Given the sprawling nature of both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the X-Men movie franchise, Marvel Studios may be better off focusing on the Fantastic Four when it comes to merging superhero teams. Discussion of this possible expansion of the MCU has been rampant ever since we learned that The Walt Disney Company is in talks to acquire Twentieth Century Fox and its associated film properties – including Fox-owned Marvel characters like the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.
This is an exciting prospect for comic book fans, because it means that the Disney-owned Marvel Studios would, theoretically, be able to use X-Men characters in MCU movies. The question, of course, is whether Marvel would attempt to somehow integrate the X-Men movie universe (which has been around for almost two decades – considerably longer than the MCU itself), or simply start over fresh.
The X-Men have naturally been making most of the headlines, given the long-standing success of the X-Men movie franchise and the popularity of its characters. Meanwhile, the Fantastic Four have been somewhat overlooked, given that there have already been three Fantastic Four movies in the past couple of decades, and they’ve from bad to outstandingly terrible. However, the Fantastic Four would arguably be an even more valuable addition to the MCU than the X-Men – not to mention a considerably less messy one.
This Page: What the Fantastic Four Offer To The MCU
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What the Fantastic Four Offer To The MCU
In a way, the fact that the Fantastic Four haven’t had a really great movie adaptation yet is one of the biggest points in their favor. It would be very difficult for Marvel to find a new Professor Xavier after Patrick Stewart spent seventeen years making the role his own, but few people are particularly attached to Jessica Alba’s Sue Storm or Miles Teller’s Reed Richards. Needless to say, 2015’s Fantastic Four cast can’t be integrated into the MCU even if Marvel was eccentric enough to try it, since Johnny Storm actor Michael B. Jordan became one of Marvel’s best villains so far, Killmonger, in this year’s Black Panther.
Logistically, adding the Fantastic Four to the MCU would be quite straightforward. Unlike the mutants, these characters don’t have a long history of gradual emergence into the public eye. They’re simply the result of a science experiment gone wrong, and those sorts of things happen all the time in the MCU. An MCU Fantastic Four movie could even incorporate existing elements from the mega-franchise’s history – for example, by having the team use discarded Chitauri technology or Stark Industries advancements in their ill-fated space mission.
Crucially, adding Reed Richards to the MCU would also open up the franchise to exploring the Illuminati – a secret organization comprised of some of the most powerful heroes on the planet. The Illuminati’s original line-up consisted of Iron Man (who organized the group), Doctor Strange, Professor X, Black Bolt, Mister Fantastic, and Namor (Black Panther was also invited, but refused to join on account of thinking the Illuminati was a really, really, really bad idea). In the comics, Tony Stark was spurred to create this super-group out of the belief that the each of the separate superhero teams had information that could have collectively prevented the Kree-Skrull war, and other disasters. In the MCU, he could have a similar motivation; plenty of Marvel characters have information about Thanos and the Infinity Stones – they’re just not talking to each other.
Page 2: What the X-Men Offer to the MCU
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