Over two years ago, fans were abuzz when they heard that actor John Krasinski, most known for The Office and A Quiet Place, had a meeting with Marvel Studios for a potential role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The immediate assumption made by many was that he was being cast in the role of Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four.
But, fans were finally given what they wanted when John Krasinski appeared as Reed Richards in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Krasinski even gave a coy tip of that hat to fans who were excited to see him in the Doctor Strange sequel.
Krasinski's casting has been a long time coming, which wasn't helped by Marvel occasionally fanning those flames in the comics. However, even before that meeting with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, the MCU faithful have been clamoring for Krasinski to be cast since at least 2016.
Missing Out on Captain America and Fan Casts Begin
Way back in 2016, it became more widely known through an interview with Conan O'Brien on his talk show that John Krasinski had auditioned for the role of Steve Rogers, which he lost to Chris Evans. According to Krasinski, after he was suited up for his screen test as Captain America and ran into Chris Hemsworth and noticed his fantastic physique as Thor, "I went, 'I'm good. This is stupid. I shouldn't.' That's OK, I'm not Captain America. It's fine."
However, fans reacted to this news by speculating on what role he could play instead, despite failing to enter the MCU. In some circles online, many wished for him to assume a role similar to the one he had in The Office, while others even pushed for him to take the role of the Inhuman king, Black Bolt.
But, one fan cast stood out above the rest, which was, of course, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four.
The Fan Art That Got the Ball Rolling
Fan demand for John Krasinski didn't truly spark into an inferno until the day one particular piece of fan art began to make its way around the internet quickly. On January 11, 2018, a user named lmfao616 posted a piece of fan art on Reddit depicting Krasinski as Reed Richards in a variation of his classic blue suit.
When asked to verify if he had made it, and that it wasn't just a repost, the user confirmed that it was his creation, saying he had "photoshopped it as a fan of The Office" and that "I’m glad it aged well."
The day after it was posted on Reddit, one Twitter user, Hank Campbell, made a (now deleted) tweet using this same piece of fan art, praising Krasinski as an actor and wishing he'd play Reed Richards.
"I own the first 300 issues of Fantastic Four but only bought them in runs after that (like Walt Simonson&Jon Hickman) and in decades I have never been happy with any FF casting except Chris Evans as Human Torch. "But after 13 Hours, I know @johnkrasinski would nail it as Reed."
Of course, Krasinski noticed and retweeted Campbell's praise, commenting, "Wait... how did you get this picture??? Only my wife knows what I wear to bed!"
Every time Krasinski was fan cast as Mr. Fantastic online, there was no doubt that this piece of fan art wouldn't be far behind being posted. Its influence didn't stop there either, as even some Marvel artists began to jump on the bandwagon of depicting Krasinski as Reed.
John's Interest and Influence on Marvel Comics
Following the explosion of fan demand for him to be Mr. Fantastic, John Krasinski was finally asked point-blank if he would like to play the role of Reed Richards, with the actor responding positively, "I would love that!" However, a month after this interview, Marvel artist Russell Dauterman decided to have some fun and drew Richards strikingly similar to Krasinski in one issue.
That brings us back to the comic page that has had fans buzzing since 2019. When issue #3 of "War of the Realms," a one-page spread, showed the Fantastic Four fighting off Ice Giants, fans immediately noticed the similarity between Mr. Fantastic and John Krasinski.
After this issue was released, it had only been one year since that infamous piece of fan art made its way around the internet. Also, just one month after the actor's interview, it's not surprising that at least one Marvel artist would sneak in depicting the head of Future Foundation as John Krasinski.
The giveaway is the nose and ears, which make this illustration of Richards look unmistakably like Krasinski. But, it should be noted again that it is only for this one-page spread. The character isn't typically depicted like this again, but it has undoubtedly helped fuel wishes for the actor to take the role.
Of course, Krasinski would eventually grant those wishes by finally playing the role in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, albeit an alternate universe version of the character that Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff almost immediately and brutally kills. So, at the moment, it's mostly still a question of whether his appearance was merely to satiate those fans or if it meant Krasinski could be playing the main Mr. Fantastic of Earth-616 soon.
Regardless, it's been a long six years, but Krasinski finally made it into the MCU, but now it's just a matter of him sticking around.