Will Marvel’s The Fantastic Four Get Delayed Again?

    The long-awaited MCU movie is scheduled to debut in July 2025 — but could that change.

    Amid all of the movies and Disney+ shows set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there has been a special kind of hype for The Fantastic Four. The live-action film will finally bring Marvel’s First Family into the franchise, and the promotional material released thus far has hinted at a distinct vision for the team. After years of being in development and enduring countless casting rumors, Marvel Studios currently has The Fantastic Four slated to be released on July 25, 2025. But a new report from The Hollywood Reporter surrounding the upcoming Star Wars movie The Mandalorian & Grogu, which hints at the involvement of Reed Richards / Mister Fantastic actor Pedro Pascal in both projects, could add an interesting wrinkle to that timeline.

    According to the report, The Fantastic Four is expected to begin filming at the end of July 2024, which would be almost exactly a year before the film is scheduled to bow in theaters. This begs the question — could The Fantastic Four eventually get delayed beyond its current July 2025 release date?

    For starters, even as The Fantastic Four has dwelled in development for several years, and even as the costumes for its central four characters are seemingly already designed, it would be quite an undertaking to fit the film’s production, post-production, marketing campaign, and release into a single calendar year. By comparison, Marvel Studios’ fellow 2025 release Thunderbolts* seems to be on track for a 16-month turnaround, from beginning filming in February of 2024 to being released in May of 2025. Even then, Thunderbolts* is expected to almost entirely feature characters without flashy superpowers that require extensive visual effects, while The Fantastic Four will essentially be the polar opposite.

    All four of The Fantastic Four‘s main characters are inherently VFX heavy — Mister Fantastic can stretch his body to great lengths, Sue Storm / Invisible Woman (Vanessa Kirby) can turn invisible and (potentially) also emit bubble-like force fields, Johnny Storm / Human Torch’s (Joseph Quinn) flame powers are already confirmed to have a full-body, Golden Age-inspired design, and Ben Grimm / The Thing (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) will presumably spend most (if not all) of the movie in his bulky rock form. There’s also the VFX required for Galactus (Ralph Ineson), Shalla-Bal / Silver Surfer (Julia Garner), and whatever other villains may appear in the film. Not to mention, the existing marketing material around The Fantastic Four has hinted at an extensive retro-futuristic world, a lot of which will surely have to be crafted digitally. Marvel Studios has already made headlines for cutting corners on VFX on past projects, and even for controversially outsourcing to artificial intelligence on the opening credits to its Secret Invasion miniseries. They can’t afford to rush the visuals of The Fantastic Four — in part because of how important the movie is already proving to be, both for the canon of the MCU and for reigniting interest in the franchise itself. 

    There’s also the nature of the summer blockbuster season surrounding The Fantastic Four — particularly, James Gunn’s Superman movie, which is scheduled to debut two weeks prior on July 11, 2025. The proximity of both films has already courted a lot of chatter online, both from fans who are elated to be getting such high-profile projects in the same year, and from fans who are already preemptively comparing one to another. Delaying The Fantastic Four beyond July 2025 might be worth it simply to let the movie, and its potential ramifications on the MCU as a franchise, stand apart from the tired “Marvel vs. DC” debate.

    There’s also the potential issue of IMAX exclusivity, a topic that has become more prevalent in the blockbuster movie world as of late. July 2023’s “Barbenheimer” phenomenon saw Oppenheimer get a record-breaking exclusive IMAX run over Barbie, with CEO Rich Gelfond confirming at the time that the decision was made because “whichever movie is the first to commit [to the IMAX format] wins.” Marvel Studios already dealt with that exact conundrum with last year’s The Marvels, when Gelfond confirmed that Dune: Part Two, which was set to be released a week prior before getting delayed amid the Hollywood strikes, had already secured a lengthy IMAX exclusivity window. Both Superman and The Fantastic Four are being shot with IMAX-approved cameras, and Superman did publicly secure its July 2025 release date nearly fourteen months prior to The Fantastic Four announcing its own. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Superman may have “committed” to IMAX first, potentially to an exclusivity window beyond the two-week gap it currently holds with The Fantastic Four.

    So, what could a new delay theoretically look like for The Fantastic Four? Maybe it ends up taking the November 7, 2025 release dealt currently held by Marvel’s Blade reboot, which has also undergone multiple iterations of development and behind-the-scenes changes over the years, and does not have a confirmed production start time. Disney CEO Bob Iger did mention on a recent earnings call that Marvel Studios plans to slow down its output to two to three movies a year, and spacing out The Fantastic Four to late 2025 and potentially moving Blade to 2026 could certainly help that cause. Ultimately, hopefully we’ll get an answer as The Fantastic Four‘s reported July 2024 start date grows closer.

    As mentioned above, The Fantastic Four is currently scheduled to be released on July 25, 2025.

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