Fantastic Four: The Case for Galactus as Team's First MCU Villain
The Fantastic Four is finally coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with their Phase Six solo film in 2025 – if they don't make some kind of cameo appearance first (which could arguably happen as soon as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania...). It's not just the 2019 Disney-Fox merger deal that kept the F4 out of the MCU for so long: Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and the MCU creative team has had to put together the intricate puzzle of how to get the family/team into the franchise lore, and explain why we are only now meeting them. On top of all that, Marvel Studios has to figure out how to sell the masses on the MCU version of the Fantastic Four – and choosing the right villain is key.
We've already had some ComicBook writers make the case for why the MCU Fantastic Four movie needs Doctor Doom as its villain to firmly establish the lore of the team, its origin, and all the interpersonal relationships at play. However, now it's time to discuss why Galactus is actually the better way to introduce MCU fans to the Fantastic Four and what they're all about.
The Case For Galactus As the First Villain of Fantastic Four's MCU Movie
The long-short of this argument is that Galactus isn't so much a villain as he is a cosmic force of nature – one that presents a unique sort of scientific/philosophical problem that is a perfect reflection of what The Fantastic Four uniquely bring to the table as Marvel sci-fi franchise.
There's a reason that Galactus was heavily featured as a Fantastic Four antagonist in Marvel Comcis, as opposed to being a foe of, say, Thor (which he has been more recently) or a character that was only trouted out as a world-ending threat for big Marvel crossover events. The kind of "conflict" that Galactus presented – a being who lives to consume worlds, deciding Earth should be his next meal – is a perfect sci-fi/drama problem for a family of scientists and explorers. The quandary of saving the world and one's family vs. killing Galactus (or not) is a parable that feels perfect for establishing the Fantastic Four as the MCU's Star Trek to Guardians of the Galaxy's Star Wars. Doom would make the film a typical superhero vs. villain story; Earth's smartest scientist trying to stop planetary annihilation by a cosmic force – through science rather than superhero battle – is the high-concept sci-fi genre blend the MCU needs in the mix.
Why Galactus is Better for Introducing F4 to the MCU
Yes, there's more history and importance with Doom, but the first Fantastic Four movie arguably should be a proof of concept film before it goes full Marvel Universe deep-dive. There are so many fun (and better) ways to take Galactus' appearance in Fantastic Four, particularly at the start of Phase 6, and tie it back into past things that were done in the MCU – as well as future things to come.
Galactus' history goes back to the formation of the known Marvel Universe; Celestials, Ego the Living Planet, Eternity, The Watchers, and The Living Tribunal are all peers Galactus has deep ties with. Way back, before the MCU's Multiverse Saga ever kicked off, our ComicBook Nation show broke down how Galactus' status as a being older than creation, who has shifted between universes before, makes him the perfect reason to explain why the F4 didn't appear until now, in The Multiverse Saga. Galactus suddenly appearing in the MCU (from the depths of space or an alternate universe) could also give Marvel Studios the opportunity to tie in fun callbacks – like that Aerospace engineer from WandaVision, who could actually, finally, turn out to be Reed Richards.
When it comes to the Fantastic Four's MCU origin, Galactus and his Power Cosmic energy are the easiest streamlined source for explaining how The Fantastic Four and/or Doom get (or got) their powers. In fact, it could be that connection – the source of their powers suddenly re-appearing that first brings the "Future Foundation" out on a mission of scientific discovery, but ends with the "F4" finally stepping out as trans-dimensional superheroes of the MCU. The threat of Galactus also frames the family drama of F4 in a perfect way for a story about Reed learning he needs to view his family as heroic equals.
Finally, audiences have two bad memories of Fantastic Four movies with Doom as their hokey villain – so maybe a different approach with the next strongest villain in the roster (Galactus) isn't a bad move, at all... Introducing the larger lore and characters that come with Galactus (like Silver Surfer and other "Heralds of Galactus," the cosmic entities of the multiverse and its origin, or The Power Cosmic) would arguably be much more valuable for the Phase 6 storyline than the lore Doom would bring with him.
Fantastic Four opens in theaters on February 14, 2025.1comments