Of course everyone knows about the four failed attempts at bringing Marvel's first family to the big screen: Roger Corman's low-budget and unreleased attempt in the early '90s, 2005's Fantastic Four and the 2007 sequel Rise of the Silver Surfer by way of Fox, and Fox's 2015 rebooted box-office bomb.
It's pretty clear that these characters need to come home to Marvel Studios. There have been rumors for months that Marvel Studios and Fox have worked out some sort of deal, but those have been shot down by both studios. However, the planned sequel has been removed from Fox's release schedule, so it's entirely possible that there actually has been a deal worked out. Only time will tell if that's the case. It would be perfect to announce a proper Fantastic Four film for the MCU's upcoming Phase Four.
In any case, I'd like to take some time and share who I think should take on the roles for hopefully the fourth and last time.
Dave Annable as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic
Dave Annable isn't a big name by any means. He's only appeared in 3 films, and the majority of his work being in television. Best known for his role on ABC's Brothers & Sisters, he has also had starring roles in recent years on two short-lived series 666 Park Avenue and Red Band Society.
At thirty-six years old, I think that's a perfect age for a scientist of Reed Richards's caliber. It would get away from how the characters were portrayed in the 2015 version, making him a well-established scientist of some renown.
People might wonder if he could carry a big-budget film franchise, but Marvel isn't against taking risks to bring their characters to life. Chris Pratt being cast as Peter Quill is a perfect example. And like Guardians of the Galaxy, the Fantastic Four is an ensemble, so the weight of the franchise wouldn't be entirely on his shoulders.
Eliza Coupe as Susan Storm/The Invisible Woman
Eliza Coupe has more big screen experience, but is also mostly known for her television work. She starred in 3 seasons of the sitcom Happy Endings and was a main cast member in the final season of Scrubs. Other than that most of her roles are guest spots on a handful of episodes.
I don't want to disparage either Jessica Alba or Kate Mara (I have nothing against either of them), but I believe Coupe would be a bit more believable as a scientist. 34 years old is a lot more realistic than Alba's 24-year-old character. Coupe's background in comedy could also give Sue Storm a rather unique personality with a quick, intelligent wit. She has an air about her that I find would let her easily stand up with the MCU's heavy hitters.
Like Annable, Eliza Coupe wouldn't come with a Downey-sized price tag.
Max Thieriot as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch
While Max Thieriot has more film credits to his name than Annable and Coupe, he is also primarily known for his work in TV, currently starring on A&E's Bates Motel as Dylan Bates.
I see Thieriot being able to easily inhabit the character. He already has shades of the hotheaded (pun not intended, but I'll take it) and cocky Storm in his Bates Motel character. Let him play with humor a bit, give him some cars to race and you'd have the perfect Johnny Storm.
Garrett Hedlund as Ben Grimm/The Thing
Hedlund is arguably the most well-known of the four principals having starred in Tron: Legacy, Country Strong, and most recently Pan.
Casting Ben Grimm is a fairly difficult task considering the actor chosen is going to essentially be a living rock for a good majority of the time, whether under practical makeup or special effects. Hedlund has a good, "All-American" look about him which would serve Grimm's pre-transformation well, contrasting nicely with the post-transformation appearance. Someone is needed that could be able to handle the weight of a man that has transformed into something he finds ugly. On top of that, being 31, Garrett Hedlund could be any of Ben Grimm's former professions (former athlete, construction worker, test pilot, astronaut).
Lee Arenberg as Harvey Elder/Mole Man
Currently starring in Once Upon a Time, Arenberg appeared on Seinfeld and in the first 3 films in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
As a character actor, Arenberg usually plays gruff or dimwitted characters. The gruffness would work wonderfully for a man that has lived underground for most of his life. However, the role of Harvey Elder would be a nice change of pace for the actor, allowing him to play a man with vast intelligence.
Richard Madden as Norrin Radd/The Silver Surfer
Richard Madden is of course known for is role as the ill-fated Robb Stark on Game of Thrones. He also recently starred as the Prince in Disney's live-action Cinderella.
I know Madden seems like such an odd choice, as if I just picked someone at random. Normally, for a role like this, I'd say "Give it to Doug Jones." The problem is, he's already played the character. I think there needs to be a new take on him. For the character the actor needs to have a commanding presence, but also a sense of nobility. Why not the once King of the North?
Ron Perlman as Galactus
Who doesn't know the great Ron Perlman? City of Lost Children, Blade II, Sons of Anarchy, Hand of God, etc, etc, etc, not to mention he's Hellboy. I would usually shy away from casting someone who is already a comic book character on screen, but a third Hellboy may never get off the ground.
A character like Galactus needs a unique, powerful voice. Why not one of the best voices in Hollywood? Not to mention, the role of Galactus wouldn't be as physically demanding or as time consuming (makeup-wise) as Hellboy. I see the performance being captured via motion capture.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Victor von Doom
Behind Ron Perlman, he's probably the most well-known as he currently stars in Game of Thrones as Jaime Lannister.
So far, Doom has been criminally mishandled on screen. Funnily enough, it's said that the best portrayal of the character was in Corman's unreleased adaptation. Be that as it may, he has severely lacked any of the menace and authority that is needed. Being the ruler of his own country, Doom would ideally be a big part and a big threat in the MCU. An actor of Coster-Waldau's caliber would be amazing as the leader of Latveria. He's close enough in age to Dave Annable that he could play younger to establish the fact that Doom and Richards met in college.
BONUS: Daniel Dae Kim as Namor the Sub-Mariner
Daniel Dae Kim starred on Lost and currently stars in Hawaii Five-0. The man does like to do his work in Hawaii.
We’re twelve films and three TV series in to the MCU and it’s crazy to think that the very first Marvel character hasn’t appeared in any capacity. Of course, it’s because the rights only just recently reverted back to Marvel Studios from Universal (kind of, sort of, mostly). Anyway, it’s about time the Prince of Atlantis was introduced. It’s been 5 years, but Kim as even expressed an interest in playing the character. I wouldn’t usually say “Sure, give the role to whoever says they want it”, but Daniel Dae Kim is an extremely underrated and talented actor. It would be great to have an Asian actor eventually headline their own comic book film.
Keep in mind these are just my suggestions. Let me know what you think in the comments, but try to keep everything civil. Also, let me know if you'd like to see more fan casts from me.
Edit: I mistakenly used a picture of Star-Lord instead of Johnny Storm, it has since been fixed.