The First Family nearly made the hop to the MCU. Could they still?
For a brief few hours Thursday morning, Marvel fans around the internet rejoiced as it appeared the rights to Marvel’s First Family, the Fantastic Four, were coming home.
Den of Geek reported information from an anonymous source that 20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios had come to an agreement that would allow Marvel to produce Fantastic Four as one of its three currently unnamed movies planned for 2020.
In exchange, Fox would be allowed to start work on two X-Men TV series. The first would be based on the Hellfire Club featured in the 2011 film X-Men: First Class, while the second would feature Legion, the time-traveling son of Professor Xavier. While Fox holds the rights to make X-Men movies, it needs permission from Marvel to bring the mutants to television.
But what the internet giveth, the internet taketh, and just a few hours after the initial report, Fox issued a statement that the rumors it had traded the FF rights back to Marvel were “completely untrue.”
Marvel has occasionally taken shots at Fox’s film properties by refusing to release X-Men and Fantastic Four toys, and even cancelling the long-running Fantastic Four comic ahead of the newest movie’s release.
Fox has fired back by vowing to make a sequel to its latest terrible Fantastic Four movie, ensuring it holds onto the rights for years to come. And it’s not an idle threat, because although its worldwide box office to date still hasn’t made up for its huge production and marketing costs, Fantastic Four has made just enough money to really discourage Fox. Plus, their Deadpool movie has enormous positive buzz, and the X-Men franchise has continued to serve them well.
But with Marvel properties divided and the studios at odds, this is a situation with only losers.
Fox is going to keep making superhero movies, and Marvel Studios is being denied the opportunity to make a light-hearted, true-to-the-comics Fantastic Four movie that fans are craving. Plus, Dr. Doom (who will always be the genius armored ruler of Latveria and not that silly robot thing that the latest movie turned him into) is perhaps the one villain in the Marvel Universe who could give the Avengers a real fight after they likely topple Thanos in the upcoming Infinity War movies. He (including his film rights) may be most closely tied to the Fantastic Four, but Dr. Doom is a force to be reckoned with for the Marvel universe in general.
Hope from Sony’s Spider-Man Deal?
Despite Fox’s denials that a deal with Marvel is in the works, that doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t be seeing Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman teaming up with Captain America and Iron Man in the next few years.
In January, after heavy speculation by numerous sites, Sony Pictures denied that there were any plans for Spider-Man to join the MCU.
Then the next month, Sony and Marvel Studios announced that they were co-producing a new Spider-Man movie and that Spider-Man would be appearing in Civil War.
Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 was panned by fans and critics, but it wasn’t a box office bomb on the same level as the newest Fantastic Four. Still, Sony realized it would be more profitable to hand the rights back to the studio that could do the character best instead of plunking millions into a faltering series. Remember, they had two more sequels, plus a pair of spin offs, planned that they decided to abandon.
Fox will probably come to the same conclusion soon, if it hasn’t already done so behind closed doors. The studio could make a lot more money doubling down on its popular X-Men offerings in movies and TV instead of investing in a Fantastic Four property its failed with twice.
It’s likely that neither Fox nor Marvel wanted the news of the deal to leak just yet, but don’t be surprised if a proper Marvel Fantastic Four movie is soon announced for 2020.