Rumor Control: The Setting and Plot of ‘The Fantastic Four’

For a film that hasn’t even begun principal photography, Marvel Studios’ The Fantastic Four is certainly generating a lot of hype. Known for typically keeping secrets locked up tightly until big events, the studio has been uncharacteristically forthcoming with information about the film, using social media to drive interest in the project. First, it was a Valentine’s Day reveal of the cast through some stylized concept art, new title and new release date; then, on April 4th, another piece of concept art was shared along with a link to that ultimately landed fans on a page created by the Future Foundation. That page contained links to five Marvel Comics that fans have (probably) rightly concluded have had some level of influence on the plot of the 2025 film. And then, of course, scoopers and leakers have been scooping and leaking and much of what they have had to share lately has led to some interesting discussion at all the usual places. What’s the latest buzz? What’s real and what’s bullshit? Let’s take a look!

Alternate Universe

The most notable rumor making the rounds is that Marvel Studios The Fantastic Four will be set in a universe other than the MCU’s version of the 616. To be totally fair, given what Marvel Studios has provided for fans to look over, no insider access is necessary to come to that conclusion. Both the original cast photo and the new concept art of the Human Torch provide plenty of inferences that the film is set elsewhere in the Multiverse. The Valentine’s Day artwork which was used to announce the cast made it clear that the First Family was active during the 1960s. There’s a lot we don’t know about the past of the MCU but it’s almost impossible to imagine what sort of horrific retcons director Matt Shakman and the film’s team of writers would have had to fabricate in order to explain how nobody in the MCU’s 616 knows who the Fantastic Four are.

While there were still potential arguments to be made (after all, Doctor Strange made everyone forget Peter Parker), the retrofuturistic city in the background of the “Happy 4-4 Day!” poster really erases any doubt that The Fantastic Four will take place in an alternate universe. What’s more interesting though is that the retofuturistic city also sort of implies that Doctor Reed Richards and his Future Foundation have had a profound impact on the Earth they inhabit. Honestly, it’s interesting that the Future Founation exists at all on this new Earth because it implies that Reed has done an admirable job of solving everything which makes one wonder if this Reed Variant is so intelligent that he’s become aware of the Multiverse, has built The Bridge and has met other Reeds.

Whether Reed has knowledge of the Multiverse or not, the audience certainly does. Beginning with Avengers: Endgame and continuing throughout several Multiverse Saga projects (Loki, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, The Marvels and What If…?), Marvel Studios has opened the floodgates to the Multiverse. MoM alone introduced over a dozen new universes. So where is The Fantastic Four set? Definitely not in the 616 and definitely not on Earth-838 because that universe’s Reed wasn’t so smart, as it turns out. As much as fans might want to see the film set in a familiar universe–or at least one that’s been seen on screen before–that really doesn’t make sense from a story telling perspective. Any “known” universe would come with pre-existing limitations, no matter how small (sorry, Binary and Beast universe). To open it up to truly unlimited creativity and potential, the story would simply just have to be set in a universe that has previously not been seen. No muss, no fuss.

Rumor Control: Yes, The Fantastic Four is set in another universe and it is one that has yet to be explored in the MCU.

Franklin Richards and Galactus

One of the more interesting rumors to follow Marvel Studios’ new last week was that Reed and Sue’s son, Franklin, will appear in the film. The rumor suggests that Sue will be pregnant when she’s first seen in the film and that Franklin will be born in space. If Marvel Studios has proven anything, it’s that they aren’t particularly concerned about faithfully adapting stories or characters from the comics; however, Franklin Richards is a singular character even in a world of marvels, so his inclusion is of note.

In the comics, Franklin is a mutant with immeasurable telepathic and telekinetic abilities who also happens to be capable of reshaping reality. Indeed as a young child, Franklin saved Earth’s heroes from Onslaught by creating an entire pocket dimension for them. Following the 2015 event Secret Wars, Franklin restored the Multiverse by creating all-new, all-different realities. Recent events in the comics have stripped Franklin of all his powers but for one day a year, however, thanks to time travel and flashforwards in the comics, some of his future has also been told and those stories may factor into The Fantastic Four.

Relevant to the film’s potential plot, Franklin Richards has a long history with Galactus. When Franklin was just a young boy, The Great Devourer of Worlds already feared his power. By the time he was an adult, Franklin became so powerful that Galactus served as his herald. In the alternate Earth-X universe, Franklin became Galactus. It’s not clear exactly what ties Matt Shakman’s The Fantastic Four will establish between the two characters but some buzz has reached our ears that there will be some connection between Franklin and Galactus in the film.

It’s clear that Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben have been active for quite some time in their universe and that Franklin’s birth takes place after the team is well-established as heroes. That means it’s likely that whatever Galactus is up to, this may not be the first time the team has encountered him.

Rumor Control: Franklin Richards does look to play an integral role in the film, which will establish some connection between the young powerhouse and Galactus.

The Fantastic Four starts production this Summer and is currently scheduled to hit theaters on July 25, 2025.

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