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MCU Theory - Miles Tellers' Fant4stic Reed Richards Will Come Back As The Evil Maker

"Time. Space. Reality. It's more than a linear path. It's a prism of endless possibility, where a single choice can branch out into infinite realities, creating alternate worlds from the ones you know." 

With these words, the Watcher greeted every Marvel fan in 2021 who had a Disney+ subscription. His ponderous utterances ushered "What If...?" viewers into a labyrinth of causality, where anything is possible. Ultron could defeat Thanos. T'Challa could become Star-Lord. Lake Bell could subtly replace Scarlett Johannson for financial reasons. Audiences could not mind. And thanks to the MCU's current business strategy of drowning all of its problems in a Willy Wonka-style waterfall made out of money, it can sometimes seem like the studio itself has already figured out how to access the multiverse to its fullest potential. 

Not long ago, the MCU managed to suck 20 years' worth of actors from the "Spider-Man" franchises into a single movie, something that would have sounded like a fanfiction pipedream just a few years bac. But is there a limit to how much bad blood can be washed away with cash? Could Marvel really get anyone to come back into the fold, no matter how much they've come to hate superheroes, blockbusters, and Josh Trank?

Fingers crossed, because Miles Teller's Reed Richards would be a pretty perfect Maker.

The MCU's future will be found in its shameful past

First, a refresher: In the Before Times, back in 2015, when "Chronicle" director Josh Trank was still Hollywood's golden baby boy, a movie was released. Well, we should say "movie." Because the total mess that comprised "Fant4stic" was to movies what the Flaming Moe was to drinks — a mishmash of 11th-hour studio reconsiderations and backpedals, all from the producers who brought you "X-Men: Diminishing Returns." 

While the reboot pulled plenty of imagery from some of the more well-received comics in its pantheon of source material, and took big swings in casting, there just wasn't enough in the final product to win over the fans. Anyone looking for a grim, body horror take on Marvel's First Family was going to wind up disappointed by the shoehorned-in CGI displays and unfortunate ADR punch-ups. Folks hoping for a classic "Fantastic Four" experience wound up treacherously bummed out by washed-out color palettes, soulless dialogue, and unrecognizable characters. No matter what the angle, every Marvel fan hated it (if they bothered seeing it, which most didn't). 

Speaking of unrecognizable characters? First among equals in that last department was Reed Richards, AKA Mr. Fantastic, played by Miles Teller with all the enthusiasm of an eighth grader being forced to apologize for spitting in his classmate's backpack. Far removed from the Silver Age machismo of the super-scientist from the comics, he was a quiet kid, maybe a little too intense, with a socially awkward side that shined through even the saccharine scenes added in post.

Which brings us to ...

The Maker is the MCU's best unused villain

In the early-2000s, Marvel launched its Ultimate line of comics — bold, modernized reimaginings of classic characters, retooled for a new generation of kids with their flip phones and their clickwheels and their constantly wanting a Fanta.

It was an experiment of hits and misses. Some stuff, like a Nick Fury who looked like Sam Jackson instead of Patrick Warburton, made a permanent impression. Other things, like the lightly disturbing comic book reveal of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch going all Lannister siblings, were blessedly purged from collective memory. When the universe was backburnered in 2015, only a handful of beloved characters made the jump to the mainstream comics — Miles Morales, introduced in the Ultimate comics a few years earlier, was one. Another was Ultimate Reed Richards, who was — to put it mildly — a lot.

See, whereas mainstream Marvel continuity has Reed in a constant state of marital tension with Sue Storm, Ultimate Reed went through a real dumper of a couple of months where Sue turned down his marriage proposal and started kissing his best friend instead. Between this, a truly rotten childhood, and a few other cruddy details (Ultimate New York sort of drowned) Reed wound up — and this happens sometimes — as a Machiavellian supervillain called the Maker. Likes: Growing a lumpy baguette of brains out of the back of his head. Dislikes: The Fantastic Four, girls who won't kiss him. He's a weird, mean, terrific villain, easy to understand but impossible to root for, that would make for a killer MCU big bad. 

Now, if only there were a prestige actor already established as Reed Richards with a socially awkward vibe and a heartfelt disdain for Marvel heroes... wouldn't that be fant4stic?

Miles Teller's Mister Fantastic needs to break bad

It's not hard to imagine Miles Teller's take on Reed Richards winding up as the version that breaks bad, when you consider the broody atmosphere and darker tones of 2015's "Fantastic Four." More than that, though, Teller has historically brought an intensity to the big screen that would fit the Maker like a glove. 

Think about the laser-focus that he injected into "Whiplash," then imagine a character turning that sort of passion towards nobler tasks, like trying to kill the Avengers. The biggest hurdle for Marvel Studios would be acknowledging that the Josh Trank version came out in the first place, but if they can salvage Jamie Foxx's Electro from "Amazing Spider-Man 2," they can do the same with the bleakest, most boring version of Reed so far. He's even got a natural way into the MCU, since his character was all about interdimensional travel in his debut movie. Imagine Teller, head stretched out like a rugby ball, sitting in front of a Council of Reeds populated by John Krasinski, Ioan Gruffudd, and Alex Hyde-White, before he betrays all of them. 

The big question is this: How is Marvel ever going to convince Teller to return to the role, when all they have to offer him is piles and piles of sweaty cash — enough money to do whatever he wants for the rest of his life?