Next week The Fantastic Four attempt to make a triumphant return when Twentieth Century Fox and director Josh Trank's (Chronicle) reboot of the film franchise based on the Marvel Comics founding family finally opens in theaters. And since it's a comic book movie, there's as much focus and talk on what's next for the franchise (a sequel already has a release date) as there is about the movie itself.
Assuming Fantastic Four delivers what it needs to critically and financially for the studio, and assuming plans do not change from what they seem to be at this very moment, there should be another Fantastic Four movie coming in 2017. What will Fantastic Four 2 be about and what new characters and villains could it introduce?
Before you scream "X-Men!" and wish for a rushed crossover with Fox's other major Marvel ongoing franchise, let's play with the hypothetical idea that a Fantastic Four sequel would focus on the FF team as now-established heroes, since we know this first movie is really a science-focused origin that gets them to that point - to what comic readers know them as in the books. Speaking with Comicbook.com this weekend to promote the movie, Jamie Bell - who plays Ben Grimm a.k.a. The Thing - said that the "job of the next film is taking it further and having the characters already established, seeing them interact in the very famous kind of way."
As for who he wants to see introduced in Fantastic Four 2, Bell namedrops an intriguing character:
"You can't get away from Silver Surfer. I know chronologically speaking that was the next villain in the previous franchise but I think Silver Surfer is cool looking,"
Of course, Silver Surfer and Galactus were the threats of the second movie in the previous Fantastic Four movie series, but that version of Galactus failed to meet expectations. Knowing that Fox very much wanted to keep the rights to Silver Surfer and Galactus when Marvel reportedly offered a trade for them for an extension on the Daredevil movie rights in 2012, it would seem obvious that Fox and its Marvel creative team (looking at you, Simon Kinberg) has a plan for two space-based characters. We wouldn't be surprised to see Fantastic Four (and the X-Men for that matter) start to explore off-Earth stories in the coming years. It worked wonders for Marvel Studios who introduced massive Galactus-like cosmic beings known as Celestials in Guardians of the Galaxy one year ago today.
Michael B. Jordan, who plays Johnny Storm a.k.a. Human Torch, in Fantastic Four had his own idea for the sequel - one that's less realistic:
"Namor is a cool one... [he is] by far, he's the strongest mutant. You know what I'm saying? Maybe not by far, but he's the strongest mutant. It would be a pretty interesting battle, the Fantastic Four vs. Namor."
Namor and and the Fantastic Four share many important connections and storylines in Marvel Comics over the years, especially as of late with the lead-up to the current Secret Wars crossover event and end of the Marvel Universe as we know it. Reed Richards and Namor were instrumental in trying to save Earth from the collapse of all universes, and before that, Namor was a key member of the X-Men for several years.
Of course, while Namor is indeed a mutant in the comics (the first on introduced by Marvel Comics), his film rights are complicated. Where Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, are partially owned by both Fox and Marvel as an example, Namor's distribution rights are owned by Universal who also have distribution rights for the Hulk. That means, despite his "mutant" origin, Namor cannot be used by Fox unless they strike a deal with Universal and Marvel.
Then again, Marvel and Sony did set quite a precedent in working together to relaunch Spider-Man...
Who do you want to see in Fantastic Four 2?
Fantastic Four opens in theaters on August 7, 2015, followed by Deadpool on February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit on October 7, 2016; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; Fantastic Four 2 on June 9, 2017; and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.
Galactus vs Silver Surfer Art by Pakosantana.