The Fantastic Four: According to Variety, Fox has been planning to announce all four cast member for its Fantastic Four simultaneously, and, technically speaking, no deal is finished until all four of the "Four" are set.

But that hasn't stopped Marvel's Avi Arad from fueling speculation that "The Shield" star Michael Chiklis is the most likely candidate to play craggy character the Thing.

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At 20th Century Fox, the casting process has been shrouded in secrecy, but it appears Chiklis -- best known for his Emmy-winning perf on FX cop series "The Shield" -- is no longer just a candidate; he's increasingly the only thesp studio wants for the job.

The $85 million-$90 million pic is headed for an August/September start.

Helmed by Barbershop helmer Tim Story, "Four" is the story of the first-ever family of superheroes, though not in the traditional sense: They neither fight crime nor patrol the streets of a particular city. A clan of scientist-astronauts imbued with special mutant powers, they serve as explorers and ambassadors to other planets and function without traditional "beats" like Superman in Metropolis or Batman in Gotham.

A Fox spokeswoman declined to comment on the Chiklis talks.