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Photo: Reed Richards
Since The Walt Disney Company acquired 20th Century Fox and its entire catalog of IP, it has been known for some time that Marvel is working on bringing its very first superhero team, the Fantastic Four, into the MCU. Some of the characters themselves may appear in other MCU projects, but a ‘Fantastic Four’ film is currently scheduled for release on November 8, 2024. While little is known about the film, even less is known about the cast of actors portraying each member of the quartet. The one member of the team who really has fans speculating and debating as to who should bring him to life in the MCU is Mr. Fantastic himself, Reed Richards. While there are certainly other actors capable of taking on the role, these five are arguably the most suited to portray the character while also bringing a fresh and interesting dynamic to the premiere Marvel superhero that we have not seen before.
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Reed Richards – The Options?
Let’s get the obvious choice out of the way first, shall we. John Krasinski has been the number one pick by fans to portray the elastic Marvel character in the MCU for years. Countless pieces of fan art featuring Krasinski as Mr. Fantastic have made their way across social media, surely to have at some point caught the attention of Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. Feige threw these fans a bone of sorts by having Krasinski portray the character earlier this year in ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ as a member of the Illuminati in an alternate universe. However, this may not necessarily mean that Krasinski will portray the character going forward, as this was an alternate universe where the character ends up getting killed. On the other hand, this does not mean that Krasinski will not be playing the character in the primary universe the events of the MCU are set in (or in another universe).
Would Krasinski do the character of Reed Richards justice? Many fans who shared pieces of fan art of Krasinski as Mr. Fantastic felt disappointed by what was given from ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.’ Some felt that the character, “the smartest man alive” as he was called, was made to look incompetent or foolish (those who’ve seen the movie know exactly the scene being alluded to here). Others felt the character simply came off as flat, with some blaming the writing and/or Krasinski’s acting. It is unfair to blame Krasinski for a minor role in a film that was not very well written. Krasinski has shown acting chops in a number of genres. Whether in a sitcom such as ‘The Office’ or a thriller like ‘A Quiet Place’ and its sequel ‘A Quiet Place 2,’ Krasinski has shown range in playing different types of roles. Additionally, Krasinski directed both ‘A Quiet Place’ films, doing an exceptional job with both. Could having Krasinski starring in the film also open the door for him to possibly direct the film? Perhaps. Whether Krasinski does end up in the director’s chair or not, having him as Reed Richards would certainly be a plus for the film and the character.
To acknowledge the elephant in the room, yes, the Oscars slap happened. However, it does not seem like one incident will (or should) destroy a person’s entire career. But that’s a whole other conversation for another time. The main point to focus on here is that Will Smith is a once-in-a-lifetime talent that would bring a level of charisma to a character in the MCU not seen since Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man. Reed Richards would be the perfect role for Smith to do so. Like Krasinksi, Smith has also shown substantial range as an actor and can bring both charisma as well as believability to the role of the smartest man in the Marvel universe. Smith also has previous experience in the realm of comic book films with his portrayal of Deadshot in 2016’s ‘Suicide Squad,’ a critical and financial failure. Seeing Smith be given another chance not only in Hollywood, but in the genre of comic book films, may be something audiences would be open to.
With his future as Superman still in limbo, many fans have been clamoring for Henry Cavill to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some tossed around the idea of him playing the character Hyperion. Others, including Cavill himself, expressed interest in him playing the role of Captain Britain. Some have even been sharing pieces of fan art with the actor as one of Marvel’s top-tier characters, Wolverine. While Cavill would surely do a fantastic job playing any of these characters, the role of Mister Fantastic would surely be a great challenge that someone like Cavill can surely succeed at. The majority of characters that Cavill has played throughout his career have been of a more burly and unrelenting nature. Playing a character of a more intellectual nature like Reed Richards would give him a chance to stretch his muscles, both figuratively and literally, given the character’s abilities. Despite not playing a genius-type character before, Cavill would surely be up for the challenge and would be a great fit for the role.
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Having done a fantastic job as The Penguin in Matt Reeves’ ‘The Batman’ earlier this year, Colin Farrell is no stranger to the comic book movie genre. Farrell, having worked in a number of different genres and played a multitude of characters, would surely bring the necessary tools for the role of Dr. Reed Richards. Farrell has also shown he possesses the ability to maintain good chemistry with other actors working off of him on screen, something the actor playing Reed Richards will surely need in this film throughout the scenes with the other team members. Having a world-class actor like Colin Farrell as Reed Richards would be a win for the film all around.
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Lee Byung-hun returned to the spotlight last year with Netflix’s ‘Squid Game.’ He had a small role in the long-forgotten action film ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’ as well as its sequel ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ and has been featured in a number of other films ever since. No stranger to the realms of action or sci-fi, Lee has yet to make a splash in the world of comic book films. Regardless, the actor might bring an interesting take to the role of Reed Richards, one that has yet to be seen in the MCU. Given that Lee does not typically take on roles or projects similar to this, he could bring something fresh to the MCU as a member of Marvel’s most famous quartet.
By Nader Chamas
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Nader Chamas is an aspiring television writer who seeks to fuse thought provoking progressive ideals into the films, shows, and stories that he loves. Having graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Screenwriting, Nader seeks to use his writing to advance causes that do not get enough attention or input across mainstream media. Like most, Nader has his own share of his favorite franchises and stories across pop culture. However, he seeks to contribute timely and relevant topics into these stories as well as in his own original material. This is why Nader’s analysis of popular films and tv shows matches The Hollywood Insider’s practice of discussing entertainment from a socially cognizant and critical perspective.