One consistent part of the Marvel rumor mill in the past months is centered around the Fantastic Four. Several different actors were rumored to be in consideration for the role of Reed Richards, such as Adam Driver (Star Wars' sequel trilogy), Diego Luna (Andor), and Penn Badgley (You).
However, most of these actors played coy about the matter, with Fantastic Four director Matt Shakman even pointing out that "all the casting stuff you see" is pure rumor and speculation as he and Marvel Studios "have nothing to announce right now."
Penn Badgley Addresses Marvel Casting Rumors
Speaking in an interview with Josh Horowitz, You actor Penn Badgley talked about joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe while also addressing the rumor that he might play Reed Richards in the franchise's Fantastic Four reboot.
When Horowitz told Penn to imagine himself stepping into a superhero costume, Badgley admitted that he doesn't know anything about it.
When asked if he ever met Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, Badgley still played coy about the matter:
Horowitz: “Look, you think you’re a celebrity now, Penn. Imagine, just for a second, you stepping into a superhero costume, as many have fan-casted.”
Badgley: “Well… No, I can’t reveal that. Neither confirm nor deny. No, I don’t know what to say about that.”
Horowitz: “Have you ever met Kevin Feige, Penn Badgley?”
Badgley: “No. You know, it’s possible that I have, but not in this context. I might have met him years ago and I wouldn’t, you know, I’m not sure.”
Badgley is one of the actors rumored to portray the MCU's Reed Richards.
Horowitz then asked Badgley directly if that prospect is "intriguing" to him, to which the Gossip Girl actor simply said that "there's not always fire" when there's smoke.
Badgley then pointed out that Feige is the only one that lights that fire, before ending his statement by saying that he is "clearly" not in a Marvel movie:
Horowitz: “Okay, okay, is there any smoke to this fire of this Fantastic Four rumors of Reed Richards? Is that intriguing to you? What can you say?”
Badgley: “You know, where there’s smoke, there’s not always fire. It actually takes a lot to get from smoke to fire. I’ll say that. It takes a lot.”
Horowitz: “So should I feed the fire? Do we want to? Penn, do you want my help in feeding the fire? Or are you good?”
Badgley: “That’s not how this fire gets lit. this fire gets lit by Kevin– I don’t even know how to pronounce his name.”
Horowitz: “It’s Feige, that’s the person–”
Badgley: “–Feige. Feige… So I’m clearly not gonna– I’m clearly not in a Marvel movie.”
Badgley also said that Fantastic Four comics were "never" on his radar, using Spawn, and a "bit" of Spider-Man and Wolverine as the only ones that he read.
Still, Badgley shared that he has an open mind to at least join the comic book world:
Horowitz: “Are you a comic book guy? Like did you read Fantastic Four? Did you know–”
Badgley: “No, no, the only comic books I did read were Spawn and a bit of Spider-Man. I did love Spider-Man. And then a bit of Wolverine. So yeah, so Fantastic Four was never on my radar.”
Horowitz: “Okay, so an open mind at least to this kind of world?”
Badgley: “Yeah, yeah, yeah for the time being.”
Will Penn Badgley Join the MCU?
Penn Badgley's latest comments indicate that he's ready to join the MCU, but it is still unknown if he will portray the Fantastic Four's Reed Richards.
Badgley's popularity skyrocketed after his impressive portrayal of Joe Goldberg in Netflix's You, so it's not hard to see why he could be on Marvel Studios' radar for the leading role in Fantastic Four. This is on top of the fact that the actor closely resembles Reed Richards' classic comic design.
Still, based on his remarks, it's either he's not enthusiastic about playing the Fantastic Four leader now, or he's keeping the cards very close to his chest.
If Badgley doesn't end up playing the MCU's Reed, there are still other characters that the talented actor could portray. For now, it looks like the Netflix lead star is focused on You Season 4.
Fantastic Four arrives in theaters on February 14, 2025.