Well isn’t this sweet? Everyone wants to share things! Marvel may have run off with all the Avengers properties, but Sony and Fox are still in the game. And crossovers and multi-film arcs are on the menu, with the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians Of The Galaxy as two of the four films leading up to The Avengers: Age Of Ultron. To combat this, Sony has stretched their Spider-Man rights to accommodate movies starring The Sinister Six and Venom. Which leaves Fox, about to release X-Men: Days Of Future Past this summer and The Fantastic Four the next. What can they do to cross streams in a manner similar to Marvel’s Iron Man And The Gang spinoffs?
Earlier today, a respected finance site called The Motley Fool claimed to have the answer, and it’s a silly but obvious one. They erroneously reported that Fox was planning on making a film that mashed up the worlds of the X-Men and Fantastic Four, something that’s theoretically been in-play for quite a while. A retraction was posted, but was it necessary? Was it premature? Where there’s a match, is there a firestorm? Should cats and dogs be allowed to live together, or are we being unnecessarily draconian about our societal rules regarding cross-species partnerships?
We’ve known that Mark Millar and Simon Kinberg have been engaging with Fox braintrust about developing the Fantastic Four and X-Men cinematic universes. But some digging by Latino Review uncovers Millar’s earlier quotes about the possibility of a crossover, where they claim that it’s a pipe dream, destined to not happen. Of course, these quotes are from August, long before Sony made their ambitious Spidey plans, and Millar has been known to stretch the truth regarding movies derived from his material: he’s spouted on and on about high level talent attached to adaptations of Nemesis and Superior, which never materialized. And while he is a "creative consultant" for Fox, back in March, X-Men: Days Of Future Past director Bryan Singer claimed he had never spoken to him.
Of course, this only means that it’s not happening now, as the original source claimed they made an error in reporting. Could it happen ever?
Following 2015’s The Fantastic Four, Fox also has X-Men: Apocalypse happening on May 27th, 2016. This sequel is said to be focusing primarily on the characters introduced in X-Men: First Class, which would mark the picture as a period piece, provided James McAvoy’s Professor X and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto are not time-displaced at the close of X-Men: Days Of Future Past. First Class was primarily set in the sixties, but the bulk of the in-the-past sequences in Days Of Future Past take place in the seventies. And that points to two things forever associated with The Fantastic Four.
-A period setting. The characters were Marvel’s First Family, and while the bulk of popular Marvel heroes were introduced in the early sixties, they were the first, landing in 1961. To that end, they’re also the one group of heroes most closely associated with their initial time period, the nuclear family headed by scientist Reed Richards as a sign of changing societal norms. Their origins also fit in with the coming space race of the late sixties, an American team of trail blazers that captured the imagination of science fans uninterested in the more fantastical adventures of the Justice League in rival DC comics. When the first film was in development in the late nineties and early 00’s by director Peyton Reed, the intention was to make a period picture that took advantage of 60’s aesthetics.
-Time travel. There’s nowhere to start here. The Fantastic Four have been time-traveling since their very early days, frequently hopping to different realities and dimensions, as well. Of all the Marvel characters, they are the ones most likely involved in temporal experiments, and it’s unusual that of all superhero franchises, the X-Men beat them to the punch here.
Is it possible that the period setting of the new X-Men movies means that they might cross paths with Reed Richards and company? Could the time-hopping elements of Days Of Future Past affect the Fantastic Four, perhaps on their first, fated trip into space? Is there a shred of a possibility that the original rumor, claiming the X-Men and Fantastic Four clash over secrets regarding the Four’s origins, is true? You’d have to stay tuned, true believers. As the schedule says so far, we’ve got a Fantastic Four movie coming, two more X-Men adventures, as well as another eventual Wolverine sequel. If this is a possibility, it’s a long way down the line.