Spider-Man director Jon Watts has departed the upcoming film reboot of Marvel Studios’ Fantastic Four.
As reported by Deadline, Watts, who recently directed Tom Holland’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, is stepping away from helming the long-anticipated reboot.
Deadline said that there’s “nothing sinister” in Watt’s exit, saying that the director "just needs a break from the superhero realm after completing the Spidey trilogy with Tom Holland and Zendaya.”
“Making three Spider-Man films was an incredible and life-changing experience for me,” Watts 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.”
In a separate statement, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige also confirmed Watt’s departure from the project. Although no reason was mentioned behind Watt’s departure, the report noted that his exit is amicable.
“Collaborating with Jon on the Spider-Man films has been a true pleasure. 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.”
Watt’s involvement in the Fantastic Four reboot was first announced by Feige during Disney’s Investor Day presentation in December 2020.
As for Watt’s other projects in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the report noted that Sony and producers of Spider-Man films “have made it clear” that they expect Watt’s return in the next film installments of Holland’s Peter Parker.
However, although Watt’s hasn’t officially dropped his director duties in the Spider-man franchise, Deadline noted that “if it were to happen, it does sound like it would be down the road.”
Aside from directing the highly-successful Spider-Man: No Way Home, which grossed $1.89 billion, Watts also shepherded the production of Holland’s first two films as Peter Parker: Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home.
The Fantastic Four, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, made its debut in Marvel Comics in 1961.
The group, composed of Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic), Susan Storm (Invisible Woman), Johnny Storm (Human Torch), and Ben Grimm (The Thing), gained their respective superpowers after being exposed to cosmic rays during a scientific mission in outer space.
A low budget film adaptation was first made in 1994, which starred Alex Hyde-White, Rebecca Staab, Jay Underwood, and Michael Bailey Smith. However, the film didn’t make it to theaters but became available as bootleg.
In 2005, 20th Century Fox released a second film adaptation of Fantastic Four and starred Ioan Gruffudd as Mister Fantastic, Jessica Alba as Invisible Woman, Chris Evans as Human Torch, and Michael Chiklis as The Thing.
A sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, premiered in 2007. Unfortunately, both films garnered mixed reviews from critics, with the first one garnering $330 million in worldwide box office. The sequel, on the other hand, earned $330.6 million.
Several years later, a reboot titled Fant4stic was released in theaters in 2015, which starred Miles Teller, Kata Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell. The superhero film, directed by Josh Trank, also garnered negative reviews and poor box office results.
Marvel has yet to reveal other details about the Fantastic Four film reboot including Watt's replacement and the film's release date.