Marvel Studios has a certain way of doing things. And their techniques sometimes work flawlessly (Avengers: Infinity War), but in other instances, the reaction to their output wasn’t what they were expecting (Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania)
Now, with VFX houses in revolt, a creative overhaul of its TV division, and a multitude of strike-imposed delays, it would seem that Marvel has a lot more issues on their plate to deal with than usual. Matt Shakman, however, is keeping his head held high.
Matt Shakman on Recent Marvel Difficulties
WandaVision helmer Matt Shakman, who will also direct Marvel Studios’ Fantastic Four reboot touched upon the recent internal turmoil at the House of Ideas during an interview with The Discourse Podcast (via The Playlist).
When asked if these troubles would have an impact on the upcoming Fantastic Four, Shakman denied any such notions:
“It hasn’t. I mean, we’ve been on our process consistently. I’ve been on the project for a little over a year and working away hard at it the way we’d work on any film at Marvel, and certainly, the way we worked on ‘WandaVision…’
The director went on to explain the thought process that goes into a project at Marvel, noting how important questions like “Why are we telling this story?” really are:
“What is the story we want to tell? What is the theme of the story? Why are we telling this story? And just developing then the best possible version of that story, and how do we want to bring these characters to life? So, you know, in terms of outside influence or conversations, it hasn’t really been a factor. It’s always high stakes. You always have to get it right.”
Shakman additionally confirmed that the Fantastic Four movie won’t just take one of the team’s many comic book runs and just copy it wholesale for the big screen. No, instead, the film will set out to convey a story that “feels true to us as people:”
“The idea that I’ve loved so much about Marvel is that we’re not just going to take a run that exists and translate it to film. We’re going to do what every great run has done, which is stand on the shoulders of what came before, but then think about how we as artists living in this moment, processing what we’re all processing, what story do we want to tell right now that feels true to us as people? And that is informed, though, by everything that’s come before.”
He also stated that he’s kept acclaimed comic writer Matt Fraction apprised of what he’s been doing in the pre-production phase of FF. Fraction is best known for his fan-favorite work on the Hawkeye book, but he’s written for Fantastic Four in the past as well. Shakman praised him as “a brilliant guy:”
“Yeah, I can absolutely talk to Matt about it,” he continued. “Yeah, he’s great. He’s brilliant. And, you know, he’s a big part of the Marvel family over there in terms of Hawkeye, for sure, as well as, you know, he’s worked on several of the films too. I think he worked on Thor. And yeah, he’s a brilliant guy.”
Will Shakman’s Fantastic Four Be Worth the Wait?
The MCU‘s Fantastic Four film has had a road to development that’s longer than one of Reed Richard’s outstretched arms. But Marvelites everywhere can rest easy, as the movie will finally kick off production in the Spring of 2024 (pending the resolution of the SAG-AFTRA strike, of course).
What’s more, many of the main characters reportedly already have actors locked in to play them and the announcment is simply waiting on, again, the strike to be over.
And while the movie could take place in the 1960s or the modern day, the idea that Marvel’s First Family will, at long last, occupy the same fictional space as heroes like Anthony Mackie’s Captain America and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange is surely enough to get fans’ hype levels up into the stratosphere.
So, it’s encouraging that Matt Shakman seems to be putting in the proper amount of TLC to make Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben’s first MCU adventure the absolute best it can be.
Marvel Studios’ Fantastic Four hits theaters on May 2, 2025.