Netflix’s White Noise is proof that Adam Driver would nail it as the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The following spoilers for White Noise, now streaming on Netflix.
For some time, Adam Driver has been linked to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as its Reed Richards. It doesn’t seem like Marvel Studios is moving forward with John Krasinski after his appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, so it’s no surprise rumors are once more surfacing about Driver’s connection to the planned Fantastic Four project. He has worked with Disney as Kylo Ren, after all, and delivered emotive performances in the likes of Marriage Story, with his career now leaning more into action, per the upcoming dino-hunting 65.
Some would argue that Marvel should seek a lesser-known actor with less pressure on their shoulders, while others believe Hollywood A-listers might phone in these roles — a concern critics had with Natalie Portman before Thor: Love and Thunder. However, after Netflix’s White Noise, it’s clear Driver would make the ideal Reed Richards due to how he handles the concept of family as a flawed husband and father.
White Noise Had Driver’s Jack as a Haunted Father
In White Noise, Jack’s a very driven lecturer who is focused on Hitler studies in America. However, he has to care for his wife Babette and their children when a toxic cloud spreads over their town, which sends them on the run. Luckily, Jack keeps the blended family together, not caring that some of them have a different dad. He makes it his duty to secure them in the car to avoid looters and riots while becoming engrossed by the surrounding science.
Jack ends up being isolated from his family, wondering if he became infected and if contaminants got to them. As such, he has to help them understand the science behind the ordeal while assuaging their panic. It’s the same cadence many Fantastic Four beats touch on in the comics, especially through the expanded family of the Future Foundation. All these kids learn about compassion and empathy from Reed, with Jack taking on the mantle as a similar mentor and protector in this dark dramedy. Jack, while not as genius here, reeks of a Reed Richards trying hard to assure Val and Franklin of their place in the world, making it clear that while he, Babette and their tribe are outsiders, they’ll be accepted.
White Noise’s Jack Overcomes the Jealous Husband Vibe
Jack’s poise is most needed when the family ventures away from home. The apocalypse gets more emotional and personal, though, when he learns that Babette is part of a drug experiment to quell her anxiety regarding death and that she’s sleeping with her dealer, Mr. Gray, to get pills. Jack loses it, hunting and shooting Gray before he and Babette patch things up. They get Gray fixed up and then brainwash him to ensure that they’re not taken to jail, bending their moral compass in the name of their kids.
This nods to how dysfunctional Reed and Sue Storm get in the comics, especially with Namor involved. Sure, Reed has to protect his family from external threats, but this internal one creates a powerful maelstrom. And one he often can’t control, which is why Sue left him a couple of times. Reed can’t help but struggle with this jealousy, which is what Jack endures, poisoning his family on a mental level. This mixes science and drama with the ethereal end of days Jack is hallucinating, deconstructing him and crafting a haunting character study and portrait of a broken family man — things Reed wrestles with in his experimentation and frail conscience. Ultimately, Driver brings all these traits to life with aplomb for Jack, shaping a spiritual energy that’d be perfect for Reed Richards as a smart but human patriarch with range in the MCU.
To see this strange tale, watch White Noise on Netflix.