Between Marvel Studios regaining the rights to many of its properties and FOX rumored to be planning a reboot of the franchise, it seems a foregone conclusion that we will be getting a shiny new Fantastic Four film in the next couple years.
And as fans of the comic know, the key to a successful relaunch will be capturing the interpersonal dynamics of Marvel’s First Family. And that means finding a perfect central cast.
David Tennant as “Mister Fantastic”
A scientist, a genius among geniuses, Reed Richards is not your typical action hero. But let’s not forget that he was also an explorer, an adventurer, and an astronaut, and that was all BEFORE gaining super powers.
We’re talking about a man so overwhelmed with curiosity, with the desire to learn and discover and solve problems that he regularly leads his loved ones from one dangerous situation to the next. And if we’re to believe they follow him there, he better have some personality.
Tall and lanky, charismatic, hyper-intelligent: is there anyone better suited for this part than David Tennant? Few are capable of conveying the raw intellect of his fan-favorite Tenth Doctor, and the fast-talking Scot has the acting ability, charm, and nerd cred to finally turn Reed into a lead.
Elizabeth Banks as “Sue Storm”
That’s right. I said Invisible WOMAN. Not Invisible Girl. In my mind, setting back the clock and retelling the origin story incorrectly yet again is just wasting the audience’s time. We’re talking about Susan Richards, the loyal wife and mature sister, as well as one of the premier and most powerful female superheroes in 616.
Elizabeth Banks has played sweet and sassy, somber and silly. She has the acting range to bounce between lingering schoolgirl admiration of Reed, the voice of authority for Johnny, and a confidant for Ben. It doesn’t hurt that she also has the kind of classic beauty with which artists so often portray Sue but is also age appropriate as a potential mother of two (we’ll get to that later).
Eric Christian Olsen as “Johnny Storm”
Johnny Storm is the only one of the Fantastic Four who enjoys being a celebrity. He dates models, drives sports cars, and smiles for the camera every chance he gets. But when danger appears he is also the first to jump into action.
One of the best things about the previous film incarnation of the FF was Chris Evans. To be fair, he’s pretty awesome in everything, but his turn as the Torch was spot on: playful, cocky, brash, and brave in just the right proportions. So who should take Evans’s place now that he’s been promoted to Captain?
How about his sometime costar, Cocky Blonde Guy himself, Eric Christian Olsen? Olsen’s quick line delivery and knack for physical comedy make him my first choice for the role, even beating out Evans simply by being a dead ringer for Greg Land’s Johnny.
Vin Diesel as “The Thing”
Ben Grimm, the ever-lovin’, blue-eyed Thing, is the heart of the team, so getting him right is tough but crucial. Everything about The Thing is so trademark, from his color to his voice to his brow. It might be easier now to simply motion capture the character entirely to make sure everything is perfect.
Either way, you can’t go wrong with Vin Diesel. He has the necessary bulk AND the gravelly voice to pull off the role. And anyone who has seen The Iron Giant knows just how talented Diesel is at voiceover. This definitely seems like the biggest longshot, given the action star’s usual hefty rate, but maybe it’s not so crazy. Diesel is a bona fide nerd who plays D&D and has worked on creating video games. He also reportedly offered to take a pay cut in order to make another Riddick movie, just because he is a fan of the character. Maybe he is also a fan of Aunt Petunia’s favorite nephew?
David Boreanaz as “Namor”
Of all the supporting characters that surround the FF, the one sure thing for the next movie has got to be the Sub-Mariner. Namor has been both an enemy and an ally; he has also vied strongly for the affections of Susan Richards, which could create some interesting tension.
David Boreanaz has played both villain and hero, sometimes in the same role. He can turn from charm to rage on a dime, making him the perfect choice to capture the duality of Prince Namor.
Franklin and Valeria?
It’s notoriously difficult to cast children, and taking into consideration Franklin’s power potential and Val’s impossible precocity, casting the fifth and sixth members of the FF could be the most difficult undertaking by far. So should the kids even be in the next installment? If so, how old should they be?
Recent years have given us several action films with children in the thick of the fighting, mostly notably the megahit The Incredibles. And considering the box office magic of that film, itself a Fantastic Four homage, Fox should definitely consider the merits of skewing a superhero film to a younger demographic. They definitely need to try something different if they want a film franchise with the longevity of the comic. After all, the book is on issue 600.
If the makers of the next film don’t get it right, we will be lucky to get to four.