It seems Marvel fans all across the world go through this at least once a year--call this seasonal event the "annual debunking of the Fantastic Four coming home." Once again, during a Q&A, Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, answered the question about whether or not there were any plans at the moment for the Fantastic Four franchise to return from Fox back into the hands of Marvel. Newsarama (via AlloCiné) got the scoop straight from the man himself, who didn't exactly mince any words regarding the Fantastic Four joining the MCU anytime soon. Feige was pretty straightforward and said the following:
“[We have] no plans with the Fantastic Four right now. No discussions about it.”
So much for those rumors that there was going to be a big Fantastic Four announcement at Comic-Con in San Diego or D23 from Marvel this year. While the news sucks, here's what fans of the Fantastic Four need to take away from this statement from Feige--"we have no plans for the Fantastic Four right now." Emphasis on the "right now" part. Fans of Marvel's first family should not lose hope however. Regardless of whatever Kevin Feige says at this moment, the Richards family are going to eventually be coming home to the MCU, in one form or another. And I'm going to explain to you just how and why this is pretty much a certainty at this point.
First off, the recent reboot of the FF for Fox from 2015, starring Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell and directed by Josh Trank didn't just disappoint, it mega-bombed. If comic book movies like Green Lantern and The Incredible Hulk are considered flops that killed those franchises dead in their tracks, let me remind you that each of those films made over $100 million domestic. FF made $50 million total, a true embarrassment for a superhero movie with the Marvel pedigree in this day and age. If Fox were to spend money on a sequel to this version that no one liked, it would look like what it is--a desperate attempt to keep the rights away from Disney.
Of course, Fox could wait five years and reboot again. The rights don't lapse back to Marvel until 2022. But the problem there is that the most recent failure was a reboot of the property already, as the previous Tim Story directed versions of the Fantastic Four from 2005 and 2007 weren't particularly beloved. For them to go back to the well so soon after this last fiasco would get so much negative press, and have such an uphill battle to make to be considered a success, it can't possibly be worth it for Fox. It should also be noted that the last FF reboot was announced in 2009, with Josh Trank being hired in 2012, a good three years before the movie hit theaters. We are getting dangerously close to the point were movement on the next iteration of the FF from Fox would have to start happening if their 2022 deadline is going to be met.
So there are two options here. Fox does nothing, in which case Marvel/Disney get the rights back in 2022, make a big announcement for "Marvel's Fantastic Four" as either a film or a TV series, with well liked directors and the Marvel Studios pedigree behind it. Or, Fox does what Sony did with Spider-Man, in which they keep the release rights, but go to Marvel Studios and
beg ask them to produce the film, and incorporate the FF into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Throw in some cameos from Spider-Man, Iron Man, or whichever Marvel Studios major players you want, and suddenly this becomes an event: the redemption of the characters that launched the Marvel Universe at last. I can tell you this--Fox is very carefully watching the results for Spider-Man: Homecoming this summer. If that collaboration between Sony and Marvel is critically and commercially successful, you bet your ever-lovin' blue-eyed butt they are going to make a similar deal.
I've heard it said that "Marvel Studios doesn't need the Fantastic Four." And this is true: they don't need it. But I promise you, they do want it. The original FF comic book from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby launched an entire universe, and included some of the most beloved icons that Marvel owns. Just the character of the Thing alone, a character that Marvel has successfully merchandised for decades, would make it worth it for Marvel. One way or another, a Marvel Studios produced Fantastic Four is coming, either in cooperation with Fox, or eventually, without them all together. It's just not happening right this second.
What do you want in a Marvel Studios version of the Fantastic Four? Be sure to tell us your thoughts on Marvel's First Family down below in the comments.
Images: Marvel Comics