It’s the rumor that’s been chasing every story about the Fantastic Four movie since last summer when Josh Trank‘s reboot tanked hard: how long until Marvel‘s First Family makes its way back to Marvel Studios. The unmitigated disaster of Fantastic Four 2015, plus the middling ho-hum efforts of the two Tim Story movies have some fans wondering if that’s three strikes and Twentieth Century Fox is out, and as of today, the answer seems to be “Yes.” Breaking news over the weekend seems to indicated that Fox and Marvel have reached a deal to bring the Fantastic Four home in exchange for some rights to two new X-Men-related series.
To begin with, recall that it’s been revealed that Fox has two X-Men related TV series in development, Legion and Hellfire. Fox needed the blessing of Marvel Studios, and given the tremendous animosity between both parties, it was something of a surprise that Marvel gave Fox the green light to proceed with the development of both series. So what did Fox give up? According to Den of Geek, they gave up the rights to the Fantastic Four and all associated characters.
If true, that would not only mean that the Fantastic Four themselves could be included in the main Marvel Cinematic Universe, it could also mean that characters like Doctor Doom, the Watcher, the Silver Surfer, the Skrulls and Galactus could all appear at some point. It would effectively mean that the only characters that Marvel Studios would have absolutely no access too would be the X-Men. (Although there may be some confusion about Namor: the Sub-Mariner’s rights, but that’s another story altogether.)
Both Fox and Marvel Studios have since denied Den of Geek’s story, one that the Geeks themselves suggested be eyed with suspicion, but one can’t help but detect some of the same covering up that happened when rumors of negotiations between Marvel and Sony over Spider-Man’s rights began in 2014. Basically, it’s not true until it is true, but it’s worth noting that Fox is in the same position with the FF, as Sony was with Spider-Man. They tried rebooting the franchise, and it failed on a critical and commercial level, so what can they do now? Either reboot it again, or use it as leverage against Marvel/Disney. It seems the more likely that Fox went with option two, and Marvel wasn’t going to give something for nothing.
The Fantastic Four characters have been the subject of much contention between Fox and Marvel. Marvel Comics cancelled the comic book FF series last year in advanced of the release of Trank film, apparently out of spite that Fox wouldn’t relinquish the rights to the Fantastic Four. And that makes it all the more weird that Marvel would give Fox its blessing to expand its X-Men dominion without getting anything back. The only thing stopping Marvel from cancelling the X-Men comics out of spite is a) there’s so many of them, and b) they’re best sellers.
So let’s play “What if…?” We know that Marvel has three dates saved in 2020 for May 1, July 10 and November 6. As well, the July 12, 2019 date that was supposed to be the release date of the Inhumans film has also recently become available now that it’s been taken off the schedule. How strange that the cosmic characters who did actually first appear in an issue of Fantastic Four (number 45 to be precise) should suddenly be taken off the calendar only to get this rumor a few days later… Either way, getting the FF back would be a coup, and would provide a vital anchor for Marvel heading on into Phase Four where the ongoing participation of original MCU actors like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth may be doubtful.
Stay tuned because this won’t be the last time we hear this rumor.
Source: Comic Book Movie