Fantastic 4 Announcement Teases a Marvel Timeline Theory

Marvel’s First Family has finally been revealed. Has an intriguing new setting been revealed too?

Ebon Moss Bachrach, Joseph Quinn, Vanessa Kirby, and Pedro Pascal in the first poster for Marvel's F...
Marvel Studios

It’s a happy Valentine’s Day, indeed. After months of speculation and red tape, Marvel Studios has finally unveiled the cast for The Fantastic Four.

For months, The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal was all but confirmed as Reed Richards, aka Mister Fantastic. Now, Marvel Studios’ social media accounts have verified the report. The Fantastic Four will also cast Vanessa Kirby as Susan Storm, while Stranger Things alum Joseph Quinn has been tapped to play her brother Johnny, the Human Torch. Rounding out the cast as Ben Grimm, aka the Thing, is Ebon Moss-Bachrach (Andor, The Bear). Marvel revealed their new cast with a cute Valentine’s Day poster, and attached a new release date to the project.

Fantastic Four was previously set for a May 2025 release, but Marvel has pushed the film back to July 25. It swaps places with Thunderbolts, which previously occupied the July spot on Marvel’s slate. They’re just two of the four films coming in an absolutely packed year, sandwiched between Captain America: Brave New World in February and Blade in November. Marvel’s Cinematic Universe will expand at an aggressive rate in 2025, but Fantastic Four might be the most ambitious film on the slate.

There’s a decidedly retro feel to the Fantastic Four artwork, from the Marvel Studios logo, to the droid-like robot serving coffee. The team’s outfits also lean into that mod aesthetic, which seems to confirm their foray into the MCU will be a period piece. But there’s one detail that seems to confirm a 1960s setting: the issue of LIFE Magazine that The Thing is reading is actually the real December 1963 issue featuring Lyndon B. Johnson on the cover. So we can expect the movie to take place in 1963 or 1964.

When John Krasinski cameoed as Reed Richards in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Strange himself mentioned the group “chart[ed] in the ‘60s.” Clearly, that wasn’t just a throwaway quip. Fantastic Four will likely skew close to the comics by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, and introduce the team in the Swingin’ Sixties.

This wouldn’t be the first time Marvel introduced new heroes in a bygone era, only to drag them into the present day. That strategy worked seamlessly in Captain America: The First Avenger, and it kind of worked in Captain Marvel (though The Marvels proved the MCU is still working out the kinks there). Another period piece will give Marvel a chance to play with a new era, but how will the Fantastic Four find their way into the larger MCU? Could they be stuck in a void like the Negative Zone, in need of rescue from a reformed Avengers team? Or will they time-travel to the present day with the help of some space-y tech? We’ll have to wait a while to find out, but Fantastic Four is already starting to live up to its title.

Fantastic Four hits theaters on July 25, 2025.

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