How Mr. Fantastic May Take Iron Man’s Place in the MCU

Ever since the Fox/Disney merger — and Disney’s subsequent acquisition of the X-Men and Fantastic Four — fans have been theorizing how such heroes would enter the cinematic universe. Who will take on the likes of Reed Richards, Hugh Jackman’s iconic Wolverine, Sue Storm, Professor X, and so on?

While rumor has it that John Krasinksi and Will Smith are being eyed to play Mr. Fantastic, casting is only one vital part of the picture. Arguably, more important is the function each character will come to serve in the ever-evolving landscape. And, recent reports indicate that Mr. Fantastic may have some mighty big shoes to fill. 

Fantastic Four
Fantastic Four | Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Similar to Tony Stark, Reed Richards is an educated scientist with a need to discover. However, he is arguably a bit less egotistical than Stark, depending on the material you cite, as he was slightly cocksure in 2005’s Fantastic Four film. However, putting their overlapping interests aside, Reed Richards is reportedly set to fill Iron Man’s shoes in one very important way. If executed properly, it could be genius. If done poorly, the fanbase will likely erupt in outrage. 

Will Mr. Fantastic become Spider-Man’s new mentor in the ‘Fantastic Four’ movie? 

According to Marvel leaker, Mikey Sutton — who took to his invite-only Facebook page “Geekosity: All Things Pop Culture” to share a little bit of information — Marvel is planning to have Spider-Man appear in the Fantastic Four film.

Likely set to premiere sometime in Phase 5, the Fantastic Four will be one of the most highly-anticipated superhero films of whatever year it hits the silver screen; however, an existing hero will likely serve as a thread connecting the newbies to the rest of the cinematic universe. That thread: Spider-Man. 

Sutton goes on to note that Spider-Man will appear in the Fantastic Four movies as a mentee to Reed Richards. Is Reed Richards up to the challenge; how will fans feel about Parker taking on a new scientific mentor? Tony Stark is an icon, a legend, a father to Parker, and we can go on all day.

If it’s all true, and Spider-Man discovers a new mentor in Reed Richards, how will those scripting the connection keep Tony’s legacy intact, retain the sacred legacy, and avoid overwriting the father-son dynamic between the two? 

What kind of relationship will Reed Richards and Peter Parker have? 

Tony Stark and Peter Parker had an emotionally stirring father-son dynamic — one that was an integral piece of Stark’s internal journey. To avoid an emotional conundrum, in which a grieving Parker seeks to replace Tony — as such an arc may feel forced years from now — Reed Richard and Parker will likely have a purely academic bond.

If Reed Richards serves as the wiser, more educated uncle-type, he could teach Parker things that a “cool” teacher would, without fully stepping into Tony Stark’s shoes (in terms of the familial bond). Given that Parker will be much older, it would make sense that the two were more like friends, as opposed to father and son. 

While there are many ways to forge separation between Stark and Richards, Feige and his team will have to tread lightly here. Stark is the MCU’s face (no matter how long he is gone for) and, if fans feel someone is trying to take his place in any way, shape, or form, it might not go over well.