4 Remarkable Directors That I’d Love to See Direct Marvel Studios ‘Fantastic Four’
Earlier this year, Deadline reported Jon Watts (director of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Far From Home, and No Way Home) exited the Fantastic Four project slated for late 2024. Based on comments from both Watts and the co-presidents of Marvel Studios, Kevin Fiege and Louis D’Esposito, this appears to be on amicable terms. There’s no confirmation that this move is his last venture into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but after three big-budget films nearly back-to-back, I’m sure he needs a break.
Late in August 2022, Matt Shakman was rumored to be in talks with Marvel for the position of director. In the MCU, he’s best known for directing and executive producing WandaVision. Outside of Disney, Shakman’s directed and produced for TV shows like Succession, Mad Men, The Boys, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Game of Thrones. If it’s not Shakman, this is a great opportunity to bring some newer talent. So, I’d like to propose some options that would make for a great introduction to the MCU.
To expand imagination & play with color — Carlos López Estrada
He’s already on the Disney payroll, working with creative leadership credits in a number of animated Disney films over the last few years and co-directing Raya & The Last Dragon. Estrada’s live-action directorial work includes FX’s X-Men show Legion, a number of music videos, and one of my favorite movies of all time (Blindspotting). This experience puts him in a great position to lead an action-packed Fantastic Four project. The problem is, he’s already attached to a Robinhood (1973) remake that no one’s too keen on. There’s still hope that gets delayed in favor of bringing him on to this!
To build suspense & explore humanity — Janicza Michelle Bravo
Director of Lemon, Zola, and the Houston episode in the historical drama mini-series Ms. America, Bravo is underbooked and teeming with talent. She started in costuming and design, which would be beneficial considering how abrasive the discourse can be around the blue super-suits. Another point of contention I see in Marvel discourse is the constant jokes undercutting tension. Bravo has a talent for building tension through terror and distress alongside moments of humor without devaluing the emotional moments. Of everyone on this list, I think she would handle Susan Storm and Ben Grimm the best.
To value character-driven narratives & music — Hiro Murai
While many became familiar with Hurai’s directorial work when watching Station Eleven and Barry, most people will probably recognize his work via Atlanta (where he serves as a lead director) and various music videos from the last almost 15 years. Like Estrada, he’s directed some superhero work via Legion. In addition to directing, he’s also produced several projects, including as an executive producer on the recent Hulu hit, The Bear. Murai’s background working with character-driven stories first, as well as creative freedom in music videos, make him a firm contender.
To gamble on an industry veteran — Robert Zemeckis
Before you try and silo this director to one particular genre or type of movie, you should really look at his wider filmography as one of the oldest directors on this list. I think with a good script, cast, and more in-tune producing team, Zemeckis could pull something very unique to kick off the series. I doubt Marvel would ever enlist him with such as important team instead of bringing him on board to launch lesser-know characters, or if he’d want to come in after some decisions were probably already made, but … what if?
Many of the most interesting special effects bits of Hollywood history came from Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump, and Welcome to Marwin), and his vision would be an event. Maybe not great since he’s provided some big Ls in the later half of his career, but still something worth talking about.
Who do you want to direct the Fantastic Four, and what strength do they bring to telling their story in particular?
AUTHORS NOTE: This was originally published 9/17/2022 and updated to include Shakman news.
(featured images: Marvel Studios, Mike Coppola/Getty Images, Amy Sussman/Getty Images, onathan Leibson/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)
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