The Marvel Cinematic Universe has always drawn strong performers to its ever-growing superhero universe. It was even confirmed that Keanu Reeves has been approached multiple times by the studio to join the cast of one of its films.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige revealed as much during the press tour for the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home. Feige explained that Marvel has approached Reeves for multiple roles over the years, saying that "“we talk to him for almost every film we make. I don’t know when, if, or ever he’ll join the MCU, but we very much want to figure out the right way to do it.”
The repeated conversations suggest that Reeves may be closer than ever to actually take a role in the universe. The rights for the perfect Reeves character even just returned to Marvel as a part of the acquisition of Fox by Disney. Keanu Reeves would be perfect as the next Mister Fantastic in the upcoming MCU arrival of the Fantastic Four.
Getting Into The Keanu Business
Keanu Reeves has been having something of a career resurrection recently. Part of that has come from the reminders of just how much range he has as a performer. The John Wick franchise has proven to audiences just how good the 54-year old actor can be in action films. Meanwhile, his hilarious self-deprecating appearance in the Ali Wong/Randall Park rom-com Always Be My Maybe, coupled with his charming sense of disconnect in Destination Wedding showcase the range the actor has in his repertoire.
Taking on Mister Fantastic would give Reeves a different sort of character to portray. The super scientist leader of the Fantastic Four is far less physical than someone like John Wick, but he shares an apparent apathy that Wick also puts on, one that Reeves could easily play with. Reed Richards is always working on 90 things in his head at once, even when he should be enjoying time with his family or fighting super villains. Reeves would be perfectly able to convey that outwardly aloof facade for both laughs and drama. His talents would compliment the character well, giving him the apparent simplicity but surprising depth that the best versions of Reed Richards have always displayed.
A Different Fantastic Four
If Reeves took on the role of Mister Fantastic, he would be (by far) the oldest incarnation of the character. Ioan Gruffudd was in his early 30's when he appeared as Reed Richards in the original Fox Fantastic Four films. Miles Teller was only 28 when he showed up as the character in 2015's Fantastic Four reboot. Reeves would easily have decades on them if he were to become Mister Fantastic. On top of that age difference fitting in with the general role of his character within the Marvel Universe as a well-versed and world-famous scientific genius, it would also help the MCU Fantastic Four stand out from those other films.
Those earlier Fox attempts at the Fantastic Four endeavored to make the team feel young and hip. But that's never really been the main draw of the Fantastic Four. The team has always been defined as being a family above all else. Leaning into that tone would fit with the general concept of the team. Plus, with the MCU looking younger than ever thanks to a new influx of legacy heroes and fresh talent, having a team of seasoned vets would help the Fantastic Four stand out from the crowd of other MCU heroes. This could allow the films to focus more on a family of explorers, as any good Fantastic Four story should.
It wouldn't even be impossible to age Reeves down if need be. The de-aging technology used on Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel was notably advanced, helping the actor appear twenty years younger without any of the uncanny valley effects earlier de-aging effects had. This could even be used briefly during a prologue, to explain what happened to Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben. Rumors have circulated about the potential story of the eventual film, although some of them were reportedly shot down earlier this summer.
One of the rumored ideas would reveal the Fantastic Four were formed in the 1960s, but the team was thought lost during an interdimensional expedition into either the Negative Zone or the Quantum Realm. This could offer a handy explanation for why the characters had been missing from the MCU for so long, and how they could have developed their powers while they were gone. It would also offer an easy reason why they'd aged to a certain point, but not beyond that.
The events of Endgame could have weakened the barriers between reality, allowing the Fantastic Four to finally try and return home to a radically different world. This could allow Reeves to be digitally de-aged for the beginning of the film. Then, it would allow the actor the chance to give his world-weary coolness to the notoriously prickly but well-meaning Richards. Seriously, Reeves would make for a perfect version of Mister Fantastic, and it would be a fantastic mistake if the MCU failed to deliver.