2017 is a pretty good year to be a superhero fan, and while the likes of Universal's Dark Universe fail to light up the box office, the various extended comic book universes are here to save the day, stronger than ever. With DC and Marvel seemingly content to share the crown, fans can bask in the glory of Superman, Captain America, and Wolverine. However, out of all the #comicbook characters that cinema has struggled to get right the most, the #FantasticFour seem Doctor Doomed to failure.
With Amy Pascal's recent Venom and MCU comments, there is hope that maybe one day everyone can stop their squabbling and learn to share their toys. However, for those hoping that we can repair the damage from Josh Trank's Fant4stic, Feige has doused the flames of Johnny Storm and told us all to chill out.
Not So Fantastic
It happens like clockwork almost every year, but in a recent Q&A, Feige quashed the rumors that Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, and the Storm siblings will find a home under the shield of Captain America. Speaking to AlloCiné, Feige had some "Grimm" news for Four fans:
“[We have] no plans with the Fantastic Four right now. No discussions about it.”
The rights are all over the place right now, with Fox, Sony, and Disney juggling various characters and story arcs all over the place — it has lead to average spin-offs, X-Men squabbles, and two Quicksilvers. There were persistent rumors that there was going to be a HUGE Fantastic Four announcement at Disney's D23 or San Diego Comic-Con, but that appears to have done a Sue Storm and made itself invisible.
We can take some solace in the "right now" element of Feige's comment, and although the MCU is still keeping its Phase 4 under wraps, we shouldn't expect the hero team to join the Avengers this side of Phase 5. Even as Disney diversifies its slate into some of the lesser-known heroes and expands at an exponential rate, it doesn't sound like there is much room for the Fantastic Four "right now." Sure, Doctor Strange's Scott Derrickson may want the quadrilogy of icons to suckle at the bosom of the MCU, but it isn't exactly his decision, is it?
Resurrecting The Heroes
Green Lantern and Incredible Hulk killed off their franchises in the first feature, but that is nothing compared to what 2015's Fantastic Four did to an already troubled team. Tim Story's 2005 film was an averagely received iteration of the heroes, while 2007's Rise of the Silver Surfer was a major misstep. Hopes were high for the 2015 reboot, but I don't think anyone expected it to go quite the way it went when Tranke swapped out the hokey comedy of the first era for pure Nolan-esque grit.
Unfortunately, the Fantastic Four now find themselves as the joke of the superhero world, but with such an attached stigma, anyone who can get them right would be set for greatness. Any director willing to take on the Goliath challenge has one hell of an uphill struggle, and it doesn't look like anyone under the MCU umbrella will be attempting it for quite some time. The rights won't lapse back to Marvel until 2020, but with Trank's version being announced in 2009 and him being attached in 2012, are we already past the threshold of making an announcement?
What we probably will see is Marvel getting the Fantastic Four back and eventually incorporating the characters with Fox still retaining the rights. It is too early to tell, but it looks like this is a solid formula that will work with Spider-Man: Homecoming. It is just sad that the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's heroes that launched the entire Marvel line are now much like Ben Grimm's Thing and have hit rock bottom.
Check out the trailer for Fant4stic and don't forget our poll below!
Do you want the Fantastic Four to return to the MCU?