After SGN, Marvel Studios Has No Choice: John Krasinski Must be Reed Richards in the Fantastic Four MCU Debut
Back in another era, before the MCU became an everyday part of our lives, casting the big four was one of the most interesting discussions. When it came to Captain America, fans were defensive. Steve Rogers embodies American ideals even if the people who love the character can’t agree on what those ideals are. Rumors circulated that it would be Will Smith at one point. But one name Marvel Studios considered was John Krasinski—the goofy guy from The Office. Chris Evans ended up with the role, and history is the better for it, but we’re in a new era of the MCU. However, after proving his action-hero chops in projects like Jack Ryan and his new home-streaming series Some Good News, lovingly called SGN, the MCU needs John Krasinski to play the ultimate superhero dad, Reed Richards.
The Last Decade Was a Good One for John Krasinski and for the MCU
(Image: Jack Ryan, Amazon Studios)
While the MCU churned out one hit after another, John Krasinski had his own brilliant rise. While he’s still known to most as “Jim from the Office,” he’s accomplished a lot more. He starred in Michael Bay’s 13 Hours. At first, it just seemed weird that camera-mugging Jim Halpert would play a badass soldier. And then he played a badass soldier. From there, he made his directorial debut with the indie dramedy The Hollars, but really shined as a director with A Quiet Place. Speaking of A Quiet Place, he starred in it alongside his real-life wife, Emily Blunt. That’s another thing that he did in the last decade. When he married Emily Blunt in 2010, he was very much out of her league. More on her later.
His biggest and most successful role since The Office is as Jack Ryan in the Amazon series based on Tom Clancy’s reluctant superspy. The combination of everything above—The Office, A Quiet Place, 13 Hours, and Jack Ryan certainly proves he should be a superhero in some regard. But with SGN, where he spends his days uplifting the world in one of our darkest periods, shows that John Krasinski is the perfect Reed Richards for the MCU.
Reed Richards Is the Balance of Warmth and Hard Choices That Krasinski Can Bring to the MCU
They are already drawing Reed Richards to look like John Krasinski! (Image: War of the Realms #3, Marvel Comics)
Reed Richards is often criticized as being cold, distant, calculating. He’s a brilliant scientist and definitely has social issues, but this critique isn’t quite fair. He’s a loving husband to Sue Storm, a caring father to Valerie and Franklin, his kids, a dedicated friend to Ben Grimm, and a supportive big brother to his brother-in-law, Johnny Storm. He also sees the biggest problems in the universe and makes tough choices to do what’s best to save everyone, including his family. Sometimes those decisions seem harsh, but being calculating isn’t evil. It’s what he does. And it’s the range that John Krasinski shows from his gruff soldier in 13 Hours to his charming “news” host in SGN, and the MCU needs that for Reed Richards.
They especially need a likable Reed Richards. The last two Mr. Fantastics, Ioan Gruffudd (2005), and Miles Teller (2015), just didn’t have this dynamic. Granted, finding the balance of 13 Hours and SGN is like finding the cross-section of kale and jelly beans, but Krasinski does it.
John Krasinski and Emily Blunt Are the Best Husband/Wife Team for Reed Richards and Sue Storm in the MCU
Look at them. They don’t even need makeup. They already are Sue and Reed. (Emily Blunt and John Krasinski on SGN, YouTube)
Emily Blunt is an incredible actress. From A Quiet Place to Mary Poppins Returns. Into the Woods to Sicario. And then there’s her even more badass than your everyday Mary Sue performance in Edge of Tomorrow. She can have the hardest edge or the softest touch. Just like John Krasinski can do both warm and calculating for a Reed Richards in the MCU, Blunt can be the soft, sharp knife that is Sue Storm.
And just as Krasinski was almost Captain America, Blunt was also almost part of the MCU. In fact, she was offered the role of Black Widow. When that didn’t work due to scheduling, Marvel came back to her with Agent Peggy Carter. In another universe, there’s a Captain America: The First Avenger starring Krasinski and Blunt. Of course, that didn’t work out either. But maybe that was fate. And now, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt are the perfect actors and as spouses to be the perfect Reed Richards and Sue Storm for the MCU.
Rounding Out the Rest of the Fantastic Four in the MCU
Since we’re considering dream casting here, let’s cast the other two. Besides John Krasinski as the MCU Reed Richards, and Emily Blunt as Sue Storm, who should play Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm? For one of them, the answer is obvious, and has a similar career to Krasinski:
Ben Grimm, the Thing
Just please, don’t make Thing look like this ever again. (Image: Fantastic Four (2005), the studio formerly known as 20th Century Fox)
Jordan Peele is the perfect Ben Grimm. The Academy Award winner is one of the funniest people alive and yet created two of the best horror films in the past decade—alongside Krasinski, coincidentally. And Ben Grimm, the Thing, is nothing if not a horror story. Peele can bring nuance to the character that Michael Chiklis almost did in 2005, and Jamie Bell never had a chance to in 2015 (that was the worst casting for Ben Grimm). Of course, the trolls that call themselves fans will complain about switching the race of a fictional character, but they don’t matter. And they’ll really hate our suggestion for Johnny Storm.
Johnny Storm, the Human Torch
OMG Cap’s on Fire! Oh, wait, nevermind. That’s just Chris Evans’ career regrets. (Image: Fantastic Four (2005), the studio formerly known as 20th Century Fox)
If the MCU has John Krasinski as Reed Richards, Emily Blunt as Sue Storm, and Jordan Peele as Ben Grimm, we just need one more actor to round out Marvel’s first family. But casting Johnny Storm is definitely the hardest. There’s just one type of actor they should not cast: a white male. Johnny Storm, as is, is no different than Star-Lord, a young Tony Stark, or a young Steven Strange. We get it. You’re cocky, and you like sleeping around until you fall head over heels with someone you fight alongside with. And Chris Pratt has that trademarked with Star-Lord. We still need that confidence, but we have to strip away everything else.
This gives us a lot more options. We could have a Jeanette Storm with Miley Cyrus. Or Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, a brilliant queer black actor known for his role in Unreal, can bring that over-confidence to Johnny Storm. Actually, he already has experience with Marvel. In the Iron Man: Armored Adventures series, he voiced the Black Panther. Just not Timothee Chalamet or Lucas Hedges or anyone similar. The one thing the 2015 F4 movie got right was showing that the Storms don’t need to be biologically related. They can be step-siblings, one can be adopted, and they can be half-siblings. With the MCU diversifying, Johnny—or Jeanette—Storm is their most adaptable character.
Regardless of the Rest of the Cast, Krasinski is the One the MCU Needs Most
He was almost Captain America. Let him be Mr. Fantastic. (Image: The Office, NBC)
It would be wonderful to see Emily Blunt as Sue Storm, Jordan Peele as Ben Grimm, and, let’s say, Janelle Monáe as Jenny Storm. But if Marvel Studios doesn’t cast John Krasinski as Reed Richards in the MCU, they’re making a terrible mistake. Right now, he’s America’s big brother (not Big Brother). With SGN, he’s making sure we don’t lose our minds and reminding us that there is hope. So, hopefully, in a few years, he’ll finally be a live-action superhero. We all know he should have been one by now already. And he’s all for it too.
(Featured Image: Left: Marvel Adventures #46, Marvel Comics. Right: John Krasinski at A Quite Place II Premier, Paramount Pictures)
Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.