MCU fans have had more than their fair share of incredible character introductions thanks to the use of the Multiverse in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Included in that group was John Krasinski's thrilling appearance as Reed Richards, finally bringing the MCU its first taste of the Fantastic Four ahead of their planned solo movie.
Krasinski had been one of the most popular choices in fan-casting for the role of Mr. Fantastic, and he'd been a part of rumors surrounding the MCU dating back as far as three years. Finally donning the blue suit and utilizing Reed Richards' universe-class intelligence and stretchy powers, the former star of The Office was as big of a surprise as anybody with the MCU's first take on the Illuminati.
Now that Doctor Strange 2 fully brought Krasinski into the spotlight as the MCU's first version of Mr. Fantastic, the big mystery is whether he'll get to play the Earth-616 version in the upcoming Fantastic Four film. This latest movie's director recently offered a comment about the situation in the newly-released audio commentary, but it has MCU fans thinking about the future quite differently.
Sam Raimi on John Krasinski's MCU Future
In the audio commentary for Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, director Sam Raimi commented on John Krasinski's casting as Reed Richards.
Raimi noted how so many fans had imagined Krasinski in the role, mentioning that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige wanted to give them their dream casting for that role:
“It’s so funny that Kevin [Feige] cast John [Krasinski] because the fans had a dream of who the perfect Reed Richards would be. And because this is an alternate universe, I think Kevin said, ‘Let’s make that dream come true.’ I’ve always really enjoyed all of his performances.’”
Raimi's specific wording left some fans concerned that Krasinski was only cast because his role was in "an alternate universe" to fulfill fans' dreams, worried that such a decision implies that the actor might not return to play Earth-616's Richards.
On Twitter, @BeikerJosh referenced how Raimi put this casting in Doctor Strange 2 "since the fans wanted it," but then only utilized the character for a few minutes on screen:
"Sam Raimi said he put John Krasinski’s Reed Richards into Multiverse of Madness since the fans wanted it? Yet he literally took the thing we’ve been asking for and killed it with only five minutes of screen time if that. XD"
@NoSwearingHere7 called the move "complete fan service" and doubts that Marvel will actually use Krasinski as the MCU's core Reed Richards:
"Yeah, this was complete fan service. They won't actually cast Krasinski for the actual role"
The Ronin's Christopher Marc seemed to feel that Raimi's decision was only to make fans happy by putting Krasinski in the role through the Multiverse:
"Sam Raimi seemed to indicate that John Krasinski's Reed Richards casting was likely just a Multiverse thing to make fans demanding him in the role happy, Feige seemingly said as much. Would give impression he's unlikely showing up in the reboot."
@happydragondave actually admitted that he's content if Krasinski doesn't end up playing the MCU's Mr. Fantastic, calling the move "a cool one-off:"
"As surreal as it was to see years worth of fan casting and fan-made Photoshop images (beard and all) be brought to life, I'd honestly be okay if Krasinski was not the MCU's official Reed Richards. It was a cool one-off but there are other choices out there."
@nick081497 enjoyed seeing Raimi and Feige utilize Krasinski in the movie, but hopes that Krasinski doesn't continue as the main version of the character:
"This was absolutely a nod to the fans and I love that Raimi and Feige did that but I honestly hope Krasinski isn't the permanent cast for Reed"
@blvckcement took the other side of the argument, saying that it would be "needlessly confusing" for fans to have the actor switched out after only one appearance:
"I still think Krasinski will be 616 Reed bc introducing fans to a well known actor then swapping him out for someone else is needlessly confusing for casuals."
@BattinsonMarvel replied to a thread on The Direct's Twitter page, mentioning how the general audience that doesn't know about the fancast angle might get confused as well:
"Look, you’re right this could just be for the fans but what about the general audience who don’t know about the fancast? They were like 'oh John Krasinski is playing Mr. Fantastic? Cool.' And then they recast him?"
@MatthewBass already sees fans getting upset if and when Kevin Feige announces the cast of Fantastic Four and doesn't include Krasinski as Reed:
"I can't wait for people to get pissed when Kevin Feige announces the cast of 'Fantastic Four' at SDCC or D23 Expo and 616 Reed Richards is not gonna be played by John Krasinski."
Krasinski's MCU Future In Limbo?
As the Illuminati began to reveal itself in Doctor Strange 2, John Krasinski instantly brought the presence and gravitas of a Reed Richards who had a certain expertise regarding the Multiverse. He was able to bring a feel to the role that fans had been hoping to see within the MCU, and no matter how the character turns out later, Krasinski's version became a hit.
Even with that success, there is still an enormous amount of work to do to bring Fantastic Four to the big screen within the MCU, especially after losing director Jon Watts. Not only does the long-awaited solo film not have its core cast of characters, but it also hasn't had an official release since it was first announced in December 2020.
Marvel Studios still seems to be in the early stages of making any kind of casting decisions for Fantastic Four, although San Diego Comic-Con and D23 2022 could both be great places to share more news on this upcoming film. Fans will watch for news from those events regardless, if just to see what happens on the John Krasinski front as well.