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Actors Who Would Be Perfect For Marvel's Fantastic Four Reboot

At long last, the Fantastic Four are coming to the MCU. Cornerstone heroes since their debut in the 1960s, the Four promise to bring even more science, magic, and drama into the cinematic mix. Will the Thing and the Hulk exchange tailoring tips? Could the old Avengers Tower, stripped of its insignia, become the Four's iconic Baxter Building? The questions are limitless — and soon to be answered.

Casting the Four correctly will be crucial. Their status within Marvel's decade-spanning history is one thing, but there's also the matter of their previous movies, and oh, what a rocky road it's been for the Four on film. Whoever puts on the bright blue jumpsuits will need to wipe away memories of the decent-to-bad 2000s movies, the utter trainwreck that was 2015's attempt, and the 1994 production so infamously awful that it never even saw an official release. What titans of cinema could accomplish this feat in a MCU reboot? We have some ideas. Here are our picks for the Four, their friends, and their foes, from the big green goddess to the rider of the spaceways.

Pablo Schreiber would make a complex Reed Richards in a Fantastic Four reboot

Reed Richards wears many hats. As one of the most intelligent characters in the Marvel universe, he spearheads projects in everything from astrophysics to engineering. As leader of the Fantastic Four, he charges into battle as Mister Fantastic, able to stretch his body into any shape. As a family man, he raises two children, Franklin and Valeria, beside his wife, Sue Storm. He's built a rocket, been bombarded with mysterious radiation, and earned a degree in practically every scientific field. Playing him calls for an actor with years of demonstrated range and a hefty dose of charisma. Enter Pablo Schreiber.

Schreiber's filmography runs the gamut. That nuance would serve Richards — who tends to waver between heroism and selfishness — quite well. He's not always likable, but he's never anything less than interesting. Schreiber's portrayal of Mad Sweeney in American Gods demonstrates exquisite balance of the sort required. He's manic, soulful, and surprisingly endearing. Schreiber's work in audiobook narration is also a strong indicator of his range, especially his role as 1970s rock god Billy Dunn in Taylor Jenkins Reid's Daisy Jones & The Six. You might think of Schreiber as specializing in loud, crass characters, but as the introspective Billy Dunn, he demonstrates a breathtaking tenderness. Reed Richards, who splits atoms as often as he tucks his children into bed, deserves that depth of talent.

Jessica Pimentel could show us multiple sides of Sue Storm

Sue Storm is a wife, a mother, and the strongest member of the Fantastic Four. As Invisible Woman, she's able to render herself, and whatever nearby objects and people she chooses, completely unseen. Moreover, her "force field" powers, as they're commonly referred to, aren't just force fields. Instead, they're complex constructs of psionic energy she manipulates at will. She can approximate levitation, form small, unseen projectiles, and in creating constructs within another person, instantaneously incapacitate ... or even kill.

A lesser actor would favor only one or two aspects of Sue's character rather than to portray her as she is — a warm, loving person who's also massively powerful. Jessica Pimentel, however, has already demonstrated her ability to make those two halves into a whole. As Maria Ruiz, an incarcerated mother on Orange is the New Black, she never loses sight of the fact that Ruiz is a nurturing mother and a ruthless gang leader. Moreover, Pimentel herself lives that life. She's at once a glamorous actress ... and a death metal frontwoman. As lead singer of Alekhine's Gun and backing vocalist in Brujeria, she screams like a banshee to crowds of black-clad fans. Bet you wouldn't have guessed she's also a trained violinist who's played Carnegie Hall, right? Pimentel understands that no woman is simple, and that's exactly the sort of complexity that Sue Storm needs.

Carlos Santos could bring the fire as Johnny Storm

The Human Torch is, to no one's surprise, a hot head. Flirty, impulsive, and energetic, Johnny Storm is the impetuous inverse of Sue, his poised older sister. Able to fly, engulf his body in flames, and manipulate nearby fire, he's an offensive asset. But as the youngest member of the Four, he's also the most prone to immature shenanigans. Johnny requires an actor with irresistible charm, the sort who might convince you to go out with him, even when you know it's a terrible idea. He's flighty, he's brash, he's sometimes a bit of a jerk, but boy howdy does he know how to show you a good time.

Carlos Santos is exactly the sort of actor Johnny needs. A comedian, he regularly performs as part of the Upright Citizens Brigade, an improv troupe famous for launching the likes of Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz into the spotlight. His biggest break yet is his role in Gentefied, a 2020 Netflix comedy series about one family's experience in rapidly gentrifying Los Angeles. As Chris, a young chef, Santo shines, combining genuine pathos with rapid-fire comedy. His chatty, charming patter is a perfect fit for Johnny Storm, while his genuine acting chops could provide the character with a firm emotional foundation. Johnny's actor needs to be someone who can balance goofiness with tension, and Santos is just the man for the job.

