Marvel's Fantastic Four Movie Gets An Avatar 2 Writer, So Prepare For MCU Space Whales

Out with the old, in with the new. That's the case with Marvel's long-awaited "Fantastic Four" movie reboot, as the project has added a new writer — and that new writer is Josh Friedman. This update comes from the folks at The Hollywood Reporter, who bring word that the "Avatar: The Way of Water" writer has boarded the project, which is due to be directed by Matt Shakman ("WandaVision"). Whether or not this change is for the better or for the worse is almost impossible to say at the moment, but it does indicate Marvel Studios is headed in a different direction than previously planned.

Prior to the hiring of Friedman, duo Jeff Kaplan and Ian Springer had been tapped to reboot Marvel's first family for the big screen. Kaplan and Springer lean more into the comedic side of things, with upcoming projects such as "Disaster Wedding" and "K-Pop: Lost in America" on their resumes. Very little has been said by way of specifics in regards to how Marvel and Shakman intend to approach the film, so it's tough to say why the change was made. That said, much has been going on that suggests it might be time for a new approach to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, broadly speaking.

With "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" disappointing critically and commercially following a big opening weekend, questions have been raised about the future. Does Disney need to pivot with the MCU? Are changes needed? What we know for sure is that fewer MCU shows will be released on Disney+, and other movies such as "Thunderbolts" have gotten new writers recently. Maybe it's a sign things are quietly being addressed behind the scenes.

Leaning into the hot hand

As for Josh Friedman, it makes a lot of sense that Disney and Marvel Studios would turn to someone like him for such an important project. He has a story by credit on "Avatar: The Way of Water," which now ranks as one of the three highest-grossing films of all-time, right alongside "Avengers: Endgame" and the original "Avatar." He's also no stranger to blockbusters, having written Steven Spielberg's "War of the World" as well as "Terminator: Dark Fate." He also created the "Snowpiercer" TV show and "Foundation" for Apple TV+.

This to say, Friedman is a writer with a lot of experience, whereas Jeff Kaplan and Ian Springer are closer to newcomers. Not only that, but Friedman is coming off of one of the biggest hits in history, which also happened to be released by Disney. As such, it's no surprise to see them leaning into the hot hand right now. Does that mean Reed Richards and the gang will be encountering some space whales? Time will tell ... but probably not. 

Earlier this year, Matt Shakman revealed filming on "Fantastic Four" is expected to begin in early 2024. Although there haven't been any casting announcements yet, it is not believed John Krasinski will be playing Mr. Fantastic in the movie, despite his brief appearance as an alternate universe version of the character in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

"Fantastic Four" is currently set to hit theaters on February 14, 2025.