Director of the hugely successful Spider-man Homecoming trilogy Jon Watts is exiting Marvel’s as of yet untitled Fantastic Four project. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige announced in a statement, “Collaborating with Jon on Spider-Man films has been a true pleasure. We were looking forward to continuing our work with him to bring the Fantastic Four into the MCU but understand and are supportive of his reasons for stepping away. We are optimistic that we will have the opportunity to work together again at some point down the road.” It was Feige himself who announced back in December of 2020 that Watts would helm this new project.
The Fantastic Four, created by the visionary Marvel duo Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, enjoyed mild cinematic success in the 2000s when 20th Century got hold of the IP rights. Two films were released, in 2005 and 2007, with Chris Evans as the Human Torch, Jessica Alba as Invisible Girl, Ioan Gruffudd as Mr. Fantastic, and Michael Chiklis as The Thing. An F4 reboot came out in 2015, this time around with Michael B. Jordan as the daring Human Torch, Kate Mara as the resourceful Susan Storm, Miles Teller as the genius Reed Richards, and Jamie Bell as the grumpy but lovable Ben Grimm. The reboot was met with wildly negative reviews by both fans and critics, with a Rotten Tomato score of 18%, one of the worst scores by any superhero movie ever. Instead of reinvigorating the franchise, the film seemed to have put the final nail in the coffin.
That being said, Marvel Studios is getting ready for phase 4 and eventually phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kevin Feige and Louis D’Esposito are actively looking to expand the world of Marvel with new characters, new faces, and new adventures to keep audiences wanting for more. Though it is unclear why director Jon Watts quit the Fantastic Four project, we do know for sure that it won’t stop Disney / Marvel Studios from making a third reboot that will include the New York family of superheroes in the MCU.