Marvel has reportedly met with Adam Driver to discuss his potential casting as Doctor Doom in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Per Sneider’s contact – someone Sneider said is “unproven” during a segment of the latest episode of The Hot Mic podcast (opens in new tab) – Driver has talked to Marvel about playing the Fantastic Four’s legendary adversary. Not only that, but Sneider’s contact also suggested that Marvel Studios discussed the possibility of Driver playing Reed Richards, aka Mister Fantastic, instead of Doom.
This new Fantastic Four casting rumor follows the wild speculation that radio host Howard Stern was set to play Doom in a Marvel project – something he later confirmed to be a tasty bout of trolling (thanks to Reddit for the catch). The Stern and Driver conjecture comes months after it seemed Marvel was ready to cast the iconic superhero quartet, too, which numerous outlets (us included) reported on in January.
Sneider goes on to add that Driver had previously been tapped by Marvel and DC to appear in the MCU and DCEU respectively back in 2013, but he turned them down in favor of starring in that famous galaxy far, far away. That tracks as, in February 2014, Driver was cast as Kylo Ren for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
The only thing that doesn’t line up, based on what Sneider’s contact has heard, is when Driver is rumored to have met with Marvel, and how that factors into his potential casting.
Sneider stated that Driver held talks with the Disney subsidiary around July and August. However, despite rumors flying around the internet that Marvel would unveil its Fantastic Four cast at D23 Expo 2022, that speculation proved to be just that – i.e. speculative.
Post-event, Deadline reporter Justin Kroll suggested that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige doesn’t make big casting decisions without a film’s director in place (opens in new tab). Given that WandaVision’s Matt Shakman wasn’t installed as Fantastic Four’s director until D23 Expo 2022 – he was said to be helming the Marvel movie in late August, though – it seems this Driver MCU rumor might be nothing more than a tentative chat about the actor’s willingness to join the hugely popular cinematic franchise.
Additionally, much will depend on whether Driver wants to sign onto another massive Disney-owned property. The Oscar-nominated star may have had his fill of big-budget film franchises with Star Wars. Based on his recent selection of movies, he seems happy to be pursuing roles in films that don’t require a multi-year and multi-movie commitment.
Still, someone of Driver’s quality and star power would be a coup for Marvel, regardless of how popular the MCU is. He’d certainly get bums on seats and it would be fascinating to see him feature in the Marvel Phase 6 superhero film (and other MCU projects) no matter which role he’d potentially fill.
Marvel’s Fantastic Four movie is currently slated to arrive on February 14, 2025.
Analysis: which Fantastic Four role is Driver most suited for?
Curiously, we think Driver would be an ideal hire for either role.
Fans of Driver’s work already know he could play Doctor Doom to perfection. Driver has the emotional depth and acting range to pull off Doom’s tortured soul, angst-laden personality, and conflicted loyalties in a way we haven’t properly seen on the big screen before. Driver’s ability to bring subtle and nuanced humor to a role like Doom would also be hugely beneficial, what with the MCU being a franchise packed with amusing moments and quotable quips.
The only downside to casting Driver as Doom is the supervillain’s penchant for wearing his iconic mask. Reed Richards’ archnemesis was scarred during an accident in his younger years, so he hides his face behind a metallic mask due to his paranoia and fear of what people will think of him. You know, outside of the death and destruction he regularly causes.
If Doom wears his mask in the MCU, Marvel will deprive audiences of seeing Driver’s full range of acting, with his expressive face a major sell for any role Driver embodies. If Driver was hired to play the Latverian monarch, Marvel would need to ensure we see Doom remove his mask every so often, so audiences can, well, marvel at Driver’s intense and evocative facial expressions.
On the flip side, Driver would equally be as compelling as Reed Richards. The fan favorite hero is renowned for his stretch-based superpowers, and Driver has the physicality and gangly anatomy to pull off those specific abilities. That is, before the VFX team give his limbs that extra-stretchy aesthetic.
Furthermore, we’ve seen Driver play conflicted characters on multiple occasions throughout his career. How cool would it be to see him portray an out-and-out hero for once, particularly in a setting like the MCU? Again, he has the acting range to embody Richards in a crowd-pleasing manner. He also has the star power and persona of someone who could lead a superhero team, though there might be concerns among some fans that he’s a bit too softly spoken for Richards – that he may stuggle to capture the chiseled, square-jawed look of the character as he’s seen in the comics.
Marvel’s Fantastic Four film is expected to begin filming sometime in 2023. That seems increasingly likely to happen, with Shakman and its executive producers now in place. So, if the studio has plans on getting this movie off the ground sooner rather than later, it’ll need to have its cast in place in the next few months. If Driver is a part of that, we’ll be happy with whichever role he’s chosen for.