The Last Fantastic Four Story
CBR spoke with Jonathan Hickman and Marvel Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort about the conclusion of Secret Wars and what it means for the Fantastic Four. They say while crafting the story, it developed into what they consider the "last Fantastic Four story."
Hickman: There are things that have not changed since the beginning of me working on this stuff, and I think those bits are kind of obvious. The thing that organically happened, which worked to our benefit, was the fact that it was advantageous to be writing what was essentially the last Fantastic Four story.
Hickman continues, explaining that the FF conclusion was really the only major change of the story early on. Brevoort confirms what Hickman says, following up with how they played with fan expectations a little.
Brevoort: ...At a certain point, we set out here to do the last Fantastic Four story, at least for the time being. We didn't necessarily start with that as the original goal way back even with "Avengers" #1. That having been said, it's such a natural end point because a lot of this stuff organically grows out of Jonathan's "Fantastic Four" run. It seems like a fitting capstone to all of that.
Getting back to the "Secret Wars" #9 is unspoilable of it all, despite the fact that people have been walking around going, "Oh yeah, Reed dies. They all die in 'Secret Wars.'" In point of fact, none of those characters are dead. So once again, you thought you knew what was going to happen, but you didn't! Unspoilable.
Hickman, continues, adding that they had conversations about killing of the Fantastic Four but he didn't want to do that.
Hickman: Yeah, and that was a conversation in the room. Something that was absolutely talked about was should they die? I had absolutely zero interest in telling that story. [Laughs] Because it runs completely contrary to everything that I feel about that franchise and everything that I feel about those characters. So we got to where we wanted to get to.
Obviously, there's the reality that the Fantastic Four - as a film property - are owned by a rival studio in Twentieth Century Fox who burned the brand with the failed 2015 Josh Trank directed reboot. It had a sequel scheduled for 2017 that was removed off the slate as Fox instead focuses on its X-Men properties. The FF became the subject of speculation and rumors however when Marvel and Fox entered a partnership to co-produce a pair of X-Men television series for the Fox and FX networks, proving that the two can work together.
For some, this meant Marvel and Fox likely had made some sort of arrangement over the Fantastic Four rights as well given the current status of the film brand, knowing Fox just can't make it work on their own and without the rest of the MCU. Of course, these happenings occurred around the same time Marvel Studios had set multiple additional film release dates for 2020 leading to the belief that one of them could be a Marvel-produced reboot of the Fantastic Four set within Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - a plan of action that similarly became a reality for Sony's Spider-Man.
And while Marvel continues to hold back on FF licensing, meaning no toys, clothes, books, art, etc. alongside no new Fantastic Four books, its characters are not at all dead. In fact, the Human Torch and The Thing are alive and active in other books with the former appearing in Uncanny Avengers and Uncanny Inhumans and the latter serving among the Guardians of the Galaxy. As for Reed, Sue and the kids, they're building a universe of universes behind-the-scenes, a nice homage to their origins as the beginning of the Marvel Comics universe in the '60s.
It may take some time, but they'll be back. The Fantastic Four will reunite one day, and maybe, just maybe, they'll get a good movie too by then.