Although Marvel's Fantastic Four film is a long way out and so many exciting MCU projects precede it, one person who's very excited for work to kick into high gear already is director Matt Shakman. After delivering Disney an Emmy-nominated hit with WandaVision, he was given the reins to Marvel's first family after Spider-Man trilogy director Jon Watts stepped down from the project. Shakman spoke to Collider's own Steve Weintraub about what it means to take over one of his favorite properties and work with characters he's always loved.

Fantastic Four is one of the more anticipated projects ahead with Phase 6 of the MCU. Although they're a fan-favorite superhero group, Marvel only just regained the film rights to the property back in 2019 with the purchase of 20th Century Fox, clearing the way for the first new film since 2015. Moreover, the team consisting of Reed Richards, Susan Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm hasn't received the best treatment in theaters thus far. The 2005 adaptation and its 2007 sequel from director Tim Story were both received poorly by critics and fans alike, though the 2015 attempted reboot was so disastrous that Fox had to scrap its planned follow-up. Shakman, alongside writers Jeff Kaplan and Ian Springer, now has the chance to control the fate of the team he loves for the better.

The director was over the moon to have the chance to not only bring them back to the big screen as part of the massive multiversal story arc. He told Weintraub:

"I have loved these characters since I was a kid so it is a huge joy to be able to work with them, spend time with them every day. To bring them into the MCU is also a huge joy. So it's that. It's just the excitement of being the kid who found them when I was six, seven, eight, and now being able to work with them on the big screen. It's amazing."

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in 'WandaVision'

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Shakman's Experience With WandaVision Will Help Him Approach Fantastic Four

For Shakman, WandaVision familiarized him with working with everyone at Marvel, and it's an environment he feels comfortable in with creating something like Fantastic Four. Although he was already on board a Star Trek sequel film, he vacated the director's chair to get another crack at helming something in the Marvel universe. The stakes are a bit higher this time around, however. While WandaVision was no small feat and paved the way for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (which, coincidentally, featured a Reed Richards variant played by John Krasinski), a film in the MCU that introduces a fan-favorite team like The Fantastic Four is a high-pressure follow-up.

Shakman enjoyed his time working with Marvel though, citing the tight-knit team of film lovers at its core. He feels that after WandaVision, everybody is in sync regarding where to head with Fantastic Four, adding:

"Marvel is a wonderful place to work. I was thrilled to be able to come back and work with them because even though they produce the biggest movies, it's a very small family of people that you're collaborating with. They're all lovely people who are passionate about what they do. So you are working with huge film fans, everyone is making the same movie, you're all moving in the same direction and that's just a joy. It's not very often that that happens, especially when you're dealing with something on a really large scale, like the [Fantastic Four]. It's really fun to be back. When you join something for the first time like I did on WandaVision, you're just meeting everybody for the first time. Now it feels like you're spending time with your family, which is wonderful and so it's a great office to show up to every day."

Fantastic Four Made the Most Sense for Shakman

It was clear that Shakman was going to have a place in the MCU's future after scoring two Emmy nominations with WandaVision, but the director said that Fantastic Four was just a natural fit for his next project over some of the other upcoming Marvel films. He dove into his love for the characters, citing the familial aspect of the team as a large reason why he enjoys these stories and even draws comparisons to Star Trek and its Enterprise crew. Through this, he explains how, for everyone involved, it was for the best that he take on The Fantastic Four film due to his understanding of the core values of the characters:

"[Fantastic Four] was just the film that made the most sense in conversation. It's the one that I think I naturally gravitate towards. You know, the reason I love Star Trek, I'm sure, is a big part of why I love the Fantastic Four. They share a great sense of optimism, the idea of looking to the stars, and technology can save everything, and coming together as a family, either a real family in the case of [Fantastic Four], or the family that you find in the case of the Enterprise. There's just a lot of things about the property that appealed to me and I'm thrilled that I was able to be the one that could do it."

Stay tuned here at Collider for more on Shakman's Fantastic Four film. Keep an eye out for our full interview with the director and see a previous discussion with him about WandaVision below.