While director Peyton Reed got to make his first comic book movie with Ant-Man back in 2015, the project wasn't his first toe-dip into the superhero world. Instead, that happened nearly two decades ago when he was developing a version of Fantastic Four. That project obviously never came together, but now that it looks like the Disney-Fox merger may go through, is it possible that the script could be resurrected in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? I asked that exact question to Reed earlier today, and he told me the following:
Well, I have been known to mention Fantastic Four in conversations that may or may not have happened in the Marvel hallways. It's all a giant question mark at this point, because no one knows if this merger is going to happen. It was on, it was off, it was on... who knows. I guess I can dream, right? I can have the dream. We'll see. Time will tell!
Ant-Man & The Wasp's first domestic press day was held this afternoon in Pasadena, California, and it was at the end of my sit down with Peyton Reed that I inquired about the Fantastic Four. In recent months there's been a lot of chatter about Marvel's First Family potentially finding their way into the cinematic world of the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, and Reed didn't shut down my proposal of potentially blowing the dust off his old script.
Peyton Reed started working on his version of the Fantastic Four at 20th Century Fox circa 2001 -- part of a long line of filmmakers who the studio hired over