Marvel's Female Silver Surfer Casting Announcement Gets Mixed Reactions from Fans

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Silver Surfer, Julia Garner

Marvel Studios' female Silver Surfer actor was recently cast for The Fantastic Four, and reactions have been mixed from fans.

As production prepares to get underway on The Fantastic Four over the summer, Deadline exclusively revealed Julia Garner had boarded the 2025 blockbuster as Shalla-Bal, a version of the Herald of Galactus himself, Silver Silver.

The most famous Silver Surfer in Marvel Comics is Norrid Radd, a male character whose lover is Shalla-Bal. She was ultimately separated from him as he took up his duties serving Galactus' world-eating shenanigans.

Fans React to the MCU's Silver Surfer Casting

As Silver Surfer is typically portrayed as a male character, the gender-bend casting of Julia Garner as the Herald of Galactus has earned mixed reactions from fans.

Julia Garner
Julia Garner

Speaking on X (formerly Twitter), @BislyBrolin went as far as to say "They've destroyed this beautiful movie" in casting the female Silver Surfer:

"Naah!! they've destroyed this beautiful movie"

@MillieBeats called the gender swap for Silver Surfer an "unnecessary change" to the Herald of Galactus. Playing along the same lines, @papyfaye1 denounced Garner's casting as "the most terrible Marvel news ever."

Fans of the Silver Surfer such as @snucums56 noted how the casting "isn't going to work for [him]" as they "didn't want a different version" of the character: 

"I like her as an actress, but this just isn't going to work for me. I'm actually a bigger Silver Surfer fan than an F4 fan and didn't want a different version of him. I pass."

Some comic loyalists have stood by Garner's casting, with @OHMYDIAZ calling out how those criticizing it do "not know the source material:"

"there's a female silver surfer in the comics literally this post has her. People will call this woke and not know the source material"

@carlost454 especially praised Garner as having "serious style" and showed excitement to see her "ride the cosmic waves:"

"Finally, a Surfer with some serious style! Can't wait to see Julia Garner ride the cosmic waves in 'FANTASTIC FOUR'!"

Praising Garner's talent, @DroThaSoundGod addressed her performance in Ozark and how she "has the attitude and charisma" for Silver Surfer:

"If you watched 'Ozark,' she definitely has the attitude and charisma for the character. Will be interesting to see how this plays out."

On a similar note, @OldGuyDavid2022 pointed out how there should be no objection unless you "don't like the choice of actress:"

"What’s the deal? There was a female Silver Surfer in the comics. This should be a no issue unless you don’t like the choice of actress to portray the female Silver Surfer."

While fans such as @ochethaking were more neutral on the casting, they did "question it being the first choice" for the MCU's Silver Surfer:

"It’s sad the first thing I think reading this is 'wow I bet people are screaming about this.' Not mad. I question it being the first choice, but it’s not something that will deter me from watching it."

Why Marvel Gender-Swapped Silver Surfer (Theory)

Silver Surfer MCU Avengers Fantastic Four

The signing of Garner notably does not mark a gender swap as she will not be portraying Norrin Radd but rather a completely different character in Shalla-Bal. It's unclear whether Radd is also expected to make his way into The Fantastic Four's cast or if he will be skipped over altogether.

One popular theory surrounding The Fantastic Four has the MCU flick taking place in an alternate universe outside of Earth-616, with Marvel's First Family ultimately making their way to the franchise's main timeline by the time the credits roll.

If this is the case, Marvel Studios may have opted to include Shalla-Bal in place of Norrin Radd to reserve the more iconic Silver Surfer for the future when the time is right to introduce the Herald of Galactus in the main timeline.

There were once rumors Marvel Studios was eyeing a Special Presentation starring the Silver Surfer that supposedly "MUST release" before The Fantastic Four. It's unclear whether that project is still on the cards or if that was abandoned as part of behind-the-scenes changes at the superhero studio.

But if the studio is looking to have Garner to portray the MCU's main Silver Surfer then the decision is certainly a strange one. After all, Norrin Radd is a beloved Marvel character who has been absent from the live-action scene since 2007's Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

The casting controversy comes at a time when some online have criticized the MCU for its recent focus on female characters, dubbing it the "M-she-U."

On top of that, the castings for The Fantastic Four have proven controversial already, with Pedro Pascal's casting as Reed Richards notably being a divisive decision as many have been uncertain he fits the stretchy genius.

The Fantastic Four hits theaters on July 25, 2025.

- In This Article: The Fantastic Four
Release Date
July 25, 2025
- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.