(Unverified) rumors are starting to fly about 20th Century Fox (possibly) retooling and rebooting their Fantastic Four franchise.

The previous two Fantastic Four films earned a combined total of over half a billion dollars at the box office, but never really succeeded in connecting with critics or fanboys alike.

So, is critical praise and fanboy adoration really worth so much to Fox that they would re-launch the entire Fantastic Four franchise? As the Zen master said, “We shall see…”

Now, just so we’re clear on our Hollywood terminology: “retooling” and “rebooting” Fantastic Four would essentially mean getting rid of the previous cast and crew, and pretending 2005’s Fantastic Four and 2007’s Rise of the Silver Surfer never, ever, happened (how many of us would like to forget that they did?).

So to Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis,  Julian McMahon and director Tim Story: if this (unverified) rumor DOES turn out to be true, (no) thanks for your services, but it’s looking like the world would like to go in another direction with Fantastic Four.

And word is that new direction would be more in step with Iron Man: funny, action-packed, with just enough dramatic weight to make the film both a critical darling AND a box office cash-cow. In short: no more kids’ stuff. We’re talking about a Fantastic Four film that would actually do justice to one of the longest-running comic books around.

IMHO, there is a great deal of potential for a re-imagined take on Fantastic Four. The strength of the comic book was always its premise: outlandish sci-fi-inspired tales of four super-powered explorers, tempered by an easily accessible (dysfunctional) family drama. The comics combined a sense of adventure, wonder, great action, and sentimentality that keep the FF relevant, even today.

Now I know I may be sticking my neck out by saying this, but I’ll be sorry to see Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis go. I thought both actors nailed their characters of The Human Torch and The Thing pretty well, as well as having fantastic on-screen chemistry (no pun), playing out the Human Torch/Thing rivalry. However, in the cases of these “reboots” it’s pretty much a start from scratch policy, so sorry fellas.

Do you think Fantastic Four deserves another shot at the big screen? Or, with the film still in the hands of Fox, do you just see the potential for even greater disaster?

Source: IESB