Days after the Fantastic Four reboot opened in theaters to terrible reviews and financial disappointment, we posed the question of what happens next with the franchise, and specifically what happens to the Fantastic Four 2 release date Twentieth Century Fox was a little too ambitious in setting for 2017. Fox couldn’t really be aiming to finance a big budget sequel to a film that lost money and respect from fans, right?
Fox’s president of domestic distribution Chris Aronson was quick to say the studio very much cares about the Fantastic Four characters and wouldn’t be giving up on them much to the dismay of some vocal fans who may have long-desired to see them under the control of Marvel Studios. The writer and producer of Fantastic Four, Simon Kinberg, says he already has his mind set on the sequel. But… why?
Speaking with MTV while making an appearance at Toronto International Film Festival, Kinberg, who also wrote X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and X-Men: Apocalypse (and produced the latter two alongside X-Men: First Class), said “I’m really focused on the next one,” explaining that he’s not yet had time to reflect on the reality of Fantastic Four’s failure and all the controversy surrounding it.
“I was obviously disappointed. I was most disappointed that fans didn’t like it. I care more about them than I do anyone else. But I haven’t done a full deep dive on it. Do I think it was unfairly treated? I don’t know.”
“I’ve been on plenty of happy movies that don’t turn out to be very good movies, I’ve been on a lot of unhappy, difficult sets that turn out to be great movies. There was a lot of attention on the process of making that movie. It’s hard, when you’re making a movie, movies are hard to make. It’s just the reality.”
“Every time you make a movie, you want to make a great movie. It’s a ton of time and effort you put in. We made that movie in the sweltering heat of summer in Baton Rouge and I was there every day of photography. You’re waking up every morning being like, I want to go make a great movie. It was an opportunity to do that. I do believe there is a great Fantastic Four movie that we’ve made with that cast. So I’m gonna figure out what that is.”
Does that mean Fantastic Four 2 is still happening?
“We’re figuring out what that movie would be. I’d like that to happen.”
Movies are absolutely difficult to make, New Orleans can certainly have hot weather, and Simon Kinberg – alongside director Josh Trank and many others – was largely responsible for this this movie. Kinberg is in a position where he’s the overseer of sorts for Twentieth Century Fox’s own Marvel Cinematic Universe, after having signed a multi-year deal to help produce and develop stories that span multiple movies, potentially even crossovers between Fantastic Four and the X-Men.
Why then would the person who wrote this version of Fantastic Four, who also produced it and reportedly helped oversee re-shoots, be in charge of developing its potential sequel? Nobody wants more of this. The financials, the fan response, and the critical response all made that clear. And can Kinberg really focus on Fantastic Four when working on three X-Men films coming out next year, not to mention Star Wars Rebels and a Star Wars Anthology film?
There are characters in the Fantastic Four who absolutely have a place on the big screen, but there’s little interest in another big screen story of Doctor Doom fighting the Fantastic Four again. That doesn’t work and it’s a shame given that Doom, one of the great villains of any comic, has been poorly adapted twice. The core issue remains: FF on their own at Fox are just not fit for the current climate of comic book movies. That being said, Reed Richards as a character, so intelligent and so driven by ambition that he becomes the ultimate villain of sorts in the Ultimate Marvel Comics universe is an amazing character… but only if he’s in stories involving other Marvel characters he needs to interact with – characters Fox does not have access to.
The same goes for Doctor Doom who in the most recent Marvel Comics crossover event, the biggest ever in “Secret Wars” is the King of the remaining universe. But that universe features The Avengers, Doctor Strange as his Sheriff, and an army of Thors as his police force. Again, the big stories from the comics require access to the larger universe, not the little one Fox has the rights to outside of their mutants (X-Men).
Every conversation about the long-term viability of the Fantastic Four as a live-action film property will lead to the same conclusion: Fox needs to work with Marvel. And they should. That doesn’t mean Fox should sell the rights back when there’s value in owning them, but if Sony Pictures can partner with Marvel Studios to reboot Spider-Man and use his supporting characters to bolster the Marvel Cinematic Universe and vice versa, why can’t Fox and Marvel do the same? It would solve a lot of issues and perhaps even give Marvel Entertainment reason to start making Fantastic Four comics and toys again.
With all the recent buzz surrounding Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige taking full control over Marvel’s film division, and being the deal-maker and planner he is, there’s something here for him to talk to Fox about. After all, before Feige helped develop Marvel Studios as a self-sufficient production house, he worked for X-Men franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner and helped produce the first X-Men movie at Fox, later earning co-producer and/or executive producer credits on the following two X-movies, the first two Fantastic Fours, and the first Daredevil. All for Fox.
With Fox having so much on the way from the X-Men universe (three movies coming next year alone), Warner Bros. launching the the DC movies universe and Marvel Studios launching Phase 3 of their own growing franchise next year (a universe also quickly expanding to TV), is there a long-term bankable future for isolated Fantastic Four movies or Fantastic Four-X-Men crossovers? Probably not. But can you imagine Reed Richards secretly working with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), and the lead for the upcoming Inhumans movie to save the world without the other Avengers knowing about? Yes. That sounds like a cool story. And it was in the books.
And as we’ve said before, there’s much more to this than just Doom, and the founding family. With the Fantastic Four property, Fox is also holding onto many of Marvel Comics’ greatest alien characters and races, from Galactus and Silver Surfer, to the Skrulls and Badoon. Fox and Marvel working together would give both studios a way to tap into stories involving these characters because right now, the way things are, those characters are essentially being held back from appearing in movies.
Partner soon and some of those aliens can still appear or be referenced in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 which begins shooting in February. Perhaps there’s a future where Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe includes Spider-Man and Fantastic Four, all working side-by-side with the New Avengers. Wouldn’t that be
Fantastic Four is currently in theaters. Deadpool opens February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit on October 7, 2016; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; Fantastic Four 2 (probably not anymore) on June 9, 2017; and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutantsis also in development.