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The Silver Surfer Has Apparently Been Cast For Marvel's Fantastic Four Reboot, But Not The Version Anyone Expected

 Silver Surfer from Marvel.
Silver Surfer from Marvel.

Although The Silver Surfer has long stood as one of Marvel’s most popular cosmic characters, it’s thanks to the Fantastic Four that he exists, with Norrin Radd debuting in the pages of 1966’s The Fantastic Four #48. As such, it was fitting that the hero was used in 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, with Doug Jones physically playing him and Laurence Fishburne voicing him. Now it’s being reported that Marvel Studios’ Fantastic Four reboot will also use Silver Surfer and the role has already been cast, but it won’t be the version of the character anyone expected.

Word’s come in from Deadline that Julia Garner from the TV shows Ozark and Inventing Anna, both of which can be streamed with a Netflix subscription, has been cast as a female version of Silver Surfer in the upcoming Marvel movie. Rather than portraying Norrin Radd as a woman, this version of the character will be Shalla-Bal, whom is traditionally depicted as Norrin’s love interest from his homeworld of Zenn-La. Assuming this casting for The Fantastic Four is legit, this is the second tentpole release Garner has lined up, as she’s also appearing in Wolf Man.

Julia Garner plays Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin on Inventing Anna.
Julia Garner plays Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin on Inventing Anna.

Technically speaking, this doesn’t count as the Marvel Cinematic gender-flipping another character (for example, Mar-Vell in Captain Marvel) since, as mentioned, Shalla-Bal already hails from the comics. That being said, what I’m curious about now is if this version of Shalla-Bal will basically be Norrin-Radd in everything but name, or if her relationship with Norrin will remain intact, but in this version of history, it was her who became Galactus’ herald rather than Norrin.

Speaking of which, it’s interesting that Deadline’s report describes Julia Garner’s Shalla-Bal as “a version of Silver Surfer.” There’s been speculation that The Fantastic Four is set in a different corner of the Marvel multiverse rather than its main reality. If that’s the case, then perhaps that means the universe in which most MCU stories take place has a more traditional version of Silver Surfer, i.e. Norrin-Radd, flying around. On the other hand, if the events of The Fantastic Four see the title quartet being transported to the main MCU reality, perhaps Garner’s Shalla-Bal will join them, in which case it’s a moot point.

In any case, if Julia Garner is indeed joining The Fantastic Four, that makes its the fifth cast member. So far the official lineup consists of Pedro Pascal as Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic, Vanessa Kirby as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Ben Grimm/The Thing and Joseph Quinn as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch. WandaVision’s Matt Shakman is directing the feature, and Josh Friedman, Jeff Kaplan and Ian Springer worked on the script.

The Fantastic Four is due out in theaters on July 25, 2025, with production scheduled to begin this summer. While we wait for confirmation or debunking of Julia Garner’s casting and other news about the reboot, break out your Disney+ subscription if you’d like to stream Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and its 2005 predecessor.