2025’s The Fantastic Four may be set in an alternate universe, explaining their absence from the MCU’s Earth-616.
Clues like a different futuristic skyline in official art and Silver Surfer’s surprise casting suggest an alternate universe setting for The Fantastic Four.
An alternate universe origin would avoid repeating Captain America’s story, raise multiverse stakes, and also tie into an epic Galactus who could consume their world, forcing them to integrate into the primary MCU.

Marvel Studios’The Fantastic Four isn’t releasing until 2025, and yet there are already a handful of clues teasing its setting in an alternate universe. Despite being Marvel’s First Family in the original comics, The Fantastic Four have yet to make their debut in the MCU, specifically its primary reality, Earth-616. To that end, an alternate universe could be the perfect answer to explain their absence.

Releasing in July of 2025, Marvel’s The Fantastic Four is coming from WandaVision director Matt Shakman. The movie is also set to star Pedro Pascal as Reed Richards’ Mister Fantastic, Vanessa Kirby as Sue Storm’s Invisible Woman, Joseph Quinn as Johnny Storm’s Human Torch, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Ben Grimm’s Thing. While there have yet to be any teasers of trailers revealing footage, there have been a few promotions via official artwork. To that end, here are 8 of the biggest clues that Marvel Studios’ The Fantastic Four will be set in a different universe beyond the primary MCU.


Every Upcoming Marvel Movie: Full MCU Phase 5 & 6 List (& Beyond)

Between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment, here is every upcoming Marvel movie release date and what we know about the projects so far.

8 New Human Torch Official Art Shows A Very Different Skyline

More Tomorrowland, Less NYC

April 4, 2024 (4/04/24) saw Marvel Studios celebrating the notable date with an official new poster depicting Joseph Quinn’s Human Torch in flight. Covered in flames while also wearing the signature Fantastic Four costume first seen in Marvel Studios’ cast reveal with artwork released on Valentine’s Day, the new live-action Johnny Storm has written a giant fiery “4” in the sky. A classic Human Torch move from the comics, the skywriting was also seen in Fox’s original Fantastic Four movies starring Chris Evans in the Human Torch role.

However, one of the most interesting parts of this new Human Torch poster is the background. While one might have expected a New York cityscape considering The Fantastic Four’s Baxter Building located in NYC seen in the comics and previous movies, The Fantastic Four poster instead features what looks to be an all-white futuristic city, not unlike the iconography of Disney’s “Tomorrowland” and how the future was envisioned by those in the 50s and 60s. To that end, it supports the idea that this new Fantastic Four will be living in another universe, one perhaps more advanced than the main MCU.

7 Coming From Another Universe Can Explain Where The Fantastic Four Have Been

A Great Way To Explain Their Absence

Regardless of the specifics, Marvel Studios’ biggest narrative challenge with The Fantastic Four will be the need to explain where they’ve been all this time as the MCU has evolved since 2008’s Iron Man. Likewise, the full cast artwork features several clues that the particular time period for The Fantastic Four will be some version of the 60s. If that’s indeed the case, the movie will have to provide some sort of explanation as to where they’ve been, why they haven’t been seen before, and more adjacent questions regarding their general absence from major events (like Thanos).

Keeping that in mind, an alternate universe origin for his new live-action Fantastic Four certainly has its benefits. Coming from an entirely separate reality would easily allow the film to skirt many of the aforementioned questions, while also allowing them to exist in their own space and tell their own unique origin without so much pre-existing MCU baggage. Then, the primary concern simply becomes how they might get connected with the primary MCU through various multiversal means.

6 The MCU Has Already Teased One Former Fox Movie Property Appearing From Another Reality

The X-Men

To a certain extent, Marvel Studios has already used the multiverse and an alternate reality to integrate another Marvel property that once belonged to Fox. As seen in 2023’s The Marvels, Teyonah Parris’ Captain Monica Rambeau saved the MCU from a rift in space-time, only to end up on the wrong side of the rift in another reality. Having blacked out, Monica wakes end to find herself in none other than the X-Mansion being tended to be a version of Hank McCoy’s Beast and a variant of her mother who died years prior in the main MCU.

The Marvels

The Marvels sees the long-awaited team-up of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) as the trio work together to find out how their powers have become inextricably linked. Acting as a sequel to both Captain Marvel (2019) and the Ms. Marvel television show, The Marvels is the 33rd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Although the details are scarce, Marvel Studios’ has at the very least confirmed that a version of the X-Men exists in another universe apart from the primary MCU. At the same time, they’ve gradually been introducing the concepts of mutants and X-genes into the main MCU. At any rate, the major X-Men reveal in The Marvels helps set a precedent that Marvel Studios could do something similar with The Fantastic Four and set them up in another universe as well.

5 Casting A Lesser-Known Silver Surfer May Mean The MCU Is Saving The Popular Version For Earth-616

Julia Garner Playing Shalla-Bal

The surprise cast announcement for The Fantastic Four’s Silver Surfer could also be explained by an alternate universe. It’s recently been revealed that Ozark and Inventing Anna’sJulia Garner is set to play an alternate version of the Silver Surfer named Shalla-Bal. In the original comics, Shalla-Bal was the primary love interest of the Silver Surfer Norrin Radd, hailing from the planet Zenn-La. As such, Garner’s casting could be a clue that The Fantastic Four will indeed be set in another reality where Shalla becomes the main Silver Surfer, imbued with the Power Cosmic.

Ultimately, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a gender-swapped Silver Surfer being the main version seen on-screen. However, the casting could be a potential tease supporting the idea that the new Fantastic Four and connected characters exist in another reality. As such, this would be a universe where Garner is playing a female variant with Marvel Studios possibly saving Norrin Radd’s better-known Silver Surfer for later in the main MCU reality.


Every Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Ranked Worst To Best

Over 15 years and 33 movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have redefined blockbuster cinema. But how do all the films stack up?

4 There’s Already A Precedent For Reed Richards Variants In Other MCU Timelines

Multiverse of Madness

It’s also worth noting that the MCU has already established the idea of other versions of The Fantastic Four living in other universes beyond the main Earth-616. In 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a variant of Reed Richards’ Mister Fantastic was featured on Earth-838, having become a member of the Illuminati. Likewise, it was also confirmed that a version of The Fantastic Four team exists in this reality with a reference to their name, as well as more specific confirmation with references to Sue Storm as well as Reed and Sue’s children, presumably Franklin and Valeria Richards.

Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness

In Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the MCU takes a deeper dive into the Multiverse and the unknown, introducing variants of Strange and other familiar friends and foes – including The Illuminati – and offers a new perspective on how it works and connects. The story follows Stephen Strange, now post-blip and no longer the Sorcerer Supreme. When a terrifying monster rampages through New York seeking to capture a young girl from another multiverse named America Chavez, Strange finds himself as her newfound protector. Unfortunately, his new foe is a former ally, Wanda Maximoff. To protect Chavez and stop Wanda’s rampage, Strange travels the Multiverse looking for answers – and encounters engrossing and terrifying realities that expand the Marvel Universe in a whole new way.

Thanks to Multiverse of Madness, the idea of the Fantastic Four living in another universe beyond the MCU is already something audiences have seen before with John Krasinski’s Mister Fantastic. The concept shouldn’t be hard to grasp considering what’s been seen before. Likewise, it also fits nicely with Mister Fanstatic’s Council of Reeds seen in the original comics, a think tank of different Reed variants who come together across the multiverse. Perhaps something similar could happen in the MCU.

The World Devourer

Regardless of the version, if any Silver Surfer appears on-screen, it follows that cosmic Would Devourer known as Galactus isn’t far behind. Serving as his herald, the Silver Surfer scouts out new worlds for Galactus to consume. As such, Galactus appearing in Marvel Studios’ The Fantastic Four movies feels like a very strong possibility. Furthermore, Galactus may also explain how the team ends up in the primary MCU assuming they are indeed living in an alternate universe.

If Galactus does appear in The Fantastic Four, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be introduced only to be instantly defeated in the first movie. Beyond the controversial change depicting Galactus as a giant space cloud in Fantastic Four:Rise of the Silver Surfer, a quick defeat was a key criticism as well. As such, this likely means that an initial victory is in the cards for the next on-screen version of Galactus, potentially even consuming the original world of The Fantastic Four, an event that could then lead to their debut in the main MCU to survive.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is the only sequel to Tim Story’s 2005 introduction of Marvel’s First Family. Starring Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards, Jessica Alba as Sue Storm, Chris Evans as the Human Torch, and Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm a.k.a. The Thing, the 2007 superhero film marks the Silver Surfer’s live-action debut with Doug Jones portraying his motion capture and Laurence Fishburne providing his voice. The sequel also features Julian McMahon’s return as Doctor Doom and Galactus first big-screen appearance.

2 The Fantastic Four Coming From Another Universe Would Avoid Repeating A Captain America Story

Avoiding An Origin Repeat

The Fantastic Four living in another universe would also help them avoid repeating an origin that’s already been seen with Captain America. In the MCU’s Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers defeated the Red Skull only to be frozen in the ice in the 1940s. He then wakes up almost 70 years later in the present day, becoming Captain America and a founding member of the Avengers in the modern era.

Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger is a 2011 superhero movie starring Chris Evans as Steve Rogers, a weak patriotic civilian who becomes the test subject for the military’s Super Soldier project. The film was the fifth film in the long-running MCU franchise and also starred Samuel L. Jackson, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, and Sebastian Stan.

With any luck, The Fantastic Four won’t be from Earth-616 in the 60s only to get stuck somewhere until the modern day. That would just be a retread of Captain America’s origins. Instead, an alternate universe allows The Fantastic Four to have their own origins and story, providing a better opportunity and chance to show audiences something that hasn’t been seen before in the MCU multiverse.

1 The MCU Needs To Start Raising The Stakes Of The Multiverse

The End of The Multiverse Saga Is Getting Closer

The end of the MCU’s Multiverse Saga is only getting closer. The two capstone Avengers movies are only a few years away, and yet the MCU hasn’t done much recently to raise the stakes and flesh out the multiverse. As such, having The Fantastic Four be set in an alternate universe would certainly help make the multiverse feels as big and expansive as it should ahead of the culminating Multiverse Saga movie with Avengers: Secret Wars.

The Fantastic Four’s status in the original comics positions them as both superheroes and explorers, traveling to different dimensions and exploring new worlds. To that end, it would be very exciting to see them hailing from another universe before ultimately arriving to the MCU to discover all that it has to offer. At any rate, the odds of Marvel Studios’ The Fantastic Four movie being set elsewhere beyond the MCU’s Earth-616feel quite high.

Avengers: Secret Wars

Avengers: Secret Wars is the sixth Avengers film and takes place during phase six of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. The film will see several heroes from the prior phases return and battle against a cosmic threat to rival Thanos, and borrows elements of the Marvel Comics event of the same name.

Key Release Dates

Deadpool & Wolverine

Captain America: Brave New World

Marvel’s Thunderbolts

Marvel’s Fantastic Four

Blade (2025)

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Avengers: Secret Wars

“}]] Is The Fantastic Four be set in another reality?  Read More