Though he is currently linked to a role in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Bill Murray has already played one of Marvel’s most famous heroes.
Bill Murray has commented on his oft-forgotten past as a member of the Fantastic Four.
In a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Kimmel brought up Murray’s relationship with Marvel Comics. Murray, who is currently rumored for a part in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, actually made his Marvel debut nearly 50 years ago. As Kimmel pointed out, Murray played one of the company’s most popular heroes– Johnny Storm A.K.A. the Human Torch. Murray plainly addressed this long-lost piece of his personal acting history with a simple “That’s true.”
In 1975, Marvel produced an audio adaptation of its popular Fantastic Four comic book, with Stan Lee narrating. Having previously attempted to bring the Four to television with a short-lived cartoon, the audio drama would adapt Lee and Jack Kirby’s original run on the title. Unfortunately, it proved to be equally short-lived and only ran for 13 episodes. However, the series is noteworthy for featuring Bill Murray as the voice of the Human Torch. The Fantastic Four radio show debuted when Murray was 25 years old, only months before his breakout casting on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Murray acknowledged his history with the character to Kimmel, saying “All I remember saying is… FLAME ON!”
Though the show didn’t leave as long of a legacy as the Four’s comic book adventures, it had a small, passionate following. One fan of the series was a young Peyton Reed, who managed to snag a photo from Murray signed as the Human Torch when Murray was promoting Groundhog Day in 1993. Years later, Reed nearly directed the Fantastic Four movie, though those plans fell through. Conveniently, Reed is now the director for Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which has fueled many of the rumors surrounding Murray’s involvement even further.
Though Reed’s film adaptation fell through, the Fantastic Four received their own blockbuster in 2005. Directed by Tim Story, the movie cast Chris Evans in the role of Johnny Storm. The future Captain America also heated up the big screen in the film’s sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, where the Human Torch took on a greater role and gained the powers of all four members the Fantastic Four. Years later, a rebooted version of the Fantastic Four was released with Michael B. Jordan portraying the Human Torch. Casually known by fans as Fan4stic, the movie was the last to be made by 20th Century Fox before the company was acquired by Disney.
Today, the Human Torch continues to light up the pages of Fantastic Four on a regular basis. He recently received a massive power-up from longtime foe Doctor Doom, after Johnny ruined Doom’s nuptials. This boost has had horrifying consequences for the Human Torch, who can no longer shut off his flame-fueled powers. It has also had a disastrous effect on Johnny’s marriage and impacts his actions wherever he appears.
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