Marvel is once again looking for a director for its upcoming Fantastic Four film, which will introduce the iconic group of superheroes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Deadline notes that Jon Watts has withdrawn from the project. The reason for the departure of Watts, who has become a favorite inside the MCU after helming a trilogy of Spider-Man films that climaxed with the hugely successful No Way Home, is said to be that he wants a break from superhero films for the time being. There’s no drama between the director and Marvel,
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“Collaborating with Jon on the Spider-Man films has been a true pleasure,” said Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and co-president Louis D’Espositoin a statement. “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.”
Meanwhile, Watts said that “making three Spider-Man films was an incredible and life changing experience for me. 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.”
Loosely based on Marvel’s Ultimate Fantastic Four comic series, the previous Fantastic Four film from 2015 which starred Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan was mired in controversy from the start, including a controversial tweet from director Josh Trank sent the day the film opened, lamenting the quality of the final cut. The film went on to gross just $56 million at the domestic box office with a global total of $167 million. It reportedly cost about $120 million to make.
Previous to this version Tim Story directed two big-budget versions, 2005’s Fantastic Four and 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which grossed a combined $619 million worldwide. Roger Corman infamously produced a completed-but-shelved version of The Fantastic Four in 1994 which was never meant to be seen and was only made to secure the rights for a future version, though bootlegs widely exist.