With the looming approach of D23 and the slew of major news that is likely to come from the event, many are anticipating an announcement on who will be directing Marvel Studios’ upcoming Fantastic Four film. Since Jon Watts stepped away from the project this past April, the question of who would helm this project has been ever-present in the cultural zeitgeist. This especially has risen again with the official announcement at San Diego Comic-Con of Fantastic Four kicking off Phase Six of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a November 8, 2024 release date.
Though it seems there may be an answer to this question with rumors gradually circulating that Matt Shakman will be overseeing Marvel’s first family. With this rumor coming to light, the response for the most part has been met with general optimism for what Shakman can bring to the table. Though the case can be taken one step further in that Matt Shakman would be a most fantastic (pun intended) choice to direct this film based alone on his previous experience with WandaVision.
When looking at why Matt Shakman is aptly qualified to helm the Fantastic Four remake for the MCU, the most obvious place to start is the director’s previous experience with Marvel Studios. For starters, bringing in the director of one of their most critically-received Disney+ projects is bound to turn heads in anticipation. On top of it all, Shakman’s work on WandaVision has showcased his ability to cultivate strong family dynamics in a limited time. Themes pertaining to “family” are arguably the most important component when developing a Fantastic Four project, and he’s definitely proven to have a talent for it.
Another notable component of WandaVision is the stylistic vintage pastiche it has to offer. The concept of visually recreating the aesthetics of classic sitcoms from the middle of the 20th century appealed greatly to make the series stand out during its run on Disney+. Considering there has been a contingent of fans that have long desired for Fantastic Four to be a period piece set in the 1960s to pair with the comic origins of the characters, it’s the perfect match.
Whether or not Marvel Studios would move forward with that creative direction is one thing, but it’s possible that Shakman’s directorial vision from the previous Disney+ series could help influence some type of 1960s vibe to help make Fantastic Four standout within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The other element that WandaVision also uses is its cosmic undertones, which the series maintained with the character arc of Monica Rambeau. One of the more surprising parts coming out of the series was how it leaned slightly more towards the concepts of science fiction in relation to Wanda’s supernatural abilities. Between the introduction of SWORD and the inclusion of Skrulls, WandaVision also has played an arguably equal part in setting up the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with that of the mystical and multiversal.
With that in mind, it’s not a reach to think that Marvel Studios would at least consider Matt Shakman thanks to his experience with this corner of the universe. Given the X-Files-esque mystery elements of figuring out the science fiction phenomenon of the Hex, it would not be surprising if this type of intrigue is what Kevin Feige and his team would want from the cosmic exploration that is synonymous with the comic versions of the Fantastic Four. Even the way Monica gains her abilities stood out in a way that could inspire the way the Fantastic Four become Marvel’s first family.
Ultimately if these rumors end up becoming true, fans of the Fantastic Four should be excited about the prospects of Matt Shakman as director. If his merits from WandaVision were strong enough to land him a position directing the next theatrical Star Trek film, then he is certainly qualified to step up and oversee one of Marvel Studios’ most important properties of the future.