One of the most surprising bits of news to come out of San Diego Comic-Con 2017 was the reveal that Fox is developing a Dr Doom movie. The news came during the panel for FX's Marvel series Legion, when showrunner Noah Hawley announced that he was working on a film for the studio, and described it in two words: Doctor. Doom.
This confirms that Fox is not yet done with their Fantastic Four characters, but that the studio also isn't about to launch a direct sequel to 2015's disastrous reboot. Instead, they'll be hanging on to those character rights with a villain-centric film. This was sad news for fans hoping that Fox would let their rights lapse and return to Marvel, but it's not necessarily bad news for the franchise itself. In fact, with Hawley at the helm, Dr Doom could be the perfect movie to make the Fantastic Four, well, fantastic again.
Who Is Noah Hawley?
Noah Hawley's involvement is easily the most exciting thing about this announcement. As every fan knows, a director can make or break a movie, and Fox had some issues in that department with their last Fantastic Four offering. For the 2015 reboot, Josh Trank was brought on board in the wake of his success with lo-fi superhero movie Chronicle, but had major issues on set and with the studio, leading to a very different version of the film hitting theaters... and a very public falling out between Trank and Fox.
Hawley, however, already has a fantastic working relationship with the studio, having created their recent smash hit series Legion. The series, based in the X-Men universe, is a phenomenally trippy journey into the mind and personalities of David Haller (Dan Stevens), the son of Charles Xavier and an incredible powerful telepath with multiple personalities. The show has been a huge critical success, and proves that Hawley is more than capable of taking on a superhero project, and working well with Fox.
In addition, Legion shows that this is someone who can build a whole new world around a somewhat difficult and lesser-known comic character. When the project was first announced, fans were skeptical - but Hawley pulled it off, and launched Fox's TV X-Universe with real style. Also an acclaimed author, who is also known for his work on Fargo, this will be Hawley's first big-screen project, and fans are thrilled to see where he goes with it.
A New Direction For Super-Movies
This announcement also comes at a time when multiple studios are looking to expand their superhero movies beyond the simple hero-origin tales that we have seen before. While Marvel/Disney and WB are still doing well with their huge names, Sony has announced that their next two projects will be villain-centric, with a Venom solo followed by Black and Silver, a film about Black Cat and Silver Sable. Fox themselves has been finding success in recent years with more violent, anti-hero offerings like the massively successful Deadpool and the R-rated Logan, proving that fans are looking for something different from their superheroes, and that sympathetic anti-heroes are big business.
There is no news yet on what the Dr Doom movie will focus on, whether it could be the origin of the villain or simply a new story told from his perspective, but either way, it's not going to put the heroes of this franchise front and center. Even Disney has been finding success with sympathetic villains in recent years, ever since Maleficent became a huge hit by retelling the story to make the evil fairy the 'good guy'. Doing the same for Doctor Doom will presumably hope to find the same kind of success with a more mature audience.