As Marvel Studios ventures forth, growing their interconnected comic book film universe, and Marvel Comics prepares to relaunch many of their main ongoing books, Twentieth Century Fox hopes to successfully implement something equally as ambitious with their own Marvel films.
To do this, they've enlisted the help of Mark Millar, the brain behind several major Marvel Comics events and series. And as suspected, he will aid Fox in pushing forward towards an interconnected, "cohesive" Marvel cinematic universe of their own.
The official announcement regarding Millar's signing with Fox was made two weeks ago, detailing the comic creator's position as "creative consultant on the studio’s upcoming projects based on Marvel Comics properties." To us, this was immediately reminiscent of Joss Whedon's recent three-year exclusive deal with Marvel Studios where he will help organize their upcoming films leading up to The Avengers 2, which he will write and direct. Fox now had their own overseer of sorts who could potentially help not only Bryan Singer in fleshing out the X-Men universe into something bigger, but have those movies share the same space as Fantastic Four, a property they're rebooting with Josh Trank (Chronicle).
As it turns out, that's exactly the case. In chatting with SFX, Mark Millar teased Fox's big picture plans:
"Fox have said that they want to build a cohesive universe and I’d personally like this to work in complement to the Marvel one. It would be cool if these universes didn’t contradict each other so if you went to see Spidey, The Avengers, the X-Men, etc, as a viewer you would have no idea that all three are coming from different studios. I’d love to make it look like they’re all just happening in one place.
"I don’t think it’s something anyone would want to rush into. Following that Marvel model, we want to establish things first. If you had a Fantastic Four relaunch, and Wolverine and the X-Men were in it, I think it would distract you from the Fantastic Four. You can make people aware that they’re existing in the same universe without making it a big crossover movie but it would be an injustice to the Fantastic Four not to make their first movie all about them."
We already know The Wolverine is distancing itself from X-Men Origins: Wolverine in that it's more of a standalone story than a sequel. From Millar's words, Fantastic Four is similarly attempting to stand on its own two feet before they rush into crossing all of the characters together. Daredevil, as of last week, is now back with Marvel and therefore doesn't fit into the equation.
The most interesting bit is how Millar specifically uses the word "compliment" in describing how Fox's Marvel cinematic universe can exist alongside Disney-Marvel's Avengers-headlined one. With each studio owning the rights to different sets of characters, there can be no crossover between the live-action Avengers and X-Men, even if they all find themselves in New York at a given time. Although, if the studios can come to some sort of agreement, like Sony and Marvel almost did by having a reference to The Amazing Spider-Man in The Avengers, perhaps there can be minor nods and Easter Eggs back-and-forth, to at least reference major events.
This sentiment was also shared by X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner who didn't hesitate in expressing her love of the idea of having the X-Men and The Avengers crossover one day. That's not going to happen, but with The Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four both starting anew, and X-Men potentially reshaping itself with Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn's time travel tale X-Men: Days of Future Past, this would be the opportune time to start paying tribute to each franchise's respective continuities. Then again, this arguably wouldn't serve to benefit Marvel Studios since they couldn't use these other superheroes to fight global threats, where they would in the books.
If you missed it, head to page 2 to read the letter Mark Millar wrote to his fans about the new gig after it was announced.
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The Wolverine releases July 26, 2013, X-Men: Days of Future Past on July 18, 2014, and the Fantastic Four reboot is in active development but still awaiting a release date.
Sources: Mark Millar, SFX