Zac Efron in the MCU? The Fantastic Four Member He Could Easily Play

Marvel fans are not so patiently waiting for the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the Fantastic Four, first, because they not so patiently await anything by Marvel. However, they’re particularly eager to see the MCU “fix” the franchise. 

Fox released two Fantastic Four movies in the 2000s, and they did solid if unspectacular business. Then there was the 2015 reboot many people would rather forget. Fans generally think Kevin Feige and company can do a lot better, and the fans turn to, of all places, High School Musical for inspiration. 

Zac Efron smiling in front of a white background
Zac Efron | Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Netflix

Who has played the Human Torch before?

Although Spider-Man is literally the face of Marvel, he was actually not the comic book company’s first major success. That distinction belonged to the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm. After being bombarded by cosmic rays, they became Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Girl (later Woman), the Human Torch, and The Thing. 

As seminal as the quartet was to the comics, they didn’t fare so well with the movies. Even before the Fox movies, there was a legendarily terrible 1994 movie that was never officially released, with shoddy production values. It looked like it cost about $500. The Human Torch in that movie was Jay Underwood.

When Fox made their movies in 2005 and 2007, Chris Evans took the role of Johnny Storm, and his performances were singled out for praise in otherwise mezzo-mezzo movies. After that franchise fizzled out, Fox tried again with a reboot, this time with the future Killmonger, Michael B. Jordan  as the fiery one, but that misbegotten movie did not do anyone any favors except for creators of bad movie websites and podcasts. 

Why do fans suggest Zac Efron?

RELATED: Jessica Alba Nearly Quit Acting After Filming Marvel’s ‘Fantastic Four’

One might not think there would be a lot of crossover between High School Musical fans and Marvel fans, but after all, both are by Disney. So there’s enough crossover that fans on Reddit suggest that the series’ male lead, Zac Efron, might make a good Human Torch, although not everyone embraced the idea. The topic-starter wrote: 

“Setting aside the (Emily) Blunt and (John) Krasinski circle-jerk for a moment, let’s focus on the Human Torch, a character that I think is more difficult to cast. Popular choices I’ve seen are Zac Efron and the dude who played Billy in “Stranger Things”, neither of which are convincing for me. “

Several names, including Dacre Montgomery (Billy) and Timothee Chalamet, were tossed around, with a key question being the age of the character. Some people thought it should be someone like Tom Holland, who is in his early 20s but can pass for a teenager, and in that case, it might be better to cast an unknown. 

Will we see Fantastic Four or X-Men first?

Whoever ultimately gets cast as any one of the Fantastic Four, the question is academic, because Marvel Studios doesn’t seem to be in a particular hurry to bring either them, or the other big Fox/Marvel franchise, the X-Men onto the big screen. Part of the problem is that the most recent Fox entries in both franchises were box office bombs.

Eventually, one or both will get made, but who will come first? X-Men seems more likely because that franchise had several well-liked movies, even if it ended on a flat note with Dark Phoenix. More than that, there has been some speculation that the upcoming The Eternals will tie into the X-Men somehow. 

On the other hand, perhaps Marvel Studios might do Fantastic Four first because they want to try to “get it right,” as they did when they brought Tom Holland on board to play Spider-Man. Some eagle=eyed viewers spotted some Fantastic Four references in Spider-Man: Far From Home, as IndieWire reports, so maybe a revival of Marvel’s first family is closer than it seems.