The Hollywood Reporter has reported that actor Tim Blake Nelson is in final negotiations to play Harvey Elder in Fox’s upcoming Fantastic Four reboot. Nelson appeared in Marvel’s 2008 The Incredible Hulk film as Dr. Samuel Sterns, the scientist who eventually becomes one of Hulk’s fiercest rivals, The Leader. In the Fantastic Four, Harvey Elder is the alias to longtime villain Mole Man. According to the report, Elder will not yet be the Mole Man in the first Fantastic Four film. This sets the possibility of his transformation for sequels similar to Nelson’s other super villain role in The Incredible Hulk.
After decades of superhero films, fans should be aware by now that studios hold different rights to specific characters in the Marvel universe. This isn’t the first time a Fox Marvel actor crossed over to a Marvel studio film or vice-versa. Chris Evans, who originally played Johnny Storm the Human Torch in the first two Fantastic Four films, now stars as Captain America in the Marvel cinematic universe. While fans continue to pray for the day a unified cinematic universe forms, actors are free to portray whatever roles they desire even if it means playing two different villains.