• The upcoming MCU Fantastic Four movie features Ebon Moss-Bachrach as The Thing, with the character likely being motion-capture technology.
  • Moss-Bachrach finds practical superhero costumes “amateur,” favoring modern CGI technology for The Thing character’s upcoming portrayal.
  • While CGI costumes are becoming more popular, old-school practical effects like Michael Chiklis’ The Thing performance in the Fox movies can still shine.



Ebon Moss-Bachrach, the breakout star of The Bear, is joining the MCU as Ben Grimm a.k.a The Thing in Marvel’s Fantastic Four, and he has had some opinions on his character’s costume that have polarized superhero movie audiences. The upcoming MCU Fantastic Four movie marks Moss-Bachrach’s Marvel return, as the Andor actor previously played the hacker David Lieberman (a.k.a Micro) in Punisher. As for his superhero stint, the upcoming MCU movie boasts a stellar ensemble cast that also includes Pedro Pascal as Mister Fantastic, Vanessa Kirby as the Invisible Woman, and Joseph Quinn as the Human Torch.

While Marvel’s first family gets incorporated within the MCU timeline, the franchise must learn a lesson or two from the misfires that were previous Fantastic Four movies, be it the ones from the 2000s or Josh Trank’s critically panned reboot. A casting decision like Moss-Bachrach as a multi-layered superhero like The Thing offers new hope for the franchise – though one of the actor’s thoughts about the character has proved somewhat divisive. Recently appearing on Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show, the Golden Globe nominee shed light on the visual appearance of his timeless character, wading into a somewhat timeless Marvel debate.


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Ebon Moss-Bachrach’s The Thing Will Probably Be A Motion-Capture Performance

The Bear Star Describes Practical Costumes As “Amateur” Compared To Modern Technology

A split image of Ebon Moss-Bachrach in Andor and the Thing in Marvel Comics

As is the case with any new MCU offering, Ebon Moss-Bachrach remains tight-lipped about the production. But while talking to Jimmy Kimmel on his late-night talk show, Moss-Bachrach opened up about The Thing most probably being recreated via motion-capture technology in the same manner as the franchise’s take on Hulk or Thanos. When asked by Kimmel if he would don a suit full of rocks like his predecessor Michael Chiklis in 2005’s Fantastic Four and its sequel, the Bear actor added that superhero movies are past practical suits, describing such costumes as “a little amateur” and comparing them to “cosplay”.

We’re past that, I think it’s a little kind of cosplay kind of, you know, it’s a little amateur, that stuff, now with the technology we have. So yeah, I think it’s mostly performance captured – motion capture, performance capture.

While Michael Chiklis opted for a practical costume while filming, Jamie Bell’s Thing was again a motion-capture performance in 2015’s Fantastic Four. Moss-Bachrach’s casual dismissal of practical costumes doesn’t come as a surprise, considering how MCU is opting for more and more CGI-rendered motion-capture performances. From Spider-Man’s red-and-blue tights to Moon Knight’s mummified threads, the franchise has often relied on CGI-heavy versions of live-action superhero costumes. Considering The Thing’s body is made of a tough rock-like hide, it’s possible that the MCU version of the character would physically resemble Thor’s ally Korg, the Kronan warrior made up of perishable rocks.

The Fox Fantastic Four Movies Had Thing In A Practical Costume

Michael Chiklis Brought The Suit To Life Even When He Was Uncomfortable

Michael Chiklis as The Thing in Fantastic Four looking off-screen

Back in 1994, the unreleased Fantastic Four movie put stuntman Carl Ciarfalio in an infamous rubber costume. More than a decade later, Michael Chiklis also insisted on going down a practical route even though the visual effects imagery was improving by that time. The result was a comic-accurate depiction of the Fantastic Four team member, complete with his rocky physiology, eyebrow ridge, and four-fingered hands. Ranking among the best live-action Fantastic Four costumes, the layers of prosthetics and makeup added a touch of realism to The Thing, while allowing Chiklis to convey the tragic brute’s inner melancholia through his eyes.

Every Actor Who Played The Thing


Michael Bailey Smith/Carl Ciarfalio

Fantastic Four (unreleased) (1994)

Michael Chiklis

Fantastic Four (2005) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

Jamie Bell

Fantastic Four (2015)

Ebon Moss-Bachrach

Marvel’s Fantastic Four (upcoming)

Bringing Ben Grimm’s physically altered version to the big screen was a Herculean task, as it took over five-and-a-half hours daily to put on the latex foam suit on Chiklis. Eating, drinking, and even going to the washroom were nearly impossible when in costume, as the actor told The New York Times. Sweating was also frequent inside the suit. The experience was so grueling that Chiklis even consulted a psychologist. But the actor was still proud of his performance, and as he told MovieWeb, “It’s a little like being in the seventh circle of hell, but in a good way.

Not All Practical Costumes Can Look Amateur

Guardians Of The Galaxy, Suicide Squad And More Offer Hope

Despite all the on-set hardships he endured, Michael Chiklis’ convincing performance as The Thing was one of the best aspects of the otherwise polarizing Fox Fantastic Four movies. While Ebon Moss-Bachrach is correct in assuming that motion-capture technology is advanced enough to surpass practical suits, the charm of old-school prosthetics has not yet left the superhero genre. In the face of more and more Marvel superhero costumes turning to CGI, the franchise boasts some impressive instances of practical makeup and costumes. Guardians of the Galaxy characters like Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Nebula, and are a few notable cases in point.



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Beyond the MCU, the DC Extended Universe has also offered some interesting practical options. The Oscar-winning makeup team behind Suicide Squad perfectly turned Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje into Killer Croc with nothing but practical effects. Even when Chiklis played The Thing, 2000s-era comic book movies offered some convincingly real practical costumes, like Mystique’s scaly blue skin in the X-Men franchise and Abe Sapien’s slimy, fish-like exterior in Hellboy. So, while Ebon Moss-Bachrach’s dramatic prowess offers a lot of potential for The Thing in Marvel’s Fantastic Four, a practical suit could have been as good as (or even better) than a motion-capture performance.

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