After comic book properties had acquired an undisputed hold over the multiplex, the next step was Marvel Studios' establishment of an interconnected cinematic universe - mirroring that of the comic book world - as a far-reaching way to develop many different franchises across a variety of different media outlets.
The other major studios with big-name comic book properties have followed suit, with Warner Bros. (Batman vs. Superman) and Sony (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) developing interconnected movie universes based on their titles. Fox is doing the same, with Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days of Future Past hitting theaters this May (followed by X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016) and director Josh Trank's Fantastic Four reboot releasing in June of 2015.
After a long development period, Trank's cast has come together, with Chronicle star Michael B. Jordan on board - and courting controversy - as Johnny Storm A.K.A. The Human Torch, Kate Mara (House of Cards) as Sue Storm/Invisible Woman, Jamie Bell (The Adventures of Tintin) as The Thing and That Awkward Moment star Miles Teller as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic.
We've heard from producer Matthew Vaughn that Fantastic Four is going to be a hard reboot with a darker tone, but there's not many other details beyond unconfirmed rumors. During a recent interview with IGN, Miles Teller opened up about his casting in the superhero film and praises the movie's approach to the story.
As for what attracted him to the project - and whether or not he was a big comic book fan - Teller said:
"Well, for me I didn't grow up really as a comic book kid necessarily. Fantastic Four is my dad's favorite superhero comic. And so for me I guess what attracted me originally was Josh Trank. I think Josh Trank is a very creative, inventive guy. You look at Chronicle, you look at what he did for that budget and just how he told the story was really well done. I want to chase directors at this point, and then the cast kind of came together -- Michael B. (Jordan), Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell -- I was very excited."
Given the overall dominance of superhero films, it's easy to believe that almost any young actor would jump at the chance to play in one. According to Teller:
"I was joking around about a year ago, 'I guess I'll be playing a supehero soon' because that's just the world that we're in, but I think a lot of times it just looks like Hollywood actors in Halloween costumes, you know? And I think what we're going to do with Fantastic Four is going to be very grounded and it made sense to me."
Teller also commented on screenwriter Simon Kinberg's take on the material, stating:
"When I read the script, I didn't feel like I was reading this larger-than-life, incredible supehero tale. These are all very human people that end up having to become I guess what is known as the Fantastic Four. So for me it was just a really good story and gives me an opportunity to play something different from my own skin. It's a proper character and that's my favorite stuff to do."
Teller's insights are heartening, and in line with Matthew Vaughn's previous statements about the reboot's direction. If we really are going to see an X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover down the line, establishing a tone with F4 which hews closer to the expected grimness of Days of Future Past will be key. Still, this new Fantastic Four is still over a year away from its release, so for many fans, our first good look at the new characters in action will be the real test.
Fantastic Four is scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on June 19th, 2015.