Why Fantastic Four Failed, According To Stan Lee

When it comes to the on-screen failure of Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four, there aren’t enough fingers in the industry to use to point out the blame. Trank, Fox and the cast all took a beating in the weeks following the film’s release, with many believing that something dubious happened behind the scenes to doom the picture (no pun intended) before it even opened. But Stan Lee has a much simpler reason for the movie’s failure, as he explains below.

Stan "The Man" Lee was interviewed by Larry King on something called Ora.tv when he was asked why Fantastic Four flopped. Lee, an expert on all things Marvel, bluntly explained:

Well, it was probably because I didn’t have a cameo in it, and they didn’t discuss the story with me."

The first part of that statement is a playful joke, a jab at the obvious fact that Stan Lee was omitted from Josh Trank’s superhero origin reboot. Which doesn’t make sense because Lee has filmed cameos for Fox’s X-Men films before, and even showed up in the two Tim Story Fantastic Four movies. Remember this postman?

The second part of Stan Lee’s statement, however, points to a larger problem that Fox and Josh Trank had when assembling this story for an updated Fantastic Four. No one consulted Lee, when he is – without question – the world’s greatest expert on Marvel’s first family. Not that Lee needs to be consulted on superhero movies anymore. Marvel and Fox have had success with and without Lee’s guidance. But FF has proven to be a very tough nut to crack over the years when studios attempt to adapt the source material, and seeing as how Stan Lee created the team with Jack Kirby, you would think that Trank and his screenwriting team would pick up the phone for a short conversation that answered the important question, "Hey, what would Stan Lee do here?"

Stan Lee doesn’t strike me as vindictive, but his next comments to Larry King cut the deepest. He admits in the interview that he hasn’t yet seen the new Fantastic Four, so he really couldn’t comment much further on its successes or failures. Stan Lee hasn’t seen the new Fantastic Four yet?!?! Not that Stan needs to drag his 92-year-old frame to the movie theater for a matinee, but Fox couldn’t hand-deliver a DVD copy of the film to his residence? The man created the team! Without him, there IS no Fantastic Four, thereby, there is no movie. I wonder what Stan Lee would have thought of Trank’s movie. That’s one review I’d pay good money to hear.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.