Rumor: Pedro Pascal Tapped To Play Reed Richards in ‘Fantastic Four’ Because Kevin Feige Thought Cast Was “Way Too White”

Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us (2023), HBO

The latest rumor surrounding Marvel Studios’ upcoming Fantastic Four film is that Pedro Pascal was tapped to play Reed Richards because Kevin Feige believed the cast was “way too white.”

Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us (2023), HBO

This latest rumor comes from scooper Jeff Sneider who detailed that Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige conducted screen tests for Reed Richards before the SAG-AFTRA strike went in to effect.

The screen tests included Jamie Dornan and Christopher Abbott, but allegedly they did not go well. Marvel Studios then approached Jake Gyllenhaal as well as Adam Driver, but they reportedly wanted too much money.

As for the rest of Marvel’s first family, Feige and Marvel Studios were happy with Vanessa Kirby as Sue Storm, Joseph Quinn as Johnny Storm, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Ben Grimm.

Fantastic Four Visionaries: Walter Simonson Vol. 1 TPB (2007), Marvel Comics

Not only was Gyllenhaal reportedly too expensive, but Sneider detailed that Feige “feared that the cast was ‘way too white’ in the words of one insider. Reed Richards would be the character eyed to diversify the cast.”

Enter Pedro Pascal. He and his team reportedly engaged with Feige and Marvel Studios following the strike’s conclusion. The two parties came to an agreement with Marvel Studios offering to work with Pascal regarding his schedule for other projects such as The Last of Us, Gladiator 2, and Weapons.

Pedro Pascal attends ‘The Forge’ experience inspired by the Star Wars series The Mandalorian, to celebrate the launch of The Mandalorian Season 3 on February 22, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by for Disney)

Sneider believes Pascal is now confirmed as Mr. Fantastic. However, it might not be a done deal. Deadline’s Justin Kroll reports, “a deal is far from done.”

However, Kroll does not that Pascal is in talks with Marvel Studios to take on the role. The main issue with Pascal is scheduling.

Kroll reports, “Insiders add that scheduling is still being worked out, but multiple sources close to the negotiations are saying it’s headed in the right direction for Pascal to do this and his other future projects.”

The Fantastic Four film is expected to begin shooting early next year at Pinewood Studios in the United Kingdom.

Fantastic Four #510 (2004), Marvel Comics

The idea that Kevin Feige would believe the cast is “way too white” is plausible. Feige made it abundantly clear that the reason Eternals was pushed to the front of the company’s production schedule was because it changed the characters’ race, gender, and sexuality.

He told Variety, “Well, the notion of switching up the genders, sexualities and ethnicities of the characters from the comics, was baked in initially — that was part of what Nate Moore was really advocating for in moving “Eternals” to the top of the list for us to start working on.”

Dominique Thorne and Kevin Feige attend the Ant-Man and The Wasp Quantumania World Premiere at the Regency Village Theatre on Monday, February 6, 2023 in Westwood, CA. (Photo:Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

The Walt Disney Company, Marvel Studios’ parent company, also has a number of racist casting policies on the books.

On the company’s Reimagine Tomorrow website they previously noted that, “By 2022, 50% of regular and recurring characters across Disney General Entertainment scripted content will come from underrepresented groups.”

The Walt Disney Company’s Reimagine Tomorrow Website

That entry has since been deleted and updated with a new one that reads, “We are committed to inspiring a more inclusive world by reimagining the way we tell stories and who tells them. Our intention is to broaden access and diversity in our industry by adopting inclusion standards across Disney General Entertainment* and live-action Studio productions by the end of 2022, with the goal of advancing representation in front of and behind the camera, in marketing and more.”

They then link to ABC Entertainment’s Inclusion Standards, which detail specific quotas their movies and shows must adhere to.

ABC Entertainment Inclusion Standards

What do you make of this rumor that Pascal is being eyed as Reed Richards because Feige believed the cast for the film was “way too white?”

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