Fantastic Four Behind MCU Phase 4’s Multiverse:
Marvel Cinematic Universe is going all out with its Phase 4. WandaVision kicked it off, and there have been many instances where fans instantly made a connection with a mysterious character to that of Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards. WandaVision has teased the introduction of a new character for two full episodes now. It has not been revealed yet, but the writers of the show have definitely dropped a huge clue regarding the character’s identity. Outside of the fact that this person is male, Monica (Teyonah Parris) referred to him as an “aerospace engineer”. And you know how the fans are. The moment this happened, theories came in flying left and right. They reveal that’s he a character associated with science has led to theories that the show is about to unveil the MCU’s Reed Richards ahead of its Fantastic Four movie.
An Omega-level mutant with the ability to warp reality at will, Franklin Richards (Reed and Susan’s son) has been a mainstay of Marvel’s comic book continuity since the late 1960s but has – thus far – yet to appear in any live-action adaptations. The MCU could introduce Franklin as a way to retroactively justify the Fantastic Four’s absence from the franchise, while also explaining why Marvel’s original superhero team is only being utilized now. Now it is said that Franklin could hold the secret being Phase 4’s Multiverse.
Introduced in Fantastic Four Annual #6, Franklin is the son of Reed and Susan Richards (Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman) and began to show signs of immense power as a toddler: the result of his parents’ radiation-altered genes. As an Omega-level mutant, Franklin is able to warp reality at will – rearranging the universe to suit his needs – and exists as one of the most potentially devastating forces in Marvel’s entire comic book continuity. Additionally, he is heavily implied to be immortal. Franklin is often portrayed as a young child and, thus, has limited awareness and control over his powers, while also drawing the attention of numerous cosmic threats that wish to utilize him for their own sinister ends. Essentially, he’s Marvel’s equivalent of Jack-Jack The Incredibles but dialed up to eleven – although this unpredictability could benefit the MCU in the long run.
Franklin’s immense power could well be too much for the MCU to handle, as after such a significant character is established, it becomes difficult to justify why he doesn’t simply solve every problem that occurs after his arrival. As such, the MCU might be inclined to pull back on Franklin’s power set – though such a decision would likely anger fans, keen to see Franklin at the height of his abilities (as per the comic book continuity). Instead, introducing Franklin as a baby would provide the justification as to why he can’t solve every problem – being largely unaware that they exist in the first place, given his underdeveloped mind. His powers, therefore, could take on a random (and occasionally devastating) quality that can hinder the MCU as much as help it – thus avoiding any power-balance issues. Franklin’s character might also seem old-hat by the time he makes his debut, with WandaVision already featuring Wanda and Vision’s super-powered offspring.
Curiously, Disney+’s other flagship show, The Mandalorian, also features a super-powered baby. As such, the trope will likely feel tired by the time Fantastic Four rolls around, though could be justified as a thematic link used throughout the MCU’s upcoming phases.