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The Fantastic Four has found its Silver Surfer, but who the hell is Shalla-Bal?

We're only going deeper into the cosmic side of Marvel.

Shalla-Bal (Marvel Comics)
Image credit: Marvel

We recently learned about the star-studded cast for Marvel Studios' The Fantastic Four, which might be the most important movie for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in quite a while. We were left wondering, however, about the long-in-the-works movie's antagonists. Well, we now can confirm the Silver Surfer is part of that package.

Deadline shared this news on April 3, confirming that Ozark's Julia Garner is set to play the famous (and pivotal) Marvel character, though it'll be the Shalla-Bal version instead of fan-favorite Norrin Radd. Unsurprisingly, the more casual Marvel fans might be scratching their heads right now, but we have quick answers for you here.

Comic book readers know Shalla-Bal as the immortal Empress of Zenn-La and eventual lover of Norrin Radd, the classical Silver Surfer, who becomes the Herald of Galactus (something introduced in the second of the Fox movies) in exchange for his (and Shalla-Bal's) planet being spared. That's the gist of it, but of course her and Radd's history is far more complicated. Like most Marvel characters, she's also gone through several iterations, and one highlight was her temporarily gaining the Silver Surfer powers in the separate continuity of the Earth X miniseries.

Of course, Deadline could've gotten this slightly wrong, and maybe the movie will focus on Radd's Surfer after all and include Shalla-Bal only in her humanoid alien ruler form. There's a good chance she'll be the main Silver Surfer though, and it all comes down to the MCU's penchant for switching traditional storylines up from time to time, plus, we'd argue that Shalla-Bal deserved much better in the comics as Silver Surfer.

Unless new delays happen, The Fantastic Four should be getting in front of cameras soon under Matt Shakman's (WandaVision) leadership and arrive in cinemas on July 25, 2025, which is very close to DC Studios' Superman reboot. The current plan is to have it kick off Phase 6 of the MCU after Captain America: Brave New World and Thunderbolts wrap up Phase 5 earlier next year.

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