After the latest cinematic disaster, many had assumed that was going to be it for the Fantastic Four. Josh Trank’s 2015 film was a critical and commercial failure that barely recouped its budget. It marked the third time that studios had attempted to make a big-budget feature for the team (we’re not counting the 1994 unreleased Roger Corman film) and it was reasonable to think that the heroes had finally struck out. Now there are rumors swirling that Fox might not be done with Marvel’s first family just yet.
The Fantastic Four have had a rough go of things lately and much of this could be blamed on the sub-par movies. The astute comic readers among you might have noticed Disney slowly phasing out comic books that it doesn’t have the film rights to (see many X-Men books lately?,) and Marvel cancelled the Fantastic Four comic in 2016. This marked the first time a Fantastic Four book hadn’t been in print in more than 50 years.
One of the few reminders of the former success of the superhero family can still be found at web-based gaming platforms. The team has been around long enough and has a large enough fan base that it still boasts a popular online slot reel replete with short animations accompanied by audio clips that bring the heroic family to life in an otherwise straightforward casual casino title. It goes to show that there’s clearly still a devoted Fantastic Four audience out there and many of them are still waiting for someone to finally give Marvel’s first family the film they deserve.
It turns out that there’s still a chance that might actually happen. There are reports that Fox is interested in a new Fantastic Four film. Writer and producer Simon Kinberg has gone on record saying that he definitely wants to go back and get things right. He also apparently felt that the darker tone of the 2015 film didn’t work with the typically fun family-affair fans were used to. Fox seems to be going full-steam ahead with its superhero epics and Kinberg noted that the studio is already planning two new X-movies in 2018. With other projects already on deck for the immediate future, it will be at least a few years before we see anything concrete regarding the Fantastic Four.
One star has already said that he isn’t planning on coming back to the franchise but that might work out for the best. Toby Kebbel has said in the event of a new film, Dr. Doom probably wouldn’t return. The MCU has proven that you can work with larger cosmic threats like Thanos, so bringing in a major villain like Galactus could put the franchise on the next level.
Another issue might be Michael B. Jordan’s inclusion in the upcoming “Black Panther” film. Jordan played Johnny “The Human Torch” Storm in the most recent “Fantastic Four,” but he’ll be the main villain (Erik Killmonger) in the 2018 “Black Panther” movie directed by Ryan Coogler. Of course, this hasn’t been an issue in the past between the various comic book movie camps. Ryan Reynolds played the title role in “Green Lantern” and now he’s synonymous with Deadpool. Also, most people forget that Chris Evans was the original Johnny Storm before he went on to become the face of Captain America. There’s a good chance that not enough people even saw the 2015 “Fantastic Four” for the replacement of Jordan to be an issue.
It’d be wonderful to see the Fantastic Four treated right, but at this point we’ve been fooled so many times that we’ll believe it when we see it. If a new movie can help prompt Marvel to bring back the comic as well, then we’re all for it. But it’s far too early to get excited just yet.