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Surprise Fantastic Four plot reveal might tie it to Doctor Strange 2

Published Jun 27th, 2024 9:15PM EDT
The Fantastic Four hits theaters on July 25, 2025.
Image: Marvel Studios

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It’s finally happening. The Fantastic Four will start shooting in about a month, something Marvel president Kevin Feige confirmed on a new Marvel podcast. That’s not the only surprising detail from his comments about the highly anticipated reboot. Feige also confirmed some key plot leaks for The Fantastic Four that I’ve been following for at least a couple of years.

Marvel seemed to confirm the plot leaks when it announced The Fantastic Four cast a few months ago. The poster above suggested that the movie might take place in the 1960s rather than the present-day of the MCU.

This would explain why the Fantastic Four have been absent from the main MCU reality in the past phases. Disney and Marvel could not use the characters during the Infinity Saga, as Fox held the rights to making (bad) Fantastic Four movies.

Then, Marvel showed off a different poster for The Fantastic Four that teased a futuristic New York City, suggesting some sort of time travel would apply.

But it was only earlier this week that we got an official confirmation. Kevin Feige said The Fantastic Four is indeed going to be a period movie, just like fans speculated. However, if you’ve been following leaks for as long as I have, you know there might be more to it than what Feige had to say. Before we can get into that, I’ll say that spoilers might follow below.

If you haven’t followed any Fantastic Four plot rumors since Marvel announced the reboot, you’d only have Marvel’s imagery to go by when it comes to speculation about the Fantastic Four place in the MCU.

The The Fantastic Four posters I mentioned, seen above and below, are enough to make any MCU fan speculate that The Fantastic Four won’t happen in the current present time of the MCU. It would somehow defy logic.

Marvel has to explain why the MCU lacked any Fantastic Four in the first decades of the MCU’s 21st century. Or it would have to introduce them only now. But even then, the characters would have to have witnessed the MCU all the way to the big war against Thanos (Josh Brolin).

The multiverse can explain the time issues. We’ve already covered Kevin Feige’s comments about The Fantastic Four plot, but I’ll bring them up again because he practically confirmed what’s at play here:

Yes, yes, very much so. It is a period [piece]. And there was another piece of art we released with Johnny Storm flying in the air making a 4 symbol, and there was a cityscape in the corner of that image, and there were a lot of smart people who noticed that that cityscape didn’t look exactly like the New York that we know or the New York that existed in the ’60s in our world.

A close up at the skyline in The Fantastic Four poster.
A close-up at the skyline in The Fantastic Four poster. Image source: Marvel Studios

The Fantastic Four plot theories

If you’re a fan of the MCU, you’ve already met a Fantastic Four team member in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. That’s John Krasinski’s Mr. Fantastic, something Feige also referenced in the podcast. That was just a fun tease for Marvel, ahead of the actual The Fantastic Four reboot. Also, the Reed Richards we saw in that movie died a horrible death on the screen.

However, there is a key thing that Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) tells Mr. Fantastic as soon as they’re introduced. Strange, who is obsessed with music, asks Richards cheekily if the Fantastic Four charted in the ’60s.

We never get an answer to that. But that might have been Marvel’s first Easter egg to suggest that The Fantastic Four reboot will be a period film, with some of the action happening in the ’60s.

It’s easy to make that connection now after Feige confirmed this big Fantastic Four plot detail. But if you’re like me and follow all MCU gossip, you’ll remember an insider’s take on the joke from mid-October 2022.

At the time, The Cosmic Circus’ Alex Perez speculated that the action in The Fantastic Four might happen in the 1960s. Other Fantastic Four leaks later that year claimed that Marvel might set the movie in the ’60s without providing additional details. But such an introduction would make sense for the MCU’s Fantastic Four.

Perez wondered whether the Fantastic Four might have existed in the 1960s in the MCU’s main universe. This would allow Marvel to continue exploring the MCU’s past and offer ties between various characters.

For some unknown reason, however, the world would not remember this team of superheroes. Other than Doctor Strange and other music fans who’d think the Fantastic Four were musicians.

There’s already precedent for people forgetting other people entirely in the MCU. It happened with Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in No Way Home. Strange is responsible for that, as he conjured a spell that made everyone in this universe forget the identity of Spider-Man.

You can’t pull off the same trick twice too often. After all, Marvel transplanted Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) from the past to the present before. But Perez speculated that a different, more science-based reason could explain the disappearance of the Fantastic Four from the collective memory. It wouldn’t have to be a different sorcerer’s spell.

John Krasinski as Mister Fantastic in Doctor Strange 2.
John Krasinski as Mister Fantastic in Doctor Strange 2. Image source: Marvel Studios

Back to the posters that Feige addressed, they suggest the Fantastic Four would appear in the past and the future. The multiverse would handle that. And they’d be able to return to their main reality, even if that means coming back home 70 years later.

Remember that The Marvels also showed us that you can disappear from this universe and remain stuck in another with no apparent way to return. But in that case, people still remember Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris).

It’s all leading to Avengers: Secret Wars

Why would they return to their universe at this particular time? Well, they don’t have a choice. The Avengers will need all the help they can get in the upcoming Secret Wars.

Another explanation for the arrival of the Fantastic Four in the MCU could be simpler but not as fun. They could have escaped a dying world and ended up in this reality. After all, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) will soon get to the MCU from a different timeline.

But this theory isn’t as fun. Not to mention that it doesn’t entirely resolve Strange’s Multiverse of Madness joke. A possibility is that the Fantastic Four got lost on the MCU’s 616 Earth in the ’60s, then left home before deciding to return for some reason. That reason could be Strange, incursions, and the imminent Secret Wars.

The reason this Fantastic Four plot theory stuck with me concerns Strange himself. He had just witnessed the dangers of the multiverse and met one of the smartest people alive, Mister Fantastic. That variant died.

But what if that brief encounter actually inspired our Strange to look for a Fantastic Four team on Earth? What if Strange investigates the ’60s as a result and somehow manages to bring the Fantastic Four team back by the end of The Fantastic Four? After all, Strange might need help with incursions and the Fantastics seem like the people to talk to for help.

Thankfully, we don’t have that long to wait. The Fantastic Four is hitting production in late July, about a year ahead of its July 25th, 2025, premiere. Since Feige is so excited about it, the reboot will hopefully be a great MCU story that will answer all our questions in great detail. Until then, I wouldn’t expect any big reveals from Feige & Co., however.

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.