WandaVision has already served up a few casting surprises, from bringing back forgotten faces to introducing classic comic characters, to resurrecting fallen heroes. However, I reckon the writers have been dangling the biggest reveal right under our noses this whole time. Next week, I think they’ll introduce the Fantastic Four.
Ever since Monica Rambeau was ejected from the Hex in episode three, she has mentioned an “aerospace engineer” friend who could help. Initially I thought – maybe hoped is the right word – that this would be Riri Williams, AKA Ironheart. She’s a young Tony Stark prodigy in the comics, and with our MCU Iron Man dead, the stage seemed set for her. Unfortunately, Rambeau has since referred to her engineer friend as “my guy”, meaning it’s probably a man, so Williams is out of the running.
That’s where Richards comes in. He lives in New York, so it makes sense for Rambeau to meet him “just over the ridge” from the edge of New Jersey, and he fits the description perfectly. Not just in the literal sense that he’s an aerospace engineer, but he needs to be a big name character given the hints the show has been dropping, and he has to be a genius to fit the idea that ‘only he can save us all, etc’. It might end up being a red herring, but it feels like everything points to Richards just enough for the dots to be connected without making it too obvious.
There’s also an alternative theory floating around about the Fantastic Four and WandaVision. In episode four, SWORD Director Hayward says, “half our astronauts are still missing,” which would fit the Fantastic Four’s origin story of getting their powers through a space accident. It also easily explains why they haven’t been in the MCU until this point.
This astronaut theory makes a lot of sense, and is similar to the idea that Endgame hinted at the arrival of Namor by discussing sea tremors off Wakanda. That theory hasn’t been proven or disproven yet, but I’d be willing to believe them both if WandaVision wasn’t hinting so damn hard that Richards is the aerospace engineer. It could even be both, with Richards contacting Rambeau post-blip, and trusting her because she was blipped too. That one’s a long shot though.
If you’re unaware about why the Fantastic Four haven’t been in the MCU so far despite being a legendary comic book team, it’s all down to licensing. Basically, Marvel Studios didn’t own the rights to them, Fox did, and the two companies were creating separate stories. It’s the same reason the X-Men were kept separate, and why we haven’t had a solo Hulk movie since 2008. For the record, Fox also owned Namor, though the studio never used him.
Recently though, Disney bought Fox Studios, and that means Marvel now owns the Fantastic Four again. Many fans expected the MCU to introduce the Fantastic Four slowly, given that the movie arcs are typically planned years in advance and introducing four iconic characters together upsets all that. However, WandaVision hasn’t been playing by the MCU rulebook of pacing itself when it comes to adding characters.
To date, the series has cast a bigger spotlight on Jimmy Woo, brought back Darcy Lewis, resurrected Pietro and Vision, and introduced Wiccan, Speed, Monica Rambeau, an-Earth based SWORD, and potentially Mephisto or Agatha Harkness. After Endgame and a pandemic-enforced year-long break, WandaVision feels like a mini reboot for the MCU as an entity. What better way to compound that than to introduce the most popular Marvel heroes still waiting to enter the MCU?
Reed Richards, I wish you were Riri Williams, but I’m still looking forward to meeting you this Friday. PS I hope you’re John Krasinski.
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Stacey Henley is an editor for TheGamer, and can often be found wandering new lands, exploring vast terrains, or journeying to the edge of the Earth, but only in video games. In real life, she normally stays home. Find her on Twitter @FiveTacey
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