Principal photography on Twentieth Century Fox's reboot of Fantastic Four wrapped two months ago and while we've yet to see any teasers or marketing materials for the feature we can say that the studio is confident in this one. Fox has big plans for the younger team and while we don't know what that entails quiet yet, there's a good chance it will eventually involve the X-Men. In reality, there's little chance it won't.
The expectation was that we'd get our first look at director Josh Trank's take on the Fantastic Four earlier this summer at Comic-Con but it didn't happen. We can't knock the studio for wanting to make sure they get it 'right', finish the effects, etc., and have something that's worthy enough of winning fans and skeptics over. The brand isn't exactly the hottest among Marvel Comics (the main Fantastic Four series has been canned) and the last two FF movies didn't failed to launch a lucrative long-term franchise.
But now, things are very different at Fox. They've put a lot more value in the Marvel properties they still own after giving up on Daredevil and are putting their resources to X-Men and Fantastic Four. There are one or two Marvel movies coming from Fox every year now. (Marvel Studios now owns the film rights to Daredevil and is launching a Netflix series for the character next summer).
Trank, an A-list up and coming filmmaker was given the director's chair for this take on The Fantastic Four, and he's already been tapped to direct one of the upcoming Star Wars spinoffs. He's hand-picked a cast of unquestionably talented and proven young actors. And helping produce the reboot are Matthew Vaughn, Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker - who are all also working away on Fox's X-Men franchise. That's not a coincidence.
Kinberg co-wrote the screenplay for The Fantastic Four reboot, helped write this year's successful X-Men: Days of Future Past and is currently putting together the story for X-Men: Apocalypse. So, when comic book writer Mark Millar joined Fox last year as a creative consultant for their Marvel properties, it wasn't at all shocking to hear him repeatedly tease big ideas for the future of these properties, including the fan-desired concept that after the Fantastic Four were established, they'd crossover with the X-Men. Later in 2013, Kinberg signed a multi-picture contract with Fox "to build stories over multiple movies." See where this is going?
It seemed rather clear what the long-term plan would be, why there are shared creatives behind both Marvel brands at Fox, and why Fox chose to focus on these two and is setting release dates far in advance for followups. But Kinberg downplayed the idea of crossover potential this summer while promoting X-Men: Days of Future Past, stating "they live in discrete universes." He explained that from a story perspective it wouldn't make sense for the Fantastic Four to live in a world full of mutants because they wouldn't be special, and on the already-established X-Men side, there's never been mention of the FF either.
Speaking to comicbook.com for the upcoming home video release of DOFP (we chatted with him too so stay tuned!), Kinberg changed his tune a little, now explaining that the Fantastic Four and X-Men sharing the same universe is possible.
"I love the characters, I love the characters in Fan Four, and I love the new cast. Obviously I love the characters and cast of X-Men. So, hypothetically, the notion of putting them together is really intriguing, and there’s some really fun stuff that the comics have done in the past. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility."
Perhaps any obstacles he previously mentioned in blending the two worlds can be rectified with the altered timeline and continuity established in X-Men: Days of Future Past. And if Fantastic Four embraces an alternate dimension/world origin story from the Ultimate Marvel Comics, they have another way they can bridge the gap. Let's put it this way - it wouldn't make sense for Fox to not cross the two properties over. We're in the era of shared movie universes and Kinberg frequently references the Marvel Studios model of long-term story planning and inter-connectivity. So, that Fantastic Four/X-Men crossover is coming. It just might be a few years away.
Where do you want to see these franchises go?
Fantastic Four opens August 7th, 2015, Deadpool on February 12, 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016, The Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3rd, 2017, Fantastic Four 2 on July 14th, 2017, and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13th, 2018.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.