Fantastic Four Report Has Bad News for MCU Reboot's Director Search

The search for a Fantastic Four director is not as easy as quickly and quietly replacing departing director Jon Watts with The Quiet Place's John Krasinski. According to a report from Deadline's Justin Kroll. The writer took to social media last night to reveal that, according to his sources, there is no clear frontrunner in the directorial hunt, and likely won't be one in the next few months. That is not because Marvel is not prioritizing the movie, but because executives including Kevin Feige want to make sure it's done right, and Feige himself is keen to take a hands-off approach to the actual production.

Kroll said last night that Marvel is "not even close" to coming up with a shortlist yet, and that there is a wide variety of directors being considered. He also reports that Marvel is looking as some big-name directors to come on board to help revitalize Marvel's first family.

"Kevin doesn't want oversee entire shoot and after not having to worry about that with Raimi, he is very game to same outcome with this shoot," a source told Kroll. 

Sam Raimi recently returned to superhero movies to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Despite rumors of upheaval and significant reshoots, the film has a strong critical score and is one of the highest-grossing movies of 2022 so far. That movie, of course, featured a cameo by Krasinski in the role of Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic. The proximity of that film's release to the departure of Watts, who said he needed a break from superhero movies for a while, led some fans to believe there was a connection between the two.

There have been three previous live-action Fantastic Four franchises, although only two of those takes -- and three total movies -- have actually made their way to the big screen. In 1994, producer Roger Corman and director Oley Sassone made a slap-dash Fantastic Four movie on a shoestring budget, with the express intent of keeping a grip on the rights to the franchise. Later, 20th Century Fox would tap Tim Story to launch the franchise.

Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer generated a combined $619 million at the box office, which would be a debacle for a tentpole superhero movie these days, but was actually a hit back then -- at least the first one. The movies didn't connect with critics, and the second didn't connect with audiences, leading to a hiatus for the series.

In 2015, as the Marvel Cinematic Universe was taking over the entertainment world, Fox brought in Chronicle director Josh Trank to bring the franchise back from the dead -- but that version of Fantastic 4 was an outright disaster, earning just $167 million worldwide and getting abysmal grades from fans and critics.