With the potential of Marvel reacquiring the rights to all the Fox-owned Marvel properties, people are understandably excited to see those characters enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Obviously, people would want to see the X-Men, they are, even to this day, one of Marvel’s most beloved properties. Plus, you have the potential for all of the additions to Marvel cosmic lore like Super Skrull, Silver Surfer, and Galactus. But one question should be asked, will Marvel attempt a new Fantastic Four film?
The Fantastic Four, more than any other comic book series adapted into films, has suffered the most from brand dilution outside of the comics. You have the infamous 1994 adaptation from Roger Corman which was never officially released, the early 2000s Tim Story versions which received mixed reactions at best and are hated at worst, and finally Josh Trank’s Fant4stic, which not even he liked according to his own tweets. Factor in a very mixed history when it comes to television adaptations and Marvel’s “First Family,” has not had the best experience when it comes to the big screen.
At this point the brand itself would be pretty negatively affected by this. Keep in mind that with most of the characters in the MCU, their films are the first exposure many people have even had to these characters. This holds true to the Fantastic Four as well, though probably to not as great an extent. With three less than stellar films to their name, there’s a good chance that people have lost trust in the Fantastic Four brand. Now this isn’t to say that the team shouldn’t be adapted into the MCU, just that there’s a chance that there won’t be a Fantastic Four film. But what are the other options?
Well, instead of going by Fantastic Four, they could call the film FF, or Future Foundation. In the comics, the Future Foundation really reached out to various points in the Marvel universe, from the Power Pack to the Inhumans. This could allow them to use the same characters, but present them in a different way, really playing up the adventurer, explorer, human angle than before while allowing them to interact regularly with the rest of the MCU.
Though my favorite option for how to use the Fantastic Four is to go the Black Widow angle. In my opinion, the Fantastic Four are at their best when they’re interacting with other characters in the Marvel universe, like Spider-Man, Black Panther, and the Hulk. So, what they can do is, like Black Widow, make them supporting characters in other films. For example, the Human Torch could be in the Spider-Man films similar to his role in the Ultimate comics or Reed Richards could be in a Black Panther film. You could even have the team supported the Avengers in their films. Then, if they prove popular enough amongst fans like Black Widow did, then we could see some solo adventures from them.
But as of right now, Fantastic Four is the property that Fox has hurt the most, so having them headline in the MCU right away a not be the best option for them. They should be there, they deserve to be there, but they also need to gain back the audience’s trust, and hopefully the MCU can do just that for them.