Marvel should definitely cast Liev Schreiber as Ben Grimm

Being a superhero tends to be a bit of a double-edged sword, with fabulous powers and threats to your life. Few, however, have as tough a deal as Ben Grimm, more commonly known as the Thing. A test pilot from the mean streets of New York City, Ben is transformed by the cosmic rays encountered on the Four's voyage into space into a rocky orange behemoth. He's massively strong and able to withstand all manner of blows and ballistics, but he is, frankly, terrifying to behold.

This tension has defined the character for decades. Ben Grimm needs an actor capable of bearing that burden with poise and pathos — an actor like Liev Schreiber. Someone with voice acting experience, which Schreiber has in everything from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to HBO's 24/7, is ideal for the stony-faced Thing. Moreover, Schreiber is no stranger to roles requiring a toughness. His Tony Award-winning performance as Ricky Roma in Glengarry Glen Ross and as Marty Baron in the Oscar-winning film Spotlight are testament to that. 

But beyond both of these things is the wounded wistfulness Schreiber conjures in so many of his roles. His characters take up space even when they're standing in the margins. One senses automatically that his performance is informed by deep consideration of the character's place in life. The Thing, shaped by the past in ways enormously visible and entirely unseen, can only be played by an actor of that thoughtfulness.

Chris Pang would be cocky and cool as Namor in a Fantastic Four reboot

Though Namor, also known as the Sub-Mariner, enters the Fantastic Four's lives as an amnesiac homeless man, he's anything but humble. This is the sort of dude who cries "IMPERIUS REX!" as he swims into battle, was literally once a member of the Illuminati, and absolutely refuses to ever cover his rippling six-pack. The son of an Atlantean princess and a human sea captain, he's arrogance incarnate — but darn it if he doesn't make good on it by being an absolutely incredible superhero. Add in a long-simmering flirtation with Sue Storm, and you've got cinematic dynamite.

Namor demands an actor with immense charisma. Anything less will fall flat, if not outright annoy the audience. Chris Pang, best known for playing Colin Khoo in Crazy Rich Asians, fits the bill splendidly. As Colin, Pang plays a scion of Singaporean society whose dazzling lifestyle obscures the actual depth of his personality. Charlie's Angels saw him take on a smarmier role in smuggler Johnny Smith, but much like Namor, he eventually defects to the good guys. Pang can condescend like a royal, only to reveal the legitimate skill, concentration, and raw power that underlies his loftiness. Plus, as a distant relation of Bruce Lee, he already has experience with the whole "legendary bloodline" thing.

Marvel should go with both Logan Lerman and Erik Dellums as Doctor Doom

It's a very particular sort of person who calls himself Doctor Doom. It's an even more particular kind of comic book supervillain who's actually named Victor von Doom. But that's who the Fantastic Four's most legendary enemy is — a one-of-a-kind baddie who lives to crush all notions of subtlety beneath his armored heel.

Doom will probably be introduced before the accident that sees him don his iconic mask, and Logan Lerman is the man to play him at this point. His starring role in Hunters, in which he plays a young Nazi hunter, sees him portray an underdog with charm and grit. Upon Doom's donning of the mask, we turn to veteran voice actor Erik Dellums. Many know him from live-action series like Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, but his roles as Koh in Avatar: The Last Airbender and Aaravos in The Dragon Prince are most relevant to Doom. There, his voice is somehow simultaneously silken and rough, hypnotically calm until it's suddenly, shockingly violent. His is a voice that could command armies, swear vengeance upon the Fantastic Four, and rename multiple Latverian cities after himself. Dellums' work on Avatar was skilled to the point of making Koh, a character with only a few minutes of screen time, one of the series most unforgettable figures. Imagine what he could do with a starring role in a Marvel movie.

Betty Gilpin would bring commitment and passion to the role of She-Hulk

"Shulkie," as she's affectionately known by fans, is a fierce lawyer, fashion plate (though at 6'7", custom tailoring is a must), and occasionally aware of her own nature as a fictional character. Despite her independence, she's spent some time as part of the ever-loving Four, most notably when she replaced a soul-searching Thing. As it turned out, her upbeat attitude, kooky storylines, and thrilling heroics fit the Four like a big green hand in a giant glove.

She-Hulk requires an actress of an iron will, who understands that strength and conviction don't come at the cost of humor or joy. Betty Gilpin — star of GLOW, Isn't It Romantic, and The Hunt — is exactly that sort of actress. As Debbie Eagan, Gilpin plays a newly single mother whose acting career has led her to the world of professional wrestling. She's often stressed, irritable, and smeared as strident, but it's only because she loves so fiercely. Her desire to provide for her son, escape her impoverished childhood, and demand respect from an unfair industry drive her to absolute genius. 

That sort of passion, commitment, and sheer ferocity would serve She-Hulk splendidly, while avoiding the pitfalls a lesser actor might trip into. Gilpin wouldn't settle for a generic air of "sass." She understands the truth of ambitious, driven characters far better than that. And She-Hulk, whose name is sometimes preceded by "the Savage," is nothing if not driven.

