How do you solve a problem like Thanos? No, not defeating him, which the Avengers will most certainly do, but replacing him as a villain after the end of Avengers 4? When you begin with a villain whose goal is as monstrous as destroying half of all life to
impress his girlfriend bring balance to the universe, it's kind of hard to imagine a more impressive foe. Especially when Thanos is the first of the MCU's rogues to actually make a lasting impact on the universe, and viewers alike. The answer to this problem is a weird one: The Fantastic Four (and massive corporate mergers).Of course we donâ€™t mean the iconic team of heroes is going to turn evil and start waging war on the Avengers. But assuming Disneyâ€™s acquisition of Fox goes as planned, the Fantastic Four have some of the most nefarious, galactic, and omnipotent antagonists in any of Marvelâ€™s properties, and I think they could be integral to the Avengers sequel.
The Fantastic Four have cast a long shadow over the MCU, and rumors about their potential addition have been rife ever since their last outing in Fox's dismal Fant4stic. Before the Disney/Fox merger was even a twinkle in Bob Iger's eye, fans were already wondering if Disney had come to an agreement with Fox giving them the rights to Marvel's first family in exchange for the television rights for the X-Men, which had long been in dispute. When both Legion and The Gifted hit our screens, our minds began to run riot, querying whether this meant that Disney had acquired a similar deal to the Spider-Man/Sony situation. As Disney moves ever closer to owning Fox and almost everything that goes along with them, our chances of seeing the Fantastic Four in the MCU get bigger and bigger. Which is great because they, and more specifically their rogues gallery, are just what the Marvel Cinematic Universe needs.Though the die-hard believers among us thought that we might catch a glimpse of the FF in Avengers: Infinity War, it was always a bit of a stretch with so many heroes already available to battle Thanos. But after the snap, and with Thanos' inevitable defeat, there is a space in the MCU for new heroes and villains, and that's perfect because along with Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben come some of Marvel's biggest, baddest, and most powerful villains to ever grace the page--some of whom are already joining the MCU with the addition of the Skrulls in Captain Marvel.The most iconic of the Fantastic Four's rogues gallery is Victor Von Doom, better known as Doctor Doom. Like the titular heroes, he was created by Jack Kirby with Stan Lee, and has long been the most fearsome foe of the team. He'd be such an easy addition to the MCU as he's another super smart scientist, who just happens to be totally evil. Victor could be introduced as a rival to Tony Stark, or even as an ally in the face of Thanos, but with the cosmic direction that the MCU is headed, we think that something a little more sci-fi is likely.The Negative Zone has long played a part in the history of the Fantastic Four. In layman's terms, it's a largely uninhabited alt-universe wasteland that revolves around a swirling vortex of incredible power. Reed Richards regularly visited the realm in the comics, and it would be a really easy way of creating a doorway between wherever the Fantastic Four / their villains have been during the past decade and the main MCU.We know that with the inclusion of the Quantum Realm, the MCU is already trafficking in the stranger aspects of reality in the Marvel Universe, so it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine them using the Negative Zone as a way of introducing Doom, or even the devourer of worlds himself...Galactus. One of, if not, the most powerful villains in the Marvel Universe, the cosmic entity Galactus feeds on planets and has been a constant threat to Earth in the pages of Marvel Comics. His iconic character design and godlike powers would make him an unbelievable addition to the MCU, and of course it would also mean another iconic hero would be added to the mix with his herald, the Silver Surfer.This is incredibly likely as the Marvel Universe is in dire need of some real villainy. Loki is dead, Thanos is about to be defeated/degloved, and then who will we have to fear? What better than a world eating alien who just can't resist the delectable temptation of Earth. Galactus doesn't have the humanity or empathy of Thanos. Galactus doesn't love anything other than the energy he gets from chomping on solar systems. The MCU needs some pure evil, and the villains of the Fantastic Four are the perfect solution, heck, according to precedent set in the comics we could even see Thanos team up with the heroes he once destroyed in the face of a cosmic threat. Now wouldn't that be something.So, with the highly anticipated first trailer for the next installment of Avengers on the horizon, how likely is it that we'll see any of these new additions? The jury is still out. Though with Tony Stark selling the Avengers Tower in Spider-Man Homecoming, there's a prime piece of NY real estate that looks like it could easily be bought by the Fantastic Four and turned into the iconic Baxter Building, and it's probably more likely that we'd just get a little nod like that than a full reveal right now. In the long run, there doesn't seem to be many other options for the MCU, over 20 films and ten years they have squeezed every bit of fear from Thanos, and now it's time for something new. The power of the villains of the Fantastic Four is not only that they're actual threats to our heroes, but also that they're so well known, yet completely new in the context of the cinematic universe.You might think this all sounds like some kind of conspiracy theory, but in that case why was there a mysterious Amazon giveaway of Fantastic Four comics this morning that inexplicably got shut down as soon as the announcement of the Avengers 4 trailer being delayed? Maybe we're lost in the sauce or maybe we're prescient, we'll have to wait til Friday to find out...
Images: Marvel, header image by Alan Davis