Marvel Recasts New ‘Fantastic Four,’ Adds Mystery Character

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Marvel Studios Fantastic Four logo

Credit: Marvel Studios

The Fantastic Four is one of Marvel Studios’ big upcoming power moves, but it sounds like the movie is still being cast even as the production date looms ever closer.

The official cast announcement of Fantastic Four, featuring everyone enjoying themselves in a living room
Credit: Marvel Studios

To put it mildly, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not what it once was. While the comic book adaptation franchise remains history’s highest-grossing series of films, it has been stumbling in recent years. After the epochal triumph of Avengers: Endgame (2019), it has often seemed like the MCU doesn’t know quite what to do with itself and the box office has proved it.

Beginning with Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) and continuing through Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) and The Marvels (2023), the grosses of the MCU have plummeted while production budgets have risen. At the same time, critics have begun turning on the movies and audiences have tuned out of Disney+ series like Secret Invasion.

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in 'Secret Invasion'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Marvel Leans Into “M-She-U” With Latest ‘Fantastic Four’ Update

To be fair, there are the occasional high moments, like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023) and Werewolf by Night, but Marvel and Disney know that they need a couple of unqualified hits to pull out of the potential death spiral the MCU is caught in.

Enter: Deadpool & Wolverine and The Fantastic Four.

Deadpool & Wolverine, starring Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman, and a whole slew of cameos from across different superhero franchises, is scheduled to hit theaters this summer and potentially usher in a new age of mutants in a rebooted MCU. It is Kevin Feige’s initial attempt to woo back indifferent audiences, but not the only one.

A heart made with Deadpool and Wolverine's hands
Credit: Marvel Studios

The Fantastic Four will bring Marvel’s First Family into the MCU, although very likely not the specific universe that we’re used to. After months of anticipation and rumors, Marvel Studios announced a central cast of Pedro Pascal as Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic, Vanessa Kirby as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, Joseph Quinn as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Ben Grimm/The Thing, but has also been doling out a few surprise castings here and there.

Julia Garner was recently cast as the Silver Surfer, though not the one most comic book fans were expecting. The presence of Garner as Shalla-Bal did, however, seemingly confirm rumors that Galactus would be a major figure in The Fantastic Four. No actor has yet been announced to portray the Devourer of Worlds.

Julia garner in a silver dress at a New Years party, female Silver Surfer in space
Credit: Julia Garner Instagram, Marvel Comics

For the next mystery character, Deadline reports that Paul Walter Hauser will appear in The Fantastic Four. Hauser is acclaimed for both comic performances in the Netflix series Cobra Kai and I, Tonya (2017) and dramatic roles in the Apple TV+ series Black Bird and Richard Jewell (2019), making it difficult to know which version of the character we’ll see.

Paul Walter Hauser in Cobra Kai
Credit: Netflix

Related: MCU Star Gets Second Chance, Could Play Doctor Doom in ‘Fantastic Four’ Reboot

Fans are already speculating that Paul Walter Hauser might portray Harvey Rupert Elder, AKA the Mole Man, a longtime Marvel villain who was, incidentally, the first foe ever faced by the Fantastic Four. Hauser’s build and ability to pull off pathos both lend themselves to the Mole Man theory. Then again, director Matt Shakman has already made it clear that The Fantastic Four will not be an origin story, so that’s a strike against it, too.

Mole Man in Marvel Comics, clenching his fist
Credit: Marvel Comics

There is also a rumor that he might voice H.E.R.B.I.E. (Humanoid Experimental Robot, B-type, Integrated Electronics), a comedic helper robot who initially debuted in the 1970s New Fantastic Four animated children’s series. H.E.R.B.I.E. was already featured in the initial retro-styled cast announcement, so we’re almost certain to see him in the film; why not Paul Walter Hauser?

Comic book illustration of H.E.R.B.I.E with a rectangular head displaying glowing yellow eyes and a waveform mouth, caught in a dynamic action pose with a red backdrop.
Credit: Marvel Comics

The Fantastic Four is scheduled for release on July 25, 2025. It will star Pedro Pascal as Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic, Vanessa Kirby as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, Joseph Quinn as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Ben Grimm/The Thing, and Julia Garner as Shalla-Bal/Silver Surfer. The film is directed by Matt Shakman from a screenplay by Jeff Kaplan & Ian Springer and Josh Friedman.

Who do you think Paul Walter Hauser will play in The Fantastic Four? Give us your theories in the comments below!

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