Julia Garner has been cast as Shalla-Bal’s Silver Surfer in
The Fantastic Four
, hinting at an alternate universe setting for the Phase 6 project.

The Fantastic Four’s
alternate universe setting could tease the introduction of a twisted version of Galactus.
Pedro Pascal’s casting as Reed Richards may be explained by Galactus’ rumored casting choices, and Galactus may be perfect at replacing Kang the Conqueror.

One iconic Marvel Comics villain could be twisted in The Fantastic Four, following the confirmed casting of Marvel Studios’ Silver Surfer. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige first teased The Fantastic Four for the MCU in 2019, though the project’s main cast wasn’t revealed until February 2024. Pedro Pascal, Vanessa Kirby, Joseph Quinn and Ebon Moss-Bachrach have been cast as Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm, bringing Marvel’s First Family into the MCU in July 2025. Marvel Studios’ The Fantastic Four is expected to expand the MCU’s multiverse by introducing a wide variety of interesting heroes and villains.

In April 2024, Deadline reported that Julia Garner had been cast as Shalla-Bal’s Silver Surfer in The Fantastic Four. The more well-known version of the Silver Surfer in Marvel Comics is Norrin Radd, so there was some confusion as to why Shalla-Bal had been chosen to bring this iconic cosmic hero into the MCU. The fact that Marvel Studios has chosen Shalla-Bal to debut in The Fantastic Four could hint at some major plot threads in the highly-anticipated MCU project, and particularly supports one theory that suggests The Fantastic Four may be set in an alternate reality across the multiverse.


Strong MCU Theory On Silver Surfer’s Role In The Fantastic Four & Phase 5

Silver Surfer is making her MCU debut in The Fantastic Four, and along with a huge villain, she can be key to tying the Multiverse Saga together.

Shalla-Bal Becomes The Silver Surfer In Earth X In Marvel Comics

The main iteration of Shalla-Bal in Marvel Comics doesn’t actually become the Silver Surfer, but she does transform into the cosmic Herald of Galactus on Earth-9997, the reality focused on in Marvel Comics’ Earth X series. Earth X premiered in 1999, and included new versions of popular heroes and villains in an alternate, dystopian version of the Marvel Universe. In a world where everyone has been gifted superhuman abilities thanks to Black Bolt’s Terrigen Mists, many notable characters have very different backstories. This includes Shalla-Bal, who becomes the Silver Surfer alongside her lover, Norrin Radd, following the original Galactus’ defeat.


Fantastic Four’s Surprising New Silver Surfer Sets Up 2 Highly Anticipated MCU Villains

The Fantastic Four’s newest confirmed character may surprisingly set up the introduction of two powerful villains in the MCU’s Phase 6.

Galactus’ destruction leaves Norrin Radd’s Silver Surfer’s future uncertain, though a new version of Galactus rises and gives him purpose once again. This new iteration of Galactus allowed Norrin Radd and Shalla-Bal to be reunited, and imbued Shalla-Bal with the same Power Cosmic that gave Radd his abilities. This was detailed in 2000’s Earth X #12, the same issue which unfortunately marked Shalla-Bal’s demise in battle following Galactus’ return to Earth. If The Fantastic Four’s suspected alternate universe setting is inspired by Marvel Comics’ Earth X, it’s possible that Marvel Studios could also introduce the series’ twisted version of Galactus.

Earth X’s Galactus Has A Familial Connection To Reed Richards & Sue Storm

Marvel Studios introducing Earth X’s Shalla-Bal in the MCU’s upcoming The Fantastic Four suggests Earth X’s Galactus may also make an appearance. This would put a huge twist on the MCU’s Galactus, as Earth X’s second iteration of the iconic Marvel Comics villain has a strong familial connection to Reed Richards’ Mister Fantastic and Sue Storm’s Invisible Woman. After Reed Richards destroys Earth X’s original Galactus, Reed and Sue’s son, Franklin Richards, is transformed into the new Galactus, with his natural mutant abilities being enhanced by the High Evolutionary’s technology, and his memories of his past self being erased completely.

