Pedro Pascal, Vanessa Kirby, Joseph Quinn Cast at Marvel

Marvel Studios has its “Fantastic Four.”

The superhero quartet — the first characters created for Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby — will be played by Pedro Pascal as Reed Richards (aka Mr. Fantastic), Vanessa Kirby as Sue Storm (aka the Invisible Woman), Joseph Quinn as Johnny Storm (aka the Human Torch) and Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Ben Grimm (aka the Thing).

As part of the casting announcement, Disney has swapped the release dates of “The Fantastic Four” (now set for July 25, 2025) and “Thunderbolts” (now set for May 2, 2025). Those are two of four Marvel tentpoles currently set to open in 2025, along with “Captain America: Brave New World” in February and “Blade” in November. Four Marvel films are also scheduled for 2026, including “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.” That’s a ramp up from 2024: Marvel only has “Deadpool & Wolverine” for theaters, on July 26.

Per usual with Marvel, story details remain scant. But in the comics, the Fantastic Four are astronauts who are remade into superheroes after they’re exposed to cosmic rays in space. Reed gains the ability to stretch his body to astonishing lengths. Sue, Reed’s girlfriend (and eventual wife), can manipulate light to become invisible and cast powerful forcefields. Johnny, Sue’s brother, can turn his body into fire which gives him the ability to fly. And Ben, Reed’s best friend, is totally transformed into, well, a Thing, with giant, orange boulders for a body, giving him super strength — and a perpetual heavy heart about his seemingly monstrous appearance.

Matt Shakman (“WandaVision,” “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters”) will direct “Fantastic Four,” from a screenplay by Josh Friedman, Jeff Kaplan and Ian Springer. News of Pascal’s casting first leaked in November, but Marvel had otherwise tried to keep a tight lid on who would play Marvel’s First Family, considered widely to be among the most significant superhero characters ever created. Filming is expected to begin by the summer.

One of the most in demand actors in Hollywood, Pascal will likely first shoot Season 2 of HBO’s “The Last of Us” before stretching into shape to play Richards. After several standout performances in British TV, Quinn broke out as the wily and heartbreaking Eddie Munson on Season 4 of “Stranger Things.” And Moss-Bachrach recently won an Emmy for his performance as Richard “Richie” Jerimovich on FX’s “The Bear.”

Kirby — who first rose to prominence as Princess Margaret in “The Crown” before earning an Oscar nomination for her performance in 2020’s “Pieces of a Woman” — previously teased her desire to take on the Invisible Woman role. “It would be an honor to play Sue Storm,” Kirby told Variety at the premiere of “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” in 2023. “She’s amazing.”

Until now, however, the Fantastic Four had not been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie rights belonged instead to 20th Century Fox, which produced three films with the characters. “Fantastic Four” and “Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer,” released in 2005 and 2007 respectively, starred Ioan Gruffudd as Reed, Jessica Alba as Sue, Michael Chiklis as Ben and Chris Evans, pre-Captain America, as Johnny. Fox’s attempt to reboot the franchise in 2015 — with Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell and Michael B. Jordan in the respective roles — was a critical and box office bomb. Four years later, Disney acquired 21st Century Fox, finally bringing the characters into the Marvel Studios sandbox.

The MCU got its first peek at Reed Richards in 2022’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” when John Krasinski played a multiverse variant of the character in a cameo, as a nod to an online fan campaign to cast him in the role.

Typically, the central villain for the Fantastic Four is Victor von Doom, one of the most important and fearsome villains in the Marvel canon. But Marvel has yet to announce who the quartet will battle in this movie.

By anointing the full foursome, however, Marvel Studios is securing the new anchor for the MCU, following the departures of Evans’ Steve Rogers and Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark in “Avengers: Endgame.”

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