Rahul Kohli Had Mixed Feelings About Being Fancast As Marvel's Mister Fantastic

On February 14, 2024, Pedro Pascal was confirmed to be playing Reed Richards in Marvel Studios' upcoming "Fantastic Four" movie (/News broke this fantastic scoop early).

More recently, reporting has claimed that before Pascal was locked in, British actor Rahul Kohli was in the running to play Reed. Kohli had been a popular fancasting choice for Reed Richards — much like John Krasinski, who ended up playing a Reed variant in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." /News even named Kohli as one of the actors we'd prefer to see play Mister Fantastic more than Krasinski. So, the idea that he came close to getting the part created intrigue.

But it's not true; Kohli was not in the running to play Mister Fantastic (at least outside fans' hearts and minds). The news sparked after a recent interview between Kohli and Salaam Nerds. During said interview, Kohli acknowledged the fancasts of him as Reed Richards and said wistfully, "I didn't get [the part]."

This was interpreted as Kohli saying that Marvel considered him for the part and went with Pascal instead (especially since he prefaced with "I don't know if I'm allowed to talk about it"). But the actor clarified in an Instagram story that his comments were "blown way out of proportion" and were actually "part of a larger point about fancasting and mental health." Read Kohli's full statement in the image below:

There is a lesson contained within this debunked story, related to the larger point Kohli talks about.

Rahul Kohli knows what it's like to be fancast

Superhero fans picking out actors to play their favorite characters is older than the internet (before an "X-Men" movie was a reality, the now-defunct Wizard Magazine published their ideal cast for such a feature). Kohli offered some thoughts on what it feels like, as an actor, to be chosen like that:

"On good days, you're like 'Man, [I'm] wanted!' People really want to see [you]. You're the guy that people will shout out for anything. And on bad days, it's a reminder that you're just not the guy, and you're not there, and these are the roles that you will never get. It's all perspective, it's how you feel about yourself."

Some context to Kohli's observations about his mental health: During a guest appearance on Michael Rosenbaum's "Inside of You" podcast, he discussed being diagnosed with cyclothymia, a mild form of bipolar disorder characterized by "high highs and low lows" in a person's mood. Kohli admitted that he'd been initially resistant to the diagnosis, and even wondered if the extreme emotions were an asset for his acting:

"I had a mistrust, especially about American medicine. We don't shove pills down in Britain [...] Stupid actors, man, you hear that [diagnosis] and it's like, 'But what if that's my juice?' What if that's what makes me me and I'm on set and I can hit a 10 like no one else can hit a 10, in emotion? [Laughing] What if it's my disease?"

Some of the most persistent symptoms of depressive episodes is how your mind twists compliments into negatives and makes your aspirations feel foolish, so I more than understand where Kohli's coming from with his perception of fans "casting" him in A-list roles.

Consider the actor when fancasting

As Kohli mentions in the aforementioned interview, he's also a popular fan pick to play John Constantine, from DC Comics. (Keanu Reeves and Matt Ryan have previously played the part on screen.) Just like the former Mister Fantastic fancasts, Kohli says, people rooting for him to play Constantine affects him differently depending on his good days and bad days.

I'm not saying that fancasting is some evil that needs to cease, but fans do tend to approach it like fantasy football, treating actors as plugs to slot in with no more agency than the characters. As Kohli says, that isn't always flattering (but it can be).

While he has yet to procure a main role in Mister Fantastic's league, Kohli has dipped his toes into comic book movies/TV. He was a core cast member on "iZombie," appeared in two episodes of "Supergirl," and voiced the Scarecrow on "Harley Quinn." Appreciating the work he has done is much more worthwhile than imagining him in hypothetical roles.

"Fantastic Four" releases on July 25, 2025.