Jackson Robert Scott is ready to show his acting powers as Franklin

Son and eldest child of Reed and Sue, Franklin Richards isn't just part of the Fantastic Four — he's a mutant. And not just any mutant. Franklin is an Omega-level mutant, defined as being nigh-limitlessly powerful. Able to manipulate matter and energy and create universes, Franklin is also capable of telepathy, telekinesis, precognition, and might actually be immortal. He is, in effect, a young god whose powers utterly dwarf most superheroes of the Marvel universe.

Who could shoulder the burden of playing the son of Marvel's headlining couple and a being of celestial import? How about the kid who kicked off It, the highest-grossing horror film of all time? As Georgie, Jackson Robert Scott pulled off the "sweet kid who meets a horrible fate" with aplomb — a tall order for a boy who hadn't yet hit double digits. Later, as Bode in Locke & Key, he proved himself a capable actor over the course of a long-term story. Bode's the sort of role a lousy actor would've made saccharine, but Scott made the inquisitive kid a delightful, surprisingly stirring portrait of childhood. Given the fact that he's handled being murdered by a demonic clown and moving into a haunted hose full of whispering, super-powered keys, we'd like to see him try Franklin Richards on for size.

Scarlett Estevez could definitely bring Valeria to life

Daughter and youngest child of Reed and Sue, Valeria's history is ... complicated. Initially, she materialized before the Four, claiming to be from a future where she's the child of Sue Storm and Victor von Doom. Later, she was revealed to be Sue and Reed's daughter, transferred to an alternate reality where Sue and Doom were married by her brother Franklin. Further shenanigans ensued, all of which boil down to her having a unique connection to the Four's Latverian foe. Though she has no superhuman abilities, she's a genius to rival her father, showing especially impressive skills in mechanical engineering.

Scarlett Estevez doesn't have much under her belt yet — she is, after all, 12 — but what's there is enough to make her a vivacious Valeria. As Trixie on Lucifer, she plays a sprightly young girl who loves chocolate cake, great big hugs ... and beating up kids who make fun of her. She's prone to flights of fancy — she dreams of being "the first President of Mars" — but maturity lurks beneath her goofy facade. She reveals that she "pretends she's okay," even though her mother's work as a detective scares her, because she doesn't want to cause her even more worry. Given that Valeria once hid her prodigious intelligence for fear of causing a familial rift, Estevez seems like a natural choice for the young genius.

Marvel needs someone like Q'orianka Kilcher for the part of Crystal

The Inhumans had a bit of a rough start in the MCU. But let's put all that aside, because Crystal, Inhuman princess and occasional Johnny Storm love interest, is a whole lot of fun. Brave, cheerful, and intelligent, Crystal controls the classical elements of fire, water, earth, and air. Her world is vast, encompassing the court politics of the Inhumans, occasional membership in the Four, and more than one marriage. The Fantastic Four have always been a cosmically aligned team, so what better way to connect them to the far-out reaches of space than by introducing Crystal into their corner of the MCU right off the bat?

There's something utterly irresistible about Crystal's earliest 1960s stories, and an actress who portrays her needs to capture the effervescent spirit of that age. Q'orianka Kilcher is the woman for the job. As Pocahontas in 2005's The New World, she shows off the sincerity for which she's become known, a quality the open-hearted Crystal absolutely requires. But she's no naif. Kilcher has portrayed royals under fire multiple times, including the fictional Kawillaka in Dora and the Lost City of Gold and the entirely real Princess Ka'ilulani in a 2009 biopic. Kilcher manages the tricky balancing act of portraying prestige and kindness simultaneously, which is exactly the formula Crystal needs to thrive. Plus, she could totally pull off the character's bizarre hair stripe.

Lakeith Stanfield would make the perfect Silver Surfer in a Fantastic Four reboot

Is there anything more utterly Silver Age than the Silver Surfer? A spaceman riding the cosmic waves, he looks like a hood ornament, speaks like portentous grad student, and heralds the arrival of a planet-eating colossus. He is perfectly absurd yet utterly serious — a symbol of the swinging 1960s as much as he is one of Marvel's most traditionally introspective characters. Whoever plays the Surfer needs gravitas, presence, and a total commitment to the character's shtick. He is bright silver. He rides an interstellar surfboard. He brings tidings of the apocalypse. None of these elements can be sacrificed.

Who could tackle such a bizarre being? Lakeith Stanfield could. Consider his role in Death Note. The movie around him might be terrible, but as L, the solitary savant who solves crimes while indulging his sweet tooth, he is flawlessly strange. Similarly, Stanfield it perfectly at home in the off-kilter worlds of Sorry to Bother You, BoJack Horseman, and Atlanta. There's a unique emotional weight to his work. Every character he plays, however briefly, feels as though they're tugging along a complex backstory behind them. This often manifests as a certain oddness or faint sense of sorrow, but it never ends up making his characters feel cold. Surfer is a high-wire act for any actor, but Stanfield's career has been strung with those sorts of jobs from the beginning.