This was inevitable, right? After Fantastic Four struggled to find its audience over the summer, Fox would have had to move mountains to keep the previously announced sequel, Fantastic Four 2, on track for its 2017 release date. Or, as some had speculated, they could cut bait and look for a Plan B that didn’t involve Marvel’s first family. From the looks of things, that’s what’s about to happen.
As was first reported by BoxOfficeMojo, 20th Century Fox has removed Fantastic Four 2 off of its release calendar. It was supposed to land in theaters on June 19, 2017, where it would have faced off against Cars 2 and Kingsman 2. (Seeing as how that’s a Fox title, the Fantastic Four sequel might have moved anyway. No reason for two Fox titles to compete against each other.) However, now the future of the superhero franchise is in question – though the studio isn’t without options.
Fantastic Four ran into several problems, both during production, in post-production, and in the run up to release. Some of it has been covered in the press, as Fantastic Four director Josh Trank shined a light on the fact that the final cut for the superhero movie was taken out of his hands. In fact, we found parts of the movie that never made it to the big screen, from a Fantasti-Car to much longer action scenes involving The Thing (Jamie Bell) and Doctor Doom (Toby Kebbell). Something happened behind the scenes of Fantastic Four, and it likely cut the reboot origin story off at the knees.
That didn’t mean that Fantastic Four 2 couldn’t happen, though. The cast is in place, with four outstanding actors signed up to play the superhero team for at least one more movie. You’d need a director change, obviously, but in my review, I argued that there was enough to build on in Fantastic Four, and a sequel set in the world that Trank had created wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Alas, for the moment, the sequel seems to be on ice. What does that mean? Well, Fox has options. They can put a Deadpool sequel on the fast track, and try to program the second movie with Ryan Reynolds into the 2017 window. Or, the X-Men franchise can be used to resuscitate the Fantastic Four franchise. A team up of Fox’s mightiest properties could save the one series that has struggled. Then again, it could blow up in Fox’s face, potentially staining the now-successful X-Men films.
I think the one thing we all can agree on is that restarting The Fantastic Four would be a terrible idea. Much like Spider-Man, we don’t need a third iteration of the familiar characters on screen again. Something about these characters is very hard to crack on screen. And instead of rushing into a second movie with this new cast, it seems that Fox is heading back to the drawing board to figure out what – if anything – can be done to revive this series.