Jon Watts, the director of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” is exiting from his role as director of Marvel’s “Fantastic Four” movie.
Watts was first announced to direct the new take on “Fantastic Four” back in 2020, but his split from the new film is said to be amicable, and both Marvel and a rep for Watts confirmed his departure to TheWrap.
“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,” Kevin Feige, president, Marvel Studios, and Louis D’Esposito, co-president, Marvel Studios, said in a joint statement.
“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,” Watts added.
While the addition of the “Fantastic Four” to the MCU was an exciting announcement in the wake of Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, and a foregone conclusion that they would eventually make their appearance, we’ve heard next to nothing about the project dating back to Disney’s Investor Day in December 2020 when Watts was revealed as director.
Watts most recently directed “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” now the third-highest-grossing movie of all time, but back in September, he was reported to be directing and writing an untitled thriller that landed at Apple and would star George Clooney and Brad Pitt. He also recently joined HBO Max’s “Final Destination 6” as a producer.
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, “Fantastic Four” is the comic that started it all for Marvel. Though the group’s concept is pure weirdness — science genius Reed Richards, his best friend Ben Grimm, his girlfriend Sue Storm and her reckless brother, Johnny, are exposed to cosmic radiation and develop superpowers — the team was depicted as a dysfunctional but loving family unit. That idea helped launch what became known as “the Marvel revolution,” a shift in superhero comics that emphasized flawed protagonists expressing humanistic values who often had to resolve family, dating and even financial challenges while protecting the public from an increasingly packed roster of supervillains.
The “Fantastic Four” characters have appeared in four previous films: two 20th Century Fox movies directed by Tim Story, the 2015 flop directed by Josh Trank and an unreleased movie directed by Roger Corman that was made solely for Constantin Film to maintain film rights.
Deadline first reported the news.