Jon Watts Is No Longer Directing Fantastic Four For Marvel

In a bombshell shake-up for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the "Fantastic Four" movie reboot is now in need of new a director. When the project was originally announced in December 2020 by Disney and Marvel Studios, it was revealed at the time that Jon Watts, who has directed all three of Tom Holland's "Spider-Man" films, including last year's record-breaking "No Way Home," was set to helm the reboot. Now Watts has departed the director's chair.

According to Deadline, there is no bad blood between either side of the aisle, it's just that Watts reportedly needs a break from the big superhero world after going back-to-back-to-back on them over the last few years. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and co-president Louis D'Esposito had this to say in a joint statement:

"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.

Watts, for his part, had this to say:

"Making three Spider-Man films was an incredible and life changing experience for me. 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."

For what it's worth, Watts has a new movie lined up with George Clooney and Brad Pitt at Apple. Not only that but, following the success of "Spider-Man: No Way Home," he can probably do just about anything he wants.

What happens now?

There is no word yet on who might be in line to take over for Watts at the helm of "Fantastic Four." What we know for sure is that this movie has been in the works for a couple of years, and it is likely a priority for Disney and Marvel Studios. The characters have never had their potential maximized on the big screen and 2015's "Fantastic Four" was an utter disaster both critically and commerically. This represents a huge opportunity for the MCU, and Watts seemed like a great fit.

The search will undoubtedly get underway for a replacement sooner rather than later, if one hasn't begun already. Of note: Peyton Reed, who directed all three "Ant-Man" movies, including the upcoming "Quantumania," wanted to make a "Fantastic Four" movie at one point. Perhaps he might like the chance to do so now that his commitments with Scott Lang and Hank Pym will be over as of next year. Just a thought.

As for Watts, it isn't clear if the intention is to have him return for the inevitable "Spider-Man 4," but Sony will almost certainly do just about anything they can to get him back in the saddle with Tom Holland for another adventure, if they can.

"Fantastic Four" does not currently have a release date set.