When Marvel announced they were making their own Fantastic Four movie at Disney’s Investor Day back in 2020, they didn’t have a cast to promote, but they did have a director: Jon Watts, who’d already made two successful Spider-Man movies with Tom Holland, and would later direct No Way Home, which became one of the biggest blockbusters in history. That alone gave fans reason for hope after three dubious to downright awful previous Fantastic Four movie franchises.

But now Watts is gone, as confirmed by statements from both Watts himself and from Marvel. Watts explained (via Deadline) that making three Spider-Man movies “was an incredible and life changing experience for me” and that he was “eternally grateful to have been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for seven years” and “hopeful we’ll work together again.” (Deadline wrote that Watts “needs a breather” after working on Spider-Man pretty much non-stop for the last seven years.)

Here’s what Marvel’s Kevin Feige said about Watts’ departure:

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.

Now the search will begin for a new director to helm what is considered one of Marvel’s biggest franchises, even if the previous movies — including a doomed Roger Corman produced project that never got released, two middling Fox movies from the mid 2000s, and one disastrous reboot from 2015 directed by Josh Trank — have not lived up to the concept’s box office potential. It was the first superhero comic created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and is considered one of their signature works, and the book that launched the Marvel age of comics.

Watts already has another project in the works outside of Marvel; a film starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt for Apple. What this all means for the future of the Spider-Man franchise is unclear.

Marvel’s Complete Upcoming Phase Four Movie Lineup

Here’s every movie Marvel currently has scheduled for release in Phase Four of their cinematic universe.
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