hard to uncover. On the casting front, Shakman noted that with the SAG strike ongoing, it was impossible to announce anything or put a timescale on it. However, he did add that he was very excited to share the news with fans and that there would be a plan in place to announce the casting as soon as the strike came to a successful conclusion for the actors.
A Legendary Base of Operations
Shakman confirmed that, successful outcome of the SAG-AFTRA strike pending, the movie would be heading to the Legendary Pinewood Studios where film history has been made throughout the decades. “Yes, we are definitely gonna go in front of cameras next year,” he said. “Probably the spring. [It will shoot in] London. Pinewood.”
Unlike Anything We’ve Seen
Weintraub asked Shakman about the screenplay for the upcoming feature and, as expected, details were thin on the ground, but his enthusiasm was evident as he teased that it was “certainly unlike anything at Marvel you’ve seen before.”
“It’s different in so many ways. I wish I could be specific. I wish I could say more. But we are doing things very differently from a story standpoint, from an approach to the filmmaking standpoint, that really fits the material. I wish I could say more. I would love to, but I can’t. But I think it’s going to be unlike anything you’ve seen before, and certainly unlike anything at Marvel that you’ve seen before.”
For more on Fantastic Four, you can watch what Shakman told us in the player or read the full transcript below. Look for more with Shakman next week on Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.
COLLIDER: I heard you might be working on a movie, so how’s that going?
MATT SHAKMAN: Absolutely having a great time. It’s a dream of mine to be able to work on that. I’ve loved those characters since I was little. It’s such an awesome world to be in. The script is awesome, the characters are brilliant. I’m super excited. I’m obviously very happy now that the writers’ strike has resolved in such a good way, and we’re able to reunite with Josh Friedman, our amazing screenwriter. I’m really hoping for a fair and equitable resolution to the actors’ strike soon, too. Keeping our fingers crossed. But we’re going! We’re a snowball heading downhill. It’s awesome. It’s got a lot of momentum. It’s really fun.
I’m not asking you any spoiler-type things, but assuming the SAG strike gets resolved, is the hope to be filming early next year?
SHAKMAN: Yes, we are definitely gonna go in front of cameras next year. Probably the spring.
Are you London or Atlanta?
SHAKMAN: London. Pinewood.
I think Marvel’s doing a lot of stuff at that studio.
SHAKMAN: They are. Yeah, it’s a great place. And again, talk about a wonderful old studio like Toho, walking around and imagining Bugsy Malone and whipped cream machine guns, you know? I’m excited. I can’t wait.
One of the things about Fantastic Four is you have some characters that have unique abilities, and I would imagine you have been, even while the strike’s been on, you’ve been probably working with VFX companies to try to develop those. How is that gonna look on screen? How has it been looking at VFX for some of these characters and finding the way you want to bring these things to life?
SHAKMAN: We have been nonstop. Despite the strikes, yes, we’ve been working with the effects and with production design and building our world, and that’s been incredibly exciting. You know, how do you translate those skills into live-action in dynamic ways? Because some things that work beautifully in John Byrne and Jack Kirby are a little tougher when you’re filming them. How do you make sure that things are exciting but also grounded in a scientific thing, which is also part of the Fantastic Four that I love? There’s some stuff I’m super excited about. I can’t say too much, you know?
Obviously, people are very excited to know when you’re going to announce casting, so when do you think fans are going to find out information?
SHAKMAN: Hard to say. Like I said, we’re in the middle of a SAG strike, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they get a great deal really soon and we can go back. Then, once that’s resolved, there’ll be a plan at that point, but I can’t say too much. There will be an announcement at some point! I know that the internet is very excited to find out, and I’m excited to share it. I just can’t do it yet.
One of my last things is I love IMAX and the large screen format. What [Christopher] Nolan did with Oppenheimer was amazing in getting people so excited to go see IMAX 70mm. Is that something that have you discussed with Marvel, being like, “Hey, look, can we shoot these sequences in IMAX? Can we use IMAX cameras for the whole thing?” How much is that sort of permeated into your head, watching what Nolan did with Oppenheimer?
SHAKMAN: What Nolan did with Oppenheimer was extraordinary. What Denis Villeneuve has done with Dune is extraordinary. I mean, the format is immersive in the best way. I love seeing things in IMAX, I go whenever I can. And I think that the world of the Fantastic Four would absolutely lend itself to that kind of immersive experience.
[Laughs] So do you think you’re gonna have some IMAX in this movie or…?
SHAKMAN: I think, yes. If I were a betting man, I think I would do that. Buy your IMAX stock right now.
I appreciate that. My last thing for you: you mentioned that the script is awesome. What can you tease people, if anything, about how this film might be different than previous Marvel films? What’s your take on this, and how will it be different than maybe the other things that have come before?
SHAKMAN: It’s different in so many ways. I wish I could be specific. I wish I could say more. But we are doing things very differently from a story standpoint, from an approach to the filmmaking standpoint, that really fits the material. I wish I could say more. I would love to, but I can’t. But I think it’s going to be unlike anything you’ve seen before, and certainly unlike anything at Marvel that you’ve seen before.
Fantastic Four is scheduled to be released on May 2, 2025, as part of Phase Six of the MCU.