As we mentioned earlier today, the plans of Marvel Studios can and will change.
The latest example: Deadline reports Fantastic Four director Jon Watts has exited the project citing a form of superhero burnout following three back-to-back Spider-Man productions for Marvel and Sony — the latest of which, Spider-Man: No Way Home, proved to be a massive production and promotional undertaking. “Making three Spider-Man films was an incredible and life changing experience for me,” he said in a statement. “I’m eternally grateful to have been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for seven years. I’m hopeful we’ll work together again and I can’t wait to see the amazing vision for Fantastic Four brought to life.”
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige added, “We were looking forward to continuing our work with him to bring the Fantastic Four into the MCU but understand and are supportive of his reasons for stepping away. We are optimistic that we will have the opportunity to work together again at some point down the road.” That opportunity could turn out to be a fourth MCU Spider-Man film as Sony and Marvel appear to be invested in continuing the story Watts outlined in his three films with him carrying on as director. At the same time, he pitched the series as the latter three years of high school, so No Way Home may also prove to be his graduation from superhero school.
Meanwhile, the search begins for a new Fantastic Four filmmaker. The job comes with some pressure. None of the previous FF outings are held in high regard and this one must do a good job of not only introducing the characters created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, but also integrating them into the established universe and further the story of Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), who has a long and varied history with the team.
The film is currently unscheduled, although we always assumed it unofficially holds the furthest out release date Disney has made publicly available — November 6th, 2024. The change in directors could shift it into 2025.