The gears are working like never before at Marvel, because the studio’s latest gamble is on the Internet’s favorite daddy. Pedro Pascal is Marvel’s top consideration to play Dr. Reed Richards in the Fantastic Four franchise, a project that was in the works for a long time. And as happens with Pascal, the internet – including Marvel geeks – has been sent into a frenzy.
Social media was abuzz with speculation ever since word got out of Pascal’s consideration for Mr. Fantastic. But now that he is nearly confirmed to play the character, people are not fully confident that Pascal is the right fit. This also comes with an admittance that Pascal is a fantastic actor, given his successes in The Last of Us and Narcos. Pascal has already delved into the superhero genre, as The Mandalorian, constantly annoyed yet babying Baby Yoda.
The doubt stems from the fact that in a way, Pascal has done this gig before. But the stakes weren’t as high – Reed Richards has already been played by known faces before. Ioan Gruffudd had made the role popular to modern audiences, and John Krasinksi did a short stint as Richards when Marvel took over. Pascal shot to new levels of fame after playing the fungi-infested zombie killer, Joel. So with the tech-savvy generation and comic nerds, Pascal is already a hit. But there’s still no loud and clear hurrah about Pascal’s confirmation as Richards. This could either be Marvel’s biggest save, or another blow to their already sinking ship.
Pascal isn’t exactly the first person that anyone would think of as the perfect choice for the role. But the same sentiment was voiced when Robert Downey Jr. was roped in for Tony Stark. Like Downey, Pascal being Marvel’s best bet at Mr. Fantastic came as a surprise. But Downey silenced everyone who questioned him. And who knows, maybe even Pascal will. In the 2000s, the Fantastic Four franchise brought in a good amount of money for Fox. It was a good foundation for Reed Richards, courtesy of Gruffudd. Pascal has to try and at least match up to the character’s reputation, if not surpass it, in case a deal is fixed. This is not a character that features in his filmography – cold, brooding, lone wolf-like, occasionally also forced to father incessant kids. Pascal’s acting prowess is seen largely in these characters. Marvel seems to be riding on the wave of fame that has come his way because of them.
The hopeful side of the fandom, however, thinks Pascal is a great pick for Mr. Fantastic. An actor with heaps of talent ready to be unleashed, Pascal truly does have a good potential of best portraying the character. Amidst the choices for Richards, he truly does seem like the best pick of the lot. Nobody but him has the potential to cement Reed Richards as a major Marvel hero. Pascal also seems to have outshone Jamie Dornan and Christopher Abbott, who are also speculated to have auditioned for the role. Despite being Latin, he tends to not let that be a factor in his roles. Pascal will join his very good friend, Oscar Issac, in the MCU.
The continuations for The Mandalorian and The Last of Us are already underway, and it’s unclear how Pascal will prioritize Mr. Fantastic amidst them. They were already on hold because of the strikes, but are now up and running. Marvel also hasn’t spared much crumbs as to how Mr. Fantastic features in its future lineup. All we know is that the franchise is still slated for reboot and will be released in May 2025. This does seem to be a big deal for Marvel, because it did open the floodgates of expectations after reviving the character for Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Sam Raimi did not let fans revel in it, as John Krasinski’s Mr. Fantastic lasted barely 10 minutes after his reveal, and meets his end being literally shredded by Wanda.
Marvel is already flailing in the industry to keep itself afloat, given its track record of failures ever since Endgame. If Pascal does turn out to be a done deal, then Marvel will have a lot on its hands. They will, however, have a guaranteed actor that will not disappoint. But just that won’t do much for the studio. If Pascal does turn out to be Marvel’s next RDJ-like success, there will be no doubt that Fantastic Four will rival the Avengers when it comes to success. Who knows, Pedro Pascal might turn out to be Marvel’s saving grace.