In December 2020, before cameras had even begun filming on Spider-Man: No Way Home, Marvel locked up director Jon Watts to helm its new incarnation of the Fantastic Four. It was a solid choice considering that Watts’ MCU Spider-Man movies were wildly successful at the box office even before characters from the previous Spider-Man films showed up in No Way Home. But three superhero movies in five years appears to be enough for Watts. Via Deadline, both Marvel and Watts confirmed his departure from Fantastic Four.
The report notes that it was an amicable split between Watts and Marvel. That also seems clear from the joint statement by Marvel’s Kevin Feige and Louis D’Esposito.
“Collaborating with Jon on the Spider-Man films has been a true pleasure. We were looking forward to continuing our work with him to bring the Fantastic Four into the MCU, but understand and are supportive of his reasons for stepping away. We are optimistic that we will have the opportunity to work together again at some point down the road.”
“Making three Spider-Man films was an incredible and life changing experience for me,” added Watts. “I’m eternally grateful to have been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for seven years. I’m hopeful we’ll work together again and I can’t wait to see the amazing vision for Fantastic Four brought to life.”
Despite the critical and box office failure of the 2015 Fantastic Four reboot, a new FF movie remains a priority for Marvel. In many ways, they are as important to Marvel as Spider-Man himself. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the FF in 1961 as the first family of heroes in Marvel’s Silver Age. And through the monthly Fantastic Four series, they created several additional characters including Silver Surfer, the Inhumans, and Black Panther. Many of those creations would be best-served if they were introduced to the MCU via the FF.
The other major Marvel news of the day is that Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels are swapping places on the release schedule. Deadline indicates that the reason is that third Ant-Man movie is just further along than the Captain Marvel sequel. Therefore, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will fly into theaters on February 17, 2023, while The Marvels will arrive on July 28, 2023.
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