The Fantastic Four
will introduce the titular team’s robot assistant, HERBIE, as a major ally for the first time on the big screen.
However, HERBIE (technically, HUBERT) made his live-action debut two decades ago, in a 2005
Fantastic Four
deleted scene.
The main reason why
The Fantastic Four
will be able to fully introduce HERBIE is the movie’s 1960s setting, as the classic robot fits the era.

The fifth member of The Fantastic Four‘s titular team already made his live-action debut 20 years before the MCU movie’s 2025 release. The confirmation of The Fantastic Four‘s official MCU cast came with the surprising addition of a generally overlooked member of Marvel’s First Family: The Fantastic Four‘s robot assistant HERBIE. First introduced in the 1977 Fantastic Four animated series as a replacement for the Human Torch, HERBIE made his jump to the comics in 1979, helping the team find Galactus and defend the Earth from the villain.

Previous Fantastic Four movies have ignored a large part of the team’s mythos, including villains like Mole Man and Super Skrull, as well as Sue Storm and Reed Richards’ children, Franklin and Valeria Richards. Likewise, none of the four live-action Fantastic Four movies released so far have featured HERBIE or even acknowledged his existence, whereas the upcoming The Fantastic Four‘s first official image suggests that HERBIE will play a major role in its plot, at least as comedy relief. However, HERBIE’s first live-action appearance actually happened two decades before, only that his cameo was left on the cutting room floor.

Ioan Gruffudd’s Reed Richards Seemingly Created A Robot Assitant Off-Screen

Custom Image by Nicolas Ayala

In one of the deleted scenes from Tim Story’s 2005 Fantastic Four movie, Sue Storm and Reed Richards head to Reed’s storage room looking for tools to recreate the storm that gave them their powers. At one point, Sue finds a small silver robot with big eyeballs that resembles a Furby, which makes her uncomfortable. This unnamed robot only appears in this deleted scene and no one mentions him afterward, but it’s clear that it’s a reference to one of the Fantastic Four’s robot assistants, HERBIE or HUBERT.

stands for
“Highly Engineered Robot Built for Interdimensional Exploration”
stands for
“Hyper-Ultronic Brain Employing Randomized Tracings.”

HERBIE is the Fantastic Four’s most commonly known robot, but the robot in Fantastic Four‘s deleted scene is almost an exact match for one of HUBERT’s many designs. Like HERBIE, HUBERT was created by Reed Richards to assist him in various tasks, but more specifically to babysit his son Franklin in the absence of his usual babysitter, Agatha Harkness. Both robots are rather weak and disposable, hence why their appearance constantly changes as Reed Richards upgrades the destroyed models with a new version.

HERBIE Owes His MCU Existence To The Fantastic Four’s 1960s Setting

HERBIE Would Be Very Different If The Fantastic Four Were Set In The Present Day

HERBIE’s MCU introduction may only be possible due to The Fantastic Four‘s 1960s setting. Had Marvel Studios decided to set the Fantastic Four’s first MCU installment in the present-day, it’s likely that Reed Richards would have simply designed a disembodied AI system like Iron Man’s JARVIS and FRIDAY, Shuri’s Griot, and Spider-Man’s Karen. But given its retro-futuristic inspirations, the MCU’s The Fantastic Four movie is able to incorporate elements of Marvel Comics’ original vision of the future, which made the team popular in the real-world’s 1960s, and of which the lighthearted HERBIE and HUBERT are perfect examples.

The Fantastic Four (2025)

Marvel’s Fantastic Four is the first MCU movie to feature Marvel’s First Family in the same live-action universe as the Avengers. It introduces the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Ben Grimm, and Johnny Storm, and precedes Phase 6’s Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars.

Key Release Dates

Deadpool & Wolverine

Marvel’s Thunderbolts

The Fantastic Four (2025)

Blade (2025)

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Avengers: Secret Wars

“}]] The Fantastic Four’s ally already made his debut.  Read More