The Rock should play The Thing in the MCU

By Stephen Ippolito | Feb. 23, 2020

After Disney’s acquisition of Fox last year, The Fantastic Four and X-Men’s film rights moved to Marvel Studios. Fan’s dream of Wolverine fighting alongside the Avengers on the big screen moved closer to reality. Other than last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios has been tight-lipped on when the two famous superhero teams will join the MCU.

This hasn’t stopped fans from sharing their dream casting and making fan art. The most popular ones have been John Krasinski and Emily Blunt as Reed and Sue Storm (Aka Mister Fantastic and Invisible Women). Personally, I think this would be a perfect choice that I hope comes true. I however, have come up with my own dream casting that I hope happens, but probably won’t for multiple reasons. That Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson should play the Fantastic Four’s The Thing.

The Thing was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1961. As said he is a member of the superhero team, the ‘Fantastic Four’. Also known as ‘Ben Grimm,’ he gained his powers when he and the rest of the team were exposed to Cosmic Energy during space exploration. Appearing as a rock shaped humanoid, his powers include super strength and near invulnerability from physical attacks. Strength wise, he is among the strongest in the Marvel Universe and has shown to withstand his own against even the Hulk.  He also regularly adds humor to the stories, and is known for his famous punchline, “It’s Clobbering Time.”

He has been plated by three different actors in live-action films. Michael Bailey Smith and Carl Ciarfalio played the character in the now-famous low budget adaption of the Fantastic Four that was made in 1994 but never released. In 2005, Michael Chiklis played Grimm in Fox’s take on “Marvel’s first family.” He would also reprise the character in 2007 for its sequel The Rise of The Silver Surfer. Finally, Jamie Bell played Grimm in Fox’s failed reboot of the series in 2015. Unlike Chiklis’ take, this version of the big rock guy was all CGI. Chiklis’ version was mostly costume, but some scenes were CGI, specifically fights.

Why It Should Happen:

1. His name literally has the word “rock” in it

The Thing looks like a rock, so what better reason is there then to give Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson the role. It may not be the most sound reason, but it just seems like a sign that he was destined for this role.

2. Would create unthinkable “buzz” for the film

If you didn’t think the Fantastic Four had any “buzz” joining the MCU, this would deliver it. Johnson is a global star whose film franchises (Fast and Furious, Jumanji) have done quite well at the global box office. If there was any question that it was a financial risk to do another reboot, I don’t think they’re actually is, then this would erase that instantly.

3. Johnson is a perfect fit

He would be a good fit for the character in terms of personality. Like I mentioned earlier, in the comics, Grimm time from time provides light humor to soften the story. Nearly all of Johnson’s roles in film are just that. A character seen as a hero, big, strong, tough, but also provides a few laughs to make the story more enjoyable. This is precisely how the Grimm is portrayed.

If Johnson plays the role, I still think Grimm’s rock form should be all CGI like Bell’s was in 2015. Even at 6’5″, Johnson’s height and big frame is still not near the like of Ben Grimm’s modern take, which is around 7 feet tall.  As we saw in Avengers: Endgame with Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, it is possible to display an actor’s appearance in a taller/bigger role. During shooting, actors would wear a green screen type suit that can make their appearance change in post-editing. This is how I would hope Johnson’s “Thing” would be seen.

Reasons Why It Won’t Happen:

1. His schedule is too busy

Johnson is a very busy actor who makes multiple big-budget films along with TV shows and specials every year. Even with the film still at least three years out, it’s hard to predict Johnson’s availability. Delays in production happen all the time, and the Studio may feel with too much riding on this “big debut,” it may not be worth the risk.

2. He’s already doing Black Adam

From a contract standpoint, he may not be allowed to do it.  Johnson is already attached to another Superhero project called Black Adam. The DC anti-hero is set to begin filming later this year, with a release date slated for December 2021. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes clauses are put into contracts to prevent actors from playing similar roles with rival studios that would conflict with their release. It’s not known, but Warner Media, who’s backing the film, could have done just that. Also, Marvel Studios could feel that marketing Johnson as another Superhero could be too conflicting. With his current global appeal however, that seems unlikely.

3. He may be too old

The final reason, and perhaps most logical, is that he may be too old. At 47, Johnson’s appearance still allows him to play roles set in their 30s. However, if Marvel Studios decides to take a similar route as Fox did in the 2015 version, it could set all the characters in their early 20s. It’s not known or even reported on how the fan-favorite team will be portrayed, but it is a possibility. If true, it would instantly rule him out. Sadly enough, this would also rule fan’s dreams of John Krasinski and Emily Blunt as Reed Richards and Sue Storm.

Who knows what will happen with how the film shapes out. Outside of Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige’s comments at Comic-Con in 2019 that a Fantastic Four movie is “happening,” there has been no new information on it. Fans, like myself, are left to wonder how the team will make its MCU debut. Even though my selection may seem farfetched or insane to some people, it sure is fun to dream.

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