William Jackson Harper’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania casting sparks a new Reed Richards theory, and it would be better than John Krasinski’s return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. During the last few years, there has been much anticipation to see who Marvel Studios will cast as the Fantastic Four. Audiences were treated to a surprise in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness when John Krasinski’s Mister Fantastic appeared as part of the Illuminati. The multiverse Reed Richards casting left questions about if Krasinski will continue to play Mister Fantastic or if another actor will take over the role.
There is a new Reed Richards actor theory for the MCU now that William Jackson Harper officially joined Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. The timing of his cast announcement does not indicate that he only recently joined the movie but instead seems to be tied to the secrecy of his role. The former The Good Place star has become a popular suggestion to play the MCU’s Mister Fantastic, so this fan casting has only picked up more steam now. If the speculation about William Jackson Harper playing Reed Richards in Ant-Man 3 is correct, this theory would be a brilliant twist by Marvel and arguably even better than Krasinski’s return.
Even though John Krasinski was the top choice to play Reed Richards in the MCU for years, the popularity of the suggestion and his Doctor Strange 2 cameo has made that possibility a bit more controversial. Some took issue with how weak his Mister Fantastic was fighting Scarlet Witch, while others lamented the decisions of one of Marvel’s most intelligent characters. These issues have more to do with writing than Krasinski’s performance, but it has still been difficult not to see him as Jim Halpert. The glimpse of what John Krasinski’s Mister Fantastic could really be like was fun, but it also highlighted a few potential issues if Marvel made him the MCU’s main Reed Richards.
Ant-Man 3 casting William Jackson Harper as Mister Fantastic could solve many of these issues. Those who have seen The Good Place know that Harper can believably play the smartest guy in the room. Chidi might be a bit more panicked and awkward than Reed, but Harper’s ability to mix humor with the dramatic works very well for the MCU’s Mister Fantastic. It also could help that William Jackson Harper is not quite as famous as John Krasinksi, as MCU audiences might be able to view him as Reed Richards instead of other roles more easily. Introducing William Jackson Harper’s Mister Fantastic in Ant-Man 3 would then help make audiences familiar with him before he headlines Fantastic 4.
The idea that Mister Fantastic could appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania might seem far-fetched to some. Audiences have already been burned by Reed Richards speculation with WandaVision. Since Marvel introduced a variant of him with John Krasinski, the door could now be open for Ant-Man 3 to use Mister Fantastic. The movie could deliver on one of Marvel’s oldest theories even and reveal that Reed Richards and the Fantastic 4 have been trapped in the Quantum Realm. This would explain why they have not appeared in the MCU before and further combine the Quantum Realm and Negative Zone.
It might also make sense for Mister Fantastic to be in Ant-Man 3 thanks to Kang the Conqueror’s role. While Kang’s comic history is quite convoluted, there have been various points where he is portrayed as a distant descendant of Reed Richards, hence his name Nathaniel Richards. Ant-Man 3 could include the first real indication that this lineage is intact for the MCU by having a version of Reed encounter Kang. There is even the chance that Kang trapped Reed in the Quantum Realm, knowing that his ancient ancestor is the only one smart enough to foil his long-term multiverse conquering plans.
If William Jackson Harper’s Ant-Man 3 casting is not for Reed Richards, then there are plenty of other possible Marvel characters for him to play. The Ant-Man franchise has utilized some obscure characters from the comics, but it has also created some original characters too. One potential Marvel character William Jackson Harper could play is Tom Foster, the nephew of Bill Foster – Laurence Fishburne’s character from Ant-Man and the Wasp. This would give Harper a chance to play a Marvel superhero in the future, potentially, as Tom Foster could become the MCU’s permanent Goliath and continue Bill’s mantle.
Based on how much of Ant-Man 3 looks to take place in the Quantum Realm, it is most likely that he will play someone who lives there. The Ant-Man 3 trailer showed that the Quantum Realm is filled with plenty of life, including a possible resistance team to Kang. William Jackson Harper could play the team’s leader, giving him an important role in helping Ant-Man and others fight back against Kang or Ant-Man 3‘s real villain. This could mean he is an original character, after all, or a very obscure comic pull. Marvel’s ability to get actors of calibers to join the MCU means it is also unclear how much screen time William Jackson Harper will get.
Marvel’s Fantastic Four cast announcement is certainly taking longer than many expected. Many were convinced that an announcement would come at San Diego Comic-Con or D23 2022, but neither of those conventions delivered the news. All Marvel Studios has confirmed that this point is that WandaVision‘s Matt Shakman is directing the Fantastic 4 movie, and it has since received new writers as well. Shakman will reportedly have input on the Fantastic Four casting, and there have been mounting rumors that Marvel has started meeting with actors about various roles. This could mean a decision will be made relatively soon, allowing a Fantastic Four cast announcement by the end of 2022.
Fantastic 4 is not scheduled to release in theaters until February 2025, so Marvel does have some time to get the cast in place. Filming is likely to begin by the end of 2023, so that summer is the latest that the MCU will reveal its Fantastic Four cast members. The announcement could come sooner if any of them appear in another MCU project before Fantastic 4 and Marvel does not want the casting information to leak, such as William Jackson Harper’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania casting.
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