Fantastic Four has found its director in Matt Shakman. According to Deadline, the director of WandaVision is in early talks to continue partnership with Marvel Studios, by helming the first entrant to Phase Six of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kevin Feige will oversee production duties on Fantastic Four, which is slated to release on November 8, 2024. As such, Shakman has exited Paramount’s Star Trek reboot sequel, which is being produced by J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Lindsey Weber.

Deadline states that while a formal offer has not been presented to Shakman, early discussions have begun. John Watts — the director behind Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Spider-Man: No Way Home — was originally attached to direct the Fantastic Four reboot in 2020. But the filmmaker stepped down earlier this year, and signed up to work on Star Wars: Skeleton Crew, with Jude Law leading the cast. With Shakman now in the mix, Feige has found himself a rightful replacement — even landing Emmy nominations for the Disney+ limited series, WandaVision.

In regards to Shakman’s departure from the Star Trek sequel, Paramount Pictures said this in a statement: “Matt Shakman is an incredibly talented filmmaker, and we regret the timing didn’t align for him to direct our upcoming Star Trek film. We are grateful for his many contributions, are excited about the creative vision of this next chapter and look forward to bringing it to audiences all around world.”

Star Trek 4 enlists the franchise’s first female writers, Lindsey Beer and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, and remains dated for a December 23, 2023 release. Shakman was assigned to direct the sequel in the summer of 2023, with the studio hoping to reunite Chris Pine with the remaining space crew.

The Fantastic Four reboot kicks off MCU’s Phase 6, hopefully featuring a more coherent plot. Marvel Studios acquired cinematic rights to the superhero team from 20th Century Fox, which has three failed attempts under its belt. The last Fantastic Four movie — stylised “Fant4stic” — was released in 2015, and starred Miles Teller (Whiplash), Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther), Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell in the lead. The film grossed $167.9 million (about Rs. 1,344 crore) worldwide, against a production budget of $155 million (about Rs. 1,241 crore). The film was the lowest-earning Fantastic Four entry to date.

Currently, there are no casting details for the upcoming Fantastic Four movie. John Krasinski has been a long-time favourite to play Mr. Fantastic. He did appear as an alternate version in Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but only to be morphed into spaghetti.

Fantastic Four is out November 8, 2024 in cinemas worldwide.

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