Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ best cameo is the appearance of John Krasinski as Reed Richards, leader of the Fantastic Four. The MCU has always tied its Masters of the Mystic Arts to the multiverse, with the Ancient One explaining sorcerers draw power from other dimensions and use it to reshape reality. The multiverse lies at the heart of the MCU’s Phase 4 slate, which naturally means Doctor Strange was always going to be caught up in the chaos.
It’s easy to see why Marvel is attracted to the idea of the multiverse. On an emotional level, it allows heroes to face the question of what kind of person they might have been had they made a slightly different decision; it plays on hopes and fears, grief and regret. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness explored this idea, with Strange forced to ask whether his character flaws were something of a multiversal constant. But variants also serve as an ideal way to set up exciting cameos – Richard E. Grant as an older Loki, for example, or the return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Naturally, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness indulges in the opportunity to add some cool cameos. This is accomplished through the simple plot device of assembling the Illuminati, a secret group of powerful superheroes who operate on Earth-838 and protect their dimension from multiversal threats. Members of the Illuminati include Patrick Stewart as a variant of Professor X, as well as Hayley Atwell playing a live-action variant of Captain Carter, the first Avenger in her timeline. But the best cameo of all is an appearance by John Krasinski, who appears as Earth-838’s Mr. Fantastic.
John Krasinski Plays Mister Fantastic – American film and TV star John Krasinski has long been a popular fan-cast for the part of Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic, leader of the team known as the Fantastic Four; there have been calls for Emily Blunt to play his wife the Invisible Woman as well. The idea gained particular traction after Marvel Studios regained the film rights to the Fantastic Four, with fans creating art imagining what he’d look like if he played Reed Richards; Krasinski loved the idea of playing Mr. Fantastic, responding positively when questioned about it in interviews. “I would love to be in the Marvel universe,” he confirmed in one interview back in 2020. “I love those movies because they’re fun, but I also think they’re really well done.” In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the fan-casts have become a reality, with John Krasinski introduced as the Mr. Fantastic of Earth-838. This iteration of Reed Richards is a seasoned superhero, leader of the Fantastic Four and husband of the Invisible Woman; he even makes a reference to having children when confronting Scarlet Witch, although his attempt to appeal to Wanda Maximoff’s humanity only manages to get her to check whether their mother is still alive before she kills him. Presumably Reed Richards was Ultron’s creator in this universe, explaining why the Ultron sentries work for the Illuminati.
Upcoming MCU Movies – This will naturally lead to speculation around the idea that Krasinski and Blunt could join the MCU’s Fantastic Four, given a separate Fantastic Four project is now in the works at Marvel Studios. Some variants are very different, allowing for multiple actors to play the same character; Spider-Man: No Way Home riffed on this idea, while Loki introduced variants of the trickster god who were most unlike the mainstream MCU version. But that is not necessarily the case, as proven by Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, where Benedict Cumberbatch played multiple versions of Stephen Strange. What is now certain is that Krasinski plays at least one variant of Reed Richards, which means he really could be the leader of the Fantastic Four in the main MCU timeline (Earth-616) as well. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness did subtly offer some details about the MCU’s version of the Fantastic Four, however. Doctor Strange was unable to take the Illuminati seriously, openly mocking Black Bolt for the “tuning fork” on his forehead and similarly unimpressed by Mr. Fantastic. Many have argued the Fantastic Four should be written into the MCU’s history, but Strange had clearly never heard of them, instead dropping a Beatles joke when he heard the team’s name. If Krasinski does indeed wind up playing the mainstream MCU’s Reed Richards, it will likely be a version of the character who has yet to be bombarded by cosmic rays.
Emily Blunt Mister Fantastic’s – John Krasinski’s appearance as Reed Richards in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness naturally raises the question of whether Marvel intend to cast Emily Blunt as (at least one variant of) the Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic’s wife and the most powerful member of the Fantastic Four. Unfortunately Blunt hasn’t been as enthusiastic about the Fantastic Four, largely because she’s tired of being asked about it. She’s made clear she’d only be interested in playing a superhero if the script was right, meaning she’s unlikely to be interested in the same kind of cameo seen with Krasinski in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The Fantastic Four Movie – Marvel is officially rebooting the Fantastic Four, although a release date has yet to be announced; the production still seems to be still in the early stages of development. There had been rumors Fantastic Four would begin filming sometime in 2023, but these now seem rather more unlikely given Jon Watts has recently stepped down as director, wanting to take a break from superhero movies after his three Spider-Man films. Hopefully John Krasinski’s appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will reignite interest in Marvel’s most famous superhero family, prompting the studio to reveal more about its plans for the Fantastic Four.