The Fantastic Four have had a pretty spotty run on film, but with the right director taking the helm, they could finally have a great movie.
Before Fox was sold off to Disney, the studio made two attempts at launching a Fantastic Four movie franchise. First, a lighthearted romp starring Ioan Gruffudd and Jessica Alba directed by Tim Story hit theaters and did well enough to earn a sequel. Then, Josh Trank was tapped to reboot the series with Fant4stic, which gave The Dark Knight treatment to a franchise that didn’t need it.
Story and Trank weren’t the studio’s first choice to direct in either instance. And with Marvel Studios currently working on its own Fantastic Four reboot, another filmmaker will need to be recruited to bring the team to the big screen.
10 Almost Did: Chris Columbus
Chris Columbus, director of Home Alone, Pixels, and the first two Harry Potter movies, was initially offered the chance to direct Fox’s first attempt at a Fantastic Four franchise.
Before moving into directing, Columbus got his start as a screenwriter, penning such timeless ‘80s classics as The Goonies and Gremlins.
9 Should: John Krasinski
John Krasinski and his wife Emily Blunt, who’ve turned down a bunch of Marvel roles in the past, have been popular fan castings for the roles of Reed Richards and Sue Storm in the MCU, and frankly, they’d be pretty perfect.
And if Krasinski and Blunt are actually chosen to play Reed and Sue, it might be a good idea for Krasinski to direct the movie. It worked wonders for A Quiet Place. As a director, Krasinski is more interested in theme than genre.
8 Almost Did: David Yates
David Yates was one of the directors considered for the gritty 2015 reboot before Josh Trank was hired. He’s best known for helming the last four Harry Potter movies and he’s currently in the middle of directing all the Fantastic Beasts spin-offs.
Yates reportedly wanted to cast Adrien Brody or Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Mr. Fantastic, Alice Eve as the Invisible Woman, and Bruce Willis as the voice of the Thing.
7 Should: Olivia Wilde
With her directorial debut Booksmart, Olivia Wilde proved that she can balance an ensemble cast and keep a story focused with plenty of heart and humor. She was recently tapped to helm a Marvel superhero movie for Sony, so she’s not averse to that world.
The Invisible Woman was conceived as a sexist character in her ‘60s-era debut, given a power that would allow her to clean the living room without blocking the TV, and bringing aboard a female director could help to combat that.
6 Almost Did: Peyton Reed
Prior to Tim Story’s involvement, Peyton Reed came close to directing the first Fantastic Four movie. He would go on to helm two different Marvel blockbusters, Ant-Man and its sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp (and he’s currently hard at work on the third one).
Reed reportedly wanted to set his Fantastic Four movie in the ‘60s, which the studio didn’t agree with, and he’s since thrown his hat in the ring to direct the MCU’s Fantastic Four reboot.
5 Should: Brad Bird
Brad Bird is responsible for the best Fantastic Four movie to date. The Incredibles is a better Fantastic Four movie than any of the actual Fantastic Four movies. Bird nailed the action, the emotions, and the family dynamic that are key to a successful Fantastic Four movie.
Although Incredibles 2 didn’t quite live up to its predecessor’s legendary name, there’s still no doubt that Bird could create a perfect Fantastic Four reboot for the MCU. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol proved that Bird can manage big-budget action set pieces.
4 Almost Did: Joe Carnahan
Before Josh Trank was hired to reboot the Fantastic Four franchise, Joe Carnahan was considered for the job. Carnahan previously helmed a reboot of The A-Team that didn’t get a sequel. He also directed Liam Neeson opposite a pack of hungry wolves in The Grey.
James McTeigue was also considered for the job before Trank was chosen. McTeigue made his directorial debut with V for Vendetta and also worked on the Wachowskis’ Netflix series Sense8.
3 Should: Greta Gerwig
Greta Gerwig has quickly established herself as one of the finest filmmakers working today with the beautifully crafted coming-of-age yarn Lady Bird and the literary adaptation Little Women.
In Little Women, Gerwig made the March sisters ring true as a real family, which is exactly what the Fantastic Four will need in their MCU introduction.
2 Almost Did: Raja Gosnell
After editing Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire, Raja Gosnell moved into directing with such family-friendly hits as Big Momma’s House, The Smurfs, and the live-action Scooby-Doo movies. He was offered the chance to direct Fox’s first Fantastic Four movie.
The job was also offered to Peter Segal, director of Tommy Boy, Get Smart, and The Longest Yard before the studio settled on Tim Story.
1 Should: Matthew Vaughn
The heartfelt, genre-savvy, endlessly fun filmmaking style of Matthew Vaughn would be perfect for a Fantastic Four movie. He’d have to sanitize the violence and language from his previous comic book movies, Kick-Ass and the Kingsman movies, but he’d undoubtedly nail the tone.
Vaughn gave Marvel’s mutants a satisfying origin story with the ‘60s-set X-Men: First Class, and the Fantastic Four franchise would be in good hands if he did the same for it.
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