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Is Penn Badgley Cast as Mister Fantastic in the MCU Fantastic Four?

We'll have to wait and see. XOXO, Gossip Girl

Penn Badgley as Joe, sitting behind his basement desk in Netflix's You.

Right now, everyone wants to know who is going to play the Fantastic Four in the superhero team’s new movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now that we’ve had a taste of Reed Richards in the MCU, fans want to know what to expect for the future, and it does seem as if John Krasinski’s appearance in the role was just a one-time nod to fans in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, thanks to the infamous fan-cast we couldn’t seem to escape. Now though, the question remains: Who is going to play Reed, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm? The Fantastic Four MCU reboot has not yet been given a cast, though You star actor Penn Badgley has been rumored to play Mister Fantastic in the MCU.

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Talk about who could play the entire Fantastic Four team has always been fascinating, especially when the sources tend to be just someone who has “heard” who’s in the running for a given role. And that is, currently, what is going on with this Penn Badgley rumor. For a few weeks now, there’s been whispers that Badgley was in talks about joining the MCU as Mister Fantastic himself but it’s just been rumors with nothing else confirming the news.

Now, The Direct has reported that Penn Badgley spoke to Marvel Studios about playing Mister Fantastic, and while this is currently just a rumor, it is one that I would like to talk about because I don’t hate the idea of Penn Badgley in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I really don’t hate the idea of him as Reed Richards.

The Reed Richards type

While John Krasinski did look like the comic book take on Mister Fantastic, he wasn’t exactly the perfect fit. Reed Richards’ incredible intelligence often makes him a little socially awkward, and having someone like Penn Badgley in the role, who has made a name for himself by playing incredibly awkward and (sometimes) murderous men, is oddly the right move. Badgley is currently playing the horrific murderer known as Joe Goldberg in the Netflix series You, but prior to that, he was the Gossip Girl himself, Dan Humprey, in the long-running series Gossip Girl.

Both Joe and Dan (while very different characters) have this tendency to not be able to talk to someone because they’re too invested in their conversations about some intelligent thing. Dan was smart enough to go to this “rich” school despite being labeled as the less-than-well-off kid in school (I don’t have time to get into all of that) but he’s labeled as smart right from the gate. Joe, while a murderer, is very smart, which is honestly how he gets away with murder. So while you would believe that Badgley’s Reed was smart right out the gate, you might have to do some work into making people believe he’s not a murderer. (Sorry, Penn. I love you, though!)

I wouldn’t hate Penn Badgley in the role. I think he’s fascinating and a good choice. My personal choice is William Jackson Harper, who has all the makings of a great Reed Richards right there and at the ready. But if they are really looking at actors like Badgley for the role, then it is going to be an interesting make-up of the team.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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