It’s not a stretch of the imagination that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige would play into fan service.
“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” director Sam Raimi confirmed that Feige was the mastermind behind John Krasinski’s jaw-dropping cameo as Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic, “the smartest man in the world” and leader of both the Illuminati and the Fantastic Four.
“It’s so funny that [Kevin Feige] cast John because the fans had a dream of who the perfect Reed Richards would be,” Raimi said during the film’s commentary track (via Comic Book Resources). “And because this is an alternate universe, I think Kevin said, ‘Let’s make that dream come true.’ I’ve always really enjoyed all of his performances.”
Krasinski appears as Mr. Fantastic opposite MCU familiar faces Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), Professor X (Patrick Stewart), and Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Eijofor) in an alternate universe Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) must save from Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).
Krasinski is the first actor to portray Mr. Fantastic in the MCU, with previous live-action iterations owned by 20th Century Fox. The Marvel comics character has been played by Alex Hyde-White in Roger Corman’s never-officially-released 1994 movie, Ioan Gruffudd in the 2005 20th Century Fox installment, and Miles Teller in the 2015 reboot.
A new Marvel Studios-owned “Fantastic Four” is currently in the works. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” director Jon Watts was originally set to helm the film but parted ways with Marvel (for now) to direct Disney+ “Star Wars” spinoff series “Skeleton Crew” and an upcoming Apple Original film starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney.
Krasinski has been open about being interested in formally joining the MCU, telling Men’s Health in 2020 that he would “love to be in the Marvel universe.”
“Certainly a lot of my friends are in those movies,” Krasinski said, while maintaining that at the time, Marvel had yet to reach out to him. “I have no idea what [Marvel is] thinking. But if they are considering me for Mr. Fantastic, continue to consider me because I would love it.”
The “A Quiet Place” director previously told ComicBook.com that he’d “jump in” as a director for any Marvel film if MCU boss Feige asked him. “In Kevin [Feige] I trust,” Krasinski said. “That dude is not only the most talented guy, but the nicest guy. Yeah, whatever he wants, we’d discuss it.”
Krasinski’s real-life wife, actress Emily Blunt, has also been fan-cast as Mr. Fantastic’s wife Sue Storm, while Chris Evans has teased a possible return as the Human Torch after his original role in the 2005 and 2007 respective films.
The upcoming “Fantastic Four” film reportedly began casting in January with production slated to start in 2023. No official casting has been announced.