There's been a lot of talk about shared universes of late, especially as they relate to superhero movies. Marvel, for example, has obviously had huge success with its shared universe, from Iron Man to The Avengers to Captain America 2. DC Entertainment is in the process of constructing its own shared universe with Batman vs. Superman. And then there's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which some believe was hindered by Sony's push to create a shared Spider-Man universe.
Meanwhile, Fox owns the movie rights to both the X-Men franchise and Fantastic Four. Could these properties make a good shared universe? Consultant Mark Millar seems to think so. But writer/producer Simon Kinberg, who's sort of sheparding both the X-Men and FF franchises, thinks that an idea like that would be "complicated."
Kinberg recently spoke to Screen Crush about Josh Trank's upcoming Fantastic Four reboot and the "challenges" of reboots with origin stories. And though he wouldn't explicitly say whether or not the new Fantastic Four movie was an origin story, he did say this:
People have a very different relationship to the Fantastic Four movies than they had to Raimi’s 'Spider-Man' movies. And Raimi’s 'Spider-Man' movies — and that first 'Spider-Man' movie — is a beloved movie that sort of redefined, tonally, sort of what comic book movies could do. There had been other superhero movies, like ‘X-Men,’ but Raimi’s Spider-Man had a joyfulness to it that was unique, I think, to the genre. So, rebooting a movie that was beloved less than ten years after it had come out is challenging. So, we approach ‘Fantastic Four’ with a different set of challenges.
All of which kind of makes you think that this Fantastic Four reboot is going to be an origin story - and that's probably a good thing. Whereas origin stories in superhero movies can make them feel a bit formulaic and predictable, something like the upcoming Fantastic Four, which seems to be a true rehaul of the story, probably could use a refresher course. After all, the last time audiences saw the Fantastic Four, they were all adults (and in the case of two of them, middle-aged). Now, they're teenagers, not unlike the Ultimate Fantastic Four.
And that's on top of the fact that seeing how the Fantastic Four comes together as a team and a family is half the fun. Otherwise, all of Thing's fire puns and all of the Human Torch's rock puns just won't have that extra oomph.
On the topic of whether or not Fox is building a shared superhero universe, Kinberg said:
Well, it’s complicated. Because none of the 'X-Men' movies have acknowledged the notion of a sort of superhero team — the Fantastic Four. And the Fantastic Four acquire powers, so for them to live in a world where mutants are prevalent is kind of complicated, because you’re like, “Oh, you’re just a mutant.” Like, “What’s so fantastic about you? [...] So, I guess we’ll go to school now. We’ll go to Xavier’s school.” No, it is ... they live in discrete universes.
When he says "they live in discrete universes," it seems pretty clear - there won't be any crossing over for these superhero teams. But then there's also the talk of how "complicated" it is. Is it possible that Kinberg just means that the Fantastic Four will remain in a "discrete" universe for the first film, where they can set everything up before eventually crossing over with the X-Men down the line? Or maybe discussions are ongoing as to whether or not a shared universe will be set up? Your guess is as good as ours.
Regardless, having the two super-teams coexist would seem to create some awkward creative dilemmas. Why does the population at large despise mutants, but not that guy who can turn into a ball of fire and "go supernova"? (This has always sort of been a weird double standard in the comics, too, where the Fantastic Four is adored and the mutant Forge is hated and feared.)
And if they do coexist, how do they address their newfound superpowers? Do they wonder if they're mutants? Does the media wonder if they're mutants? Do they namedrop the X-Men? Do they call up Professor Xavier for some superpower advice?
These are all issues that sort of need to be addressed right away in the first Fantastic Four movie. Either this is a world that's familiar with superpowers, or it's a world that's completely shocked and amazed by them.
Finally, Kinberg talked about the tone we can expect from Fantastic Four:
It’s like, there’s a spectrum, tonally, from like Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ to Josh Trank’s ‘Chronicle’ movie. We’re on the spectrum, but between those two movies. And I would say, I don’t know where the needle turns, but we are in-between those films. On the other side of ‘Chronicle’ is probably like, ‘X-Men’ is around there with the darkness. And then ‘The Dark Knight’ is the darkest. And on the other side is ‘Spider-Man’ — the original ‘Fantastic Four’ movies are probably on the other side of the goofiness. So, we’re somewhere in-between the joyfulness of Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ movies and the reality and drama of Josh’s ‘Chronicle.’
This isn't the first time Kinberg has referred to the tone of this FF reboot as being between Spider-Man and Chronicle, but it's interesting to see his take on the different tones of the other films he mentions (I think he's saying X-Men and The Dark Knight AREN'T as dark as Chronicle). Of course, there's a huge breadth between Sam Raimi's Spider-Man and Chronicle, so it's not extremely telling to know that FF will be somewhere "between those two movies."
That said, given how many times we've heard the film will be grounded, we can probably presume the tone won't be all that close to Spider-Man.
What say you, Screen Ranters? Do you want to Fox's Fantastic Four and X-Men films to coexist in the same universe? Or would you prefer they stay completely separate? Drop us a line in the comments.
Fantastic Four hits theaters June 19th, 2015.
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.
Source: Screen Crush