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Earlier this year, Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts announced he'd be stepping away from Marvel's still-developing Fantastic Four movie. Now, we finally know who the studio is eyeing to replace him.
Deadline reports that Matt Shakman, fresh off his work directing the first season of Marvel's WandaVision, is in "early discussions" to take on the film, which will mark the MCU debut of Marvel Comics' first superhero team after three previous feature film releases over at Fox. First confirmed back in 2020, the film is a key piece of MCU mastermind Kevin Feige's upcoming plans, and was revealed as the launchpad for Phase Six of the universe's ongoing story during San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year.
Shakman, who previously directed episodes of Game of Thrones and Fargo, proved to be a valuable addition to the MCU with WandaVision, which showcased his versatility and earned him an Emmy nomination for directing. It also helped him land another high-profile gig as the director of the upcoming untitled fourth Star Trek film, which will feature the return of Chris Pine and company to the bridge of the Enterprise. Alas, The Hollywood Reporter notes that Shakman has dropped out of that gig due to Fantastic Four scheduling conflicts.
“Matt Shakman is an incredibly talented filmmaker, and we regret the timing didn’t align for him to direct our upcoming Star Trek film,” Paramount Pictures said in a statement to THR. “We are grateful for his many contributions, are excited about the creative vision of this next chapter and look forward to bringing it to audiences all around world.”
At the moment, we still know very little about the story Marvel is planning for Fantastic Four, but we do know that it will launch the final phase of Marvel's "Multiverse Saga," which culminates with the one-two punch of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. The Fantastic Four had a key role to play in the most recent comic book incarnation of the Secret Wars saga back in 2015, and comic book fans know that Reed Richards has a particular connection to Kang the Conqueror (played by Jonathan Majors), so it'll be very interesting to see how those threads weave together on the big screen.
Star Trek 4 is currently set for a release during the 2023 holiday season, while Fantastic Four has a release date of Nov. 8, 2024. That means that Shakman would basically go right from one high-profile genre franchise to another, proving just how in-demand he's become since WandaVision. It also means that, should Shakman finally sign on, we might finally get some Fantastic Four casting news very soon (including the lingering question of if John Krasinksi will reprise his Reed Richards role from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness).
Looking for some solid sci-fi viewing? Check out shows like Resident Alien, Brave New World, Project Blue Book, Eureka, Heroes, Intergalactic, and more streaming now on Peacock.