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Denzel Washington reportedly turned down a big role in Fantastic Four

Published May 4th, 2023 10:38AM EDT
Marvel's Fantastic Four hits theaters on May 2, 2025.
Image: Marvel Studios

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The Fantastic Four cast saga continues with new developments, although we might be in the final days of speculation. An insider said recently that Marvel is done casting the actors for the next Fantastic Four team. The same person also dropped an exciting Fantastic Four rumor that Denzel Washington turned down a big role in the movie. Before we explore this rumor, I’ll warn you that big spoilers might follow below.

The Fantastic Four cast rumors

While MCU movies generate plenty of buzz, there’s rarely so much chatter about casting choices for a new project. Then again, the Fantastic Four team is incredibly exciting, making the cast choices important. After all, we’re going to have these four heroes in several movies in the Multiverse Saga, including the final Avengers adventures.

The same goes for some of the Fantastic Four villains, who are also exciting. And Denzel Washington reportedly turned down the big Fantastic Four villain role. This is a character who could also appear in other movies, so it would have undoubtedly been a huge deal.

White Noise on Netflix
Greta Gerwig (Babette), May Nivola (Steffie), Adam Driver (Jack), Samuel Nivola (Heinrich) and Raffey Cassidy (Denise) in Netflix’s “White Noise.” Image source: Netflix

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that we’re looking at Marvel’s first chance to make a Fantastic Four movie. One placed in the rich Avengers universe. Fox tried twice to make something of this property but the studio largely failed. That’s another reason why casting is so important.

In a way, all the Fantastic Four casting speculation is reminiscent of the rumors between Infinity War and Endgame. At the time, we saw rumors that a dead character would come back in Endgame. An actor or actress said or did something to give away their involvement. But unlike Fantastic Four, those characters had already been cast.

YouTuber Grace Randolph said on Twitter that Marvel might have finally chosen the four superheroes and their villain. But we have no idea who they are. Adam Driver appears to be the next Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic. And Margot Robbie might be Sue Storm/Invisible Woman.

As for Johnny Storm/Human Torch and Ben Grimm/The Thing, we don’t have any firm names. But there is one rumor that says Mila Kunis might play a female variant of The Thing. That would be a feat unlike anything we saw in previous Fantastic Four movies.

Denzel Washington as Fantastic Four’s Galactus?

Then there’s the villain, a crucial element of any superhero story… especially Fantastic Four. You might be expecting Doctor Doom to show up in the reboot. And maybe it’ll happen. But the story’s main antagonist will be Galactus and his herald(s). Recent rumors said the Silver Surfer might appear in the film, but that might not be the case.

What seems certain is that the Fantastic Four will fight Galactus. And Antonio Banderas is reportedly in negotiations with Marvel for the role. Or maybe he already inked the deal. We have no way of knowing.

DENZEL WASHINGTON as Joe “Deke” Deacon and JARED LETO as Albert Sparma in Warner Bros. Pictures’ psychological thriller “THE LITTLE THINGS.” Image source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Randolph mentioned the Banderas rumor, expressing her disappointment with the purported choice. That’s where she casually dropped the Denzel Washington tidbit. Apparently, Marvel wanted Washington to play Galactus, but the actor turned down the part.

Why are we casting a serious actor as Galacturs; this is ridiculous. Denzel Washington turned down Galactus.

Fans would probably love to see Denzel Washington play a Marvel character, especially a villain. Or voice one. And maybe it’ll happen down the road. But it sure looks like Washington won’t star in Fantastic Four.

The actor is part of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator 2 cast, the same Randolph said. And that’s a great reason to actually turn down a Fantastic Four role. The Gladiator sequel hits theaters on November 22nd, 2024. Fantastic Four will premiere on February 14th, 2025. These release dates imply there will be some production overlap between the two projects.

Interestingly, Paul Mescal might also be in Scott’s reboot. The actor appeared in Johnny Storm rumors but apparently turned down the Human Torch role.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.