Forget Doctor Doom, This Fantastic Four Villain Would Be Even Better for the Movie

The Fantastic Four movie doesn't necessarily need Doctor Doom as its main villain. There's another great option for the Marvel movie.

Fantastic Four Cast
Photo: Marvel Studios

Marvel’s First Family is finally on its way to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Matt Shakman’s Fantastic Four hitting screens in 2025. From the ashes of Tim Story’s two noughties movies and Josh Trank’s maligned Fantastic Four, here’s hoping it’s third time lucky for Reed Richards, Sue and Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm.

Boasting an all-star cast of Pedro Pascal, Vanessa Kirby, Joseph Quinn, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach, the team is up there with the arrival of the X-Men in terms of MCU hype. While recent MCU entries have faltered at the box office, Fantastic Four has the potential to go all the way. The question is, has Shakman learned from the mistakes of the past, or will this be another rinse-and-repeat introduction of the iconic superhero team? 

We’re All Doom-ed 

Alongside the titular quartet, there are questions about who will be the big bad of Fantastic Four. An easy option would be Victor von Doom, who is an iconic enemy of not only the Fantastic Four but also the wider Marvel Universe. Similar to how the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield eras of Spider-Man both leaned on the Green Goblin, there are sure to be complaints if we see Doctor Doom causing trouble for the Fantastic Four…again. Remember, Story’s Fantastic Four cast Julian McMahon as Doom, while Toby Kebbell played him in the Trank version.

The MCU hasn’t confirmed what’s happening in the aftermath of the Jonathan Majors incident, with some suggesting they’ll recast Kang the Conqueror and others saying we’re moving away from the character in favor of another overarching villain like Doctor Doom. We’re still not sure about those wild theories that Doctor Doom popped up in the Deadpool & Wolverine trailer, although the impending Secret Wars adaptation and the fact a copy of Secret Wars #5 featuring Doom on the cover appeared in the trailer suggest he could be on the way.

Ad – content continues below

Scooper Jeff Sneider claims Doctor Doom won’t be the main antagonist of Fantastic Four but could be saved for a last-minute cameo. When Marvel announced the cast on Feb. 14, eagle-eyed fans spotted a copy of Life Magazine from 1963. Along with the ‘60s aesthetic, it suggests that the movie will take place around this time period. It would make sense if Doom appeared in the present-day MCU as a future threat for the team.

We can also speculate about how the Fantastic Four could end up in the modern day. Following in the footsteps of Captain America going under the ice, perhaps Marvel’s First Family became trapped in the cosmos in the ’60s, explaining why they weren’t around to help tackle Thanos. Could it be a nefarious Doctor Doom that brings them to the future or discovers them lost in space? 

A bigger question: does the Fantastic Four movie need Doctor Doom at all?

Mole Man? We ‘Dig’ It

There’s an untapped rogues gallery of Fantastic Four villains, and despite Sneider maintaining Galactus will be the antagonist of the team’s origin story, we don’t see a franchise-shattering villain like the Devourer of Worlds being introduced here. Options from Psycho-Man to Molecule Man offer Fantastic Four a chance to give someone else a time to shine, although there’s another perfect candidate waiting in the wings.

As the first foe the Fantastic Four faced, and dubbed Marvel Comics’ first true villain by some, it would make a lot of sense for the Mole Man to show up in Shakman’s movie as the introductory baddie that unites the team. Appearing in 1961’s Fantastic Four #1, Harvey Rupert Elder was an outcast scientist who fell into the underground realm of Subterranea. Damaging his eyesight and taking on the mantle of Mole Man, Elder found his place as the leader of the Moloids and became a recurring thorn in the Fantastic Four’s side. Although we’re reminded of The Incredibles’ campy the Underminer, Mole Man could get an MCU-inspired revamp akin to Michael Keaton’s Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming

A partially blind, short guy, ruling over cave-dwelling creatures is very much a product of the ‘60s, but that hasn’t stopped Mole Man from becoming a more serious threat over the years in the comics. Mole Man is known for his Deviant-bred monsters, and as well as giving a potential tie to Eternals, the MCU could deliver a real monster movie akin to Kong: Skull Island. If not, Mole Man’s first scheme of trying to trigger a nuclear World War III by setting the monstrous Giganto on chemical power plants would be easy to adapt into a ‘60s-set Fantastic Four movie. X-Men: First Class put its own spin on the Cuban Missile Crisis with great success, and as the US was still testing nuclear weapons in the Pacific Ocean in 1962, picture the scene where this forces Mole Man to come to the surface.

Ad – content continues below

The MCU loves a sympathetic villain, and like Homecoming’s Vulture was a family man pushed too far, a twist on 1983’s Fantastic Four #264 would showcase a different side to Mole Man while also giving him a motive for revenge. Here, a villain called Alden Mass causes the Human Torch to expand the Earth’s core and inadvertently flood Mole Man’s kingdom with lava. Mole Man then kidnaps The Thing and unleashes his monsters. The issue ended with an uneasy Mole Man alliance and caused ongoing tensions between Grimm and the rest of the team – presumably seeing how easily he could become an outcast.

Mole Man’s mantra that you don’t have to be stereotypically pretty to be accepted would make for a typically misunderstood MCU villain, but let’s not forget some of his darker elements. Mole Man can be a sinister villain whose done everything from exhuming bodies to sacrificing his Moloids as a vindictive slaver. He even tried to blackmail Squirrel Girl into marrying him at one point. Still, with many writing Mole Man off as a Silver Age relic these days, it would be interesting to see what the MCU could do with a modernized version.

As for who we see as the perfect Mole Man, you don’t have to look far to find Danny DeVito topping any list of Mole Man fan castings. Similar to his legendary performance as the shunned Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin in Batman Returns, we know he’d be able to pull off a menacing Mole Man. It’s also worth noting that DeVito is a staple of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which Shakman has directed 43 episodes of…

Assuming Fantastic Four is a success, we’ll hopefully see more of the team and explore their other villains. A late entry from Doctor Doom could set him up for a sequel, but he’s more likely to play a bigger part in the larger Multiverse Saga. So much hinging on Fantastic Four makes it tempting to roll out the big guns like Doctor Doom. But this movie is also a chance to sever ties to the team’s checkered live-action past and give a D-tier villain like Mole Man one of those origin story revamps the MCU has always been so good at. 

Fantastic Four hits theaters in July 25, 2025.