Will Marvel’s ‘Fantastic Four’ Copy The Best Sci-Fi Show On TV?

The Fantastic Four are back, and now they’re in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But will their movie be a period piece? On Valentine’s Day, Marvel Studios released a tantalizing promo image with several Easter eggs. Two particular details suggest that not only will Marvel’s Fantastic Four be set in the 1960s, it could introduce an alternate history of spaceflight to the MCU. If any of this sounds familiar, it should; an alternate spaceflight timeline is a very popular sci-fi trope right now. Is Marvel borrowing a premise from For All Mankind?

Is Marvel’s Fantastic Four set in the 1960s?

In our timeline, the first issue of The Fantastic Four dropped in the fall of 1961. Like many popular Marvel characters, this superhero team comes from the Silver Age, making them all a bit edgier than their Golden Age predecessors. The early tone and writing of The Fantastic Four is a perfect example of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee honing the Marvel formula, and whatever you think of the MCU, those comics are a great example of how we got here. But is this movie going back to its ‘60s roots?

That seems like a safe guess. The teaser’s entire design recalls 1960s advertisements. Director Matt Shakman also directed WandaVision, a series inspired by several decades of classic TV, including the ‘60s. WandaVision is unique in the annals of the MCU, but it seems like a waste of Shakman if this new movie doesn’t have some kind of retro angle.

Finally, The Thing (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) is reading a copy of Life featuring President Lyndon B. Johnson, which would have been on newsstands in December 1963. On Twitter, Discussing Film argued this could put the movie in 1963, but because the image seems to depict Valentine’s Day 1964, it seems like Ben is catching up on the issue a couple of months later.

How Marvel could borrow from For All Mankind

For All Mankind rewrote the 1960s. Will The Fantastic Four follow suit?


In addition to all this, The Thing is sitting underneath a portrait of himself dressed in astronaut gear before he was transformed by cosmic rays. The portrait’s style is very reminiscent of Buzz Aldrin’s official NASA portrait prior to Apollo 11. The moon landing was in 1969, but is The Fantastic Four dealing with an alternate version of NASA?

If The Fantastic Four is set in the 1960s and keeps the original origin story — that the four were given spacey superpowers — then we’ve automatically got an alternate history of spaceflight. This would run counter to established MCU history, which could suggest Fantastic Four is set elsewhere in the multiverse, at least initially. Marvel doing an alternate history of spaceflight starting in the 1960s would also very much be the premise of For All Mankind. There, the Soviet Union beats the United States to the moon, kicking off a broadening chain of events that encompasses several decades.

Could the MCU also be creating an alternate timeline that explores a huge chunk of history? Marvel fans will want to know how the new Fantastic Four fit into the MCU’s large and complex continuity, while NASA geeks will be interested to learn what version of the 1960s this superteam lives in. The MCU has always had fun with retrofuturism, but The Fantastic Four could transform the idea into an entirely new timeline.

Marvel’s Fantastic Four hits theaters on July 25, 2025.