As we move ever closer to the impending doom and destruction of Avengers: Infinity War, our minds are running wild with the potential and possibilities for the 19th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With big bad Thanos finally getting close to collecting all of his jewels, fans are already wondering what secrets will be revealed during the epic (almost) conclusion of Phase Three. Well, as always I've got a theory, here's one that would turn the MCU on its head and see the return of some of the most beloved and mistreated characters of all time--yes, of course we're talking about Marvel's First Family... The Fantastic Four.
"But the Fox / Disney deal isn't finished yet and might take another year to complete," I hear you shout! Even though there's a chance Marvel gained the FF rights back after the failure of 2015's Fant-Four-Stick, I'm not actually suggesting that we'll see Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben in Infinity War. I just think that it's pretty likely Marvel will use the film as a way of introducing the idea of them, and most importantly their ridiculously great rogue's gallery. One of the biggest critiques of the 18 existing Marvel movies is that their villains are often lacking, and although this has recently changed with Black Panther's Erik Killmonger and Thor: Ragnarok's Hela, there's still a deficit of massive malevolent forces for the survivors of Infinity War to battle after they inevitably defeat or team up with Thanos.
Created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, the Fantastic Four have always had some of the most formidable foes, including two of the most iconic and epic big bads in all of sequential storytelling history: Doctor Doom and Galactus. Victor Von Doom is an evil genius from the fictional land of Latveria. A master of both magic and science, he's a fan favorite villain who's yet to be done justice on the big screen, and who--unlike the Fantastic Four themselves--has been a large part of the Marvel Comics universe in the past few years.
If you've yet to discover the incredible power of Galactus, then maybe you remember the terrible dust cloud at the end of 2007's notorious Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer? Well that was supposed to be Galactus, consumer of planets and wearer of a radical purple and pink suit. His creator Jack Kirby described him best in an interview with the new defunct Wizard Magazine: "Galactus in actuality is a sort of god. He is beyond reproach, beyond anyone's opinion. In a way he is kind of a Zeus, who fathered Hercules. He is his own legend, and of course, he and the Silver Surfer are sort of modern legends, and they are designed that way." For fans of Marvel Comics, it's clear that Galactus is the only bad big enough to follow Thanos.
But how could Infinity War actually set up the entry of the Fantastic Four and their fearsome foes? Well, the seeds for that have already been sown. One of the biggest hints that the FF is en route to the MCU came when New York City's Stark Tower / Avengers Tower was sold at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Many fans were quick to point out that the large Manhattan skyscraper looked very similar to the FF's homebase, the Baxter Building. So the most realistic way that the MCU could provide a more definite nod to the likelihood of the FF returning would simply be to mention that the Leland Baxter Paper Company has bought the building, as it was the original owner in the comics.
Of course there are some far more wacky and wonderful things which would make great post-credits stingers for Infinity War. Ever since Fantastic Four #51, an antimatter universe called The Negative Zone has played a large part in FF lore. Referred to as the "Crossroads of Infinity" upon its discovery, Reed Richards and his family have visited it regularly as have other characters including the original incarnation of Captain Marvel and Spider-Man. We know that Infinity War is going to see the universe change as the powers of the Infinity Stones are unleashed, so is it possible that the gems could open a portal to the Negative Zone, freeing the FF or perhaps Doctor Doom? It would be an easy way of explaining away the absence of the flagship heroes, and could simply reveal a large swirling portal, where we see a flick of a cape or a long elastic arm reaching out.
Seeing as I'm already putting some pretty wild theories out there, there's also the chance the Time Stone accidentally could introduce a villain called Kang the Conqueror A.K.A. Nathaniel Richards. A distant descendant of Sue and Reed from the year 3000, Kang is an adept time traveller and also a very bad man. This would be an interesting way to introduce the Four, as we could see them brought in at a later date as they attempt to stop Kang. Last year James Gunn claimed that Kang belonged to 20th Century Fox, but there have been rumors swirling that the FF rights already returned to Marvel, so this wild theory might just come true. Any of these scenarios could lead to what I--and many FF conspiracy fans--have been thinking for a long time, which is that Avengers 4 will simply be called that, and the 4 will be circled just like the logo of Marvel's First Family...
These are probably pipe dreams, but what is life if we don't dream? Are you into our fantastic theories? Can't wait to see Victor Von Doom back on screen? Just wanna see a real Galactus movie? Let us know below!
Images: Marvel Comics, ABC