In 2013 Fox made significant strides toward launching its own superhero movie universe. There was the solid performance of The Wolverine, which set up big reveals about the plot and cast of the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past; we also learned that a follow-up film, X-Men: Apocalypse will be coming in 2016 and will feature the iconic titular villain, with more Wolverine films and an X-Force movie also helping to expand the X-Movie universe.
But mutants aren't all we're getting: the past year also brought further developments with the Fantastic Four reboot being helmed by Chronicle director Josh Trank, reminding us that Fox is weaving something together that could eventually bring the X-Men and Fantastic Four together in one film. And now, new word is circulating about such a team-up film.
Bleeding Cool pointed us to a report from The Motley Fool, in which the investment site laid out the following claim as part of its report on studios other than Disney that will soon benefit from the Marvel brand:
Fox owns the rights to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men characters, who are among the most well-known comic book heroes of all time. After multiple movies in their respective franchises, Fox has now decided to combine the Fantastic Four and the X-Men for an "Avengers"-style movie that could pay off huge for shareholders.
Based on a 1987 four issue comic called Fantastic Four vs. X-Men, the movie will see the characters against each other because of secrets regarding the Fantastic Four's origin.
Now this isn't really all that big of a revelation; for months now there has been heavy speculation (even expectation) that a X4 movie (X-Men + Fantastic Four) could happen. Fox's Marvel universe shepherd, Mark Millar, initially made claims that characters from the respective teams could show up in the other team's movies, before back-peddling on the idea of a direct X4 movie crossover. So for now, the official focus seems to be on building these respective franchises in viable brands.
However, any serious fan can tell you that at this point a crossover is a no-brainer: the new game in the superhero movie genre is to build a franchise universe, and that's the level of entertainment that fans have come to expect. With only these two Marvel properties in development, Fox has limited options for team-up films. X4 would make sense - but only if both brands are established enough to warrant it
At the moment the X-Men films are going bigger and bolder with attempts to introduce things like time travel (possibly multiple timelines) and more fantastical villains like The Sentinels and Apocalypse. Meanwhile, casting rumors for the Fantastic Four have the fan community raising a collective eyebrow, with young up-and-comers like Miles Teller (21 & Over), Allison Williams (Girls) and Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) rumored for the principal roles of Reed Richards, Sue Storm and Johnny Storm, respectively. Needless to say, these rumors have not been met with universal acclaim.
With so many risks on the table, team-up talk is premature at this point. Unless both franchises are successful in their second-act relaunches, a team-up won't ever be necessary. Writer Simon Kinberg is currently working to manage both franchises, so tracks may indeed get laid for the future - but only the box office returns will determine if it's a future that comes to fruition.
[Update: Source article, when questioned, revealed to piecing together Wiki and another site's speculation as a scoop. It's not true.]
X-Men: Days of Future Past hits theaters on May 23, 2014, Fantastic Four releases March 6, 2015. X-Men: Apocalypse releases May 27, 2016.