Earth X’s
Franklin Richards first appeared in Marvel Comics’
Earth X #2
in 1999.

It’s Franklin Richards’ Galactus that imbues Shalla-Bal with the Power Cosmic, enabling her and Norrin Radd to be his twin Heralds for a brief time. Franklin traveled across the universe consuming planets with Celestial seeds inside, taking on the full role of the massive, cosmic villain. Galactus was convinced to spare the Earth, destroying the Celestial embryo inside, and deciding instead to set out across the universe to learn more about his previous identity of Franklin Richards. Marvel Studios transforming Franklin Richards into Galactus in The Fantastic Four could be a stroke of genius, and may explain several upcoming mysteries.

Galactus’ Rumored MCU Casting Supports Major Fantastic Four Theory

This major theory may be supported by rumored casting choices for Galactus in The Fantastic Four. Galactus has been speculated to be appearing in The Fantastic Four since long before Julia Garner was confirmed to be cast as Shalla-Bal in the upcoming movie, and the iconic villain has been fan-cast as many notable actors. Two fan-favorite casting choices for the MCU’s Galactus include Javier Bardem and Antonio Banderas, both of whom would do a brilliant job at delivering the power and might of the legendary supervillain, and these casting choices could hint at Earth X’s Galactus storyline coming to fruition.


The Fantastic Four Main Villain Confirmed, MCU Galactus Casting Gets Update

The Fantastic Four reboot may not have cast him yet, but the main antagonist has been confirmed in a new report as Galactus is on his way to the MCU.

Both Javier Bardem and Antonio Banderas are Spanish, meaning that, if they are set to portray an older version of Franklin Richards’ Galactus in the MCU’s The Fantastic Four, their ancestors must be Latino, too. This perfectly explains Pedro Pascal’s casting as The Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards, as the Chilean American actor has the perfect background to be the father of Javier Bardem or Antonio Banderas’ Franklin Richards. Pedro Pascal’s casting as Mister Fantastic spurred some controversy, but casting a Spanish actor as Franklin Richards’ Galactus explains Marvel Studios choosing Pascal for the iconic role of the “Smartest Man Alive”.

Fantastic Four Theory Means MCU’s Galactus May Mirror Kang The Conqueror

Not only would Franklin Richards becoming Galactus in the MCU put a brilliant twist on the legendary villain, but this could also be the perfect way to replace the MCU’s initial Multiverse Saga villain. Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror was teased as an ever-present threat in the MCU, but following Major’s 2023 arrest and conviction, Kang the Conqueror’s future in the MCU has been thrown into jeopardy. Speculation that Marvel Studios may be moving on from Kang the Conqueror’s story creates the opportunity for Galactus to fill the void, and these two villains may be more similar than they seem.

Kang the Conqueror MCU Appearances

Kang the Conqueror Variant

Loki Season 1 (2021)

He Who Remains

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)

Kang the Conqueror and the Council of Kangs

Loki Season 2 (2023)

Victor Timely and He Who Remains

In Marvel Comics, Kang the Conqueror is actually Nathaniel Richards, a distant descendant of Reed Richards’ time-traveling father. This established a clear familial connection between Kang the Conqueror and Reed Richards that can be repeated in the MCU if Franklin Richards becomes Galactus in The Fantastic Four. While Marvel Studios may be moving away from Kang the Conqueror following recent controversies, Franklin Richards’ debut as Galactus can still provide this complex connection to Mister Fantastic, which could be hugely important to the progression of the MCU’s Phase 6, and make The Fantastic Four a much more personal and intimate story.

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

Captain America: Brave New World

Marvel’s Thunderbolts

Marvel’s Fantastic Four

Blade (2025)

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Avengers: Secret Wars

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