Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The moment Marvel fans have waited years for finally arrived in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. At long last, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has expanded to include superheroes from the Fantastic Four and X-Men franchises, even if it was only for a relatively brief cameo. Still, the significance of that Illuminati scene is not lost on superfans, and now the fandom is flooded with theories about the Fantastic Four and X-Men joining the MCU after Doctor Strange 2.
The long-awaited scene came in the middle of the movie, when a captured Doctor Strange stands trial before Earth-838's Illuminati. The all-powerful group is comprised of Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell), Maria Rambeau’s version of Captain Marvel (Lashana Lynch), Black Bolt (Anson Mount), and the two big ones: Mr. Fantastic (John Krasinski) and Professor X (Patrick Stewart). Previously, Disney’s MCU was unable to include any Fantastic Four or X-Men characters, since 21st Century Fox owned the rights to those characters, but when Disney’s acquisition of the studio was completed in 2019, Marvel got the green light to complete the comic-book universe.
Although Mr. Fantastic and Professor X (along with the rest of the Illuminati) were quickly disposed of by the Scarlet Witch, that was only their Earth-838 forms. The core Marvel universe is Earth-616, where it’s very likely both heroes are still alive and can pop up in future Marvel movies. And since a Fantastic Four movie is currently in development, it’s a given that Mr. Fantastic will be back. But the question is: Will Krasinski still be the one to play him? And what about all the other characters?
Let’s break down all the big theories.
1. John Krasinski will be back as Mr. Fantastic.
Although the upcoming Fantastic Four movie has yet to announce a cast, it feels very safe to assume it will be helmed by Krasinski following his Multiverse of Madness cameo. Krasinski had been widely fan-cast as Reed Richards for years before his Marvel appearance, even sparking rumors he’d debut as the stretchy genius in WandaVision. Marvel clearly listened to the fans, and there doesn’t seem to be any reason for the studio to replace such a fan-favorite moving forward.
2. Emily Blunt will play the Invisible Woman.
Casting Krasinski as Mr. Fantastic showed Marvel paid attention to the fans’ casting ideas, which could very well mean the studio will bring in the other prominent Fantastic Four fan-cast to play Sue Storm. For as long as Krasinski has been rumored to play Mr. Fantastic, his wife Emily Blunt has been floated to play the Invisible Woman. Obviously, the actors’ IRL marriage is at the core of this casting rumor, but comic-book fans also genuinely think Blunt would nail the part, especially since she’s been open about having to regretfully pass on Marvel roles in the past due to contractual commitments.
3. Zac Efron will play the Human Torch.
With Reed Richards and Sue Storm’s casting seeming like a sure bet, probably the biggest question concerning Marvel’s Fantastic Four is Johnny Storm. This fan-casting is all over the place, but there’s still a clear frontrunner: Zac Efron. Popular artists have been imagining Efron in the role for years, and notably, he publicly stated that he’d “jump at the opportunity” to sign on to a Marvel movie right before Multiverse of Madness premiered. Are you listening, Marvel? Because your Human Torch is ready to go.
4. A new X-Men movie is coming.
Fans already know a Fantastic Four movie is on its way, but Marvel has not yet announced any plans concerning the X-Men. But Professor X’s appearance in Multiverse of Madness is a pretty good indication that the mutants will step into the spotlight once again with a brand new series of Marvel movies.
5. Marvel will cast a whole new generation of X-Men.
Patrick Stewart may have returned as Professor X for Multiverse of Madness, but it doesn’t seem likely that Marvel will bring back any other stars from Fox’s X-Men movies. The original trilogy is from the early 2000s, and Hugh Jackman specifically has stated he’s not open to playing Wolverine again. As with the Fantastic Four, Marvel may use the X-Men as an opportunity to bring in its own new group of actors to play the iconic heroes. There are already some rumors that Daniel Radcliffe could be the new Wolverine.
6. The X-Men prequel films cast will join the MCU.
While there’s a good chance Marvel could bring in a band-new cast for the X-Men, there’s also a possibility the studio could just use the younger cast of mutants from the more recent prequel films, which were released throughout the 2010s. After all, Marvel already cast Evan Peters to play a warped version of Quicksilver in WandaVision years after he played that same part in Fox’s X-Men movies. Those prequel films are full of A-list actors who haven’t been in Marvel yet, like Jennifer Lawrence, Sophie Turner, and Nicholas Hoult — this could be the perfect opportunity to bring them in to reprise their superhero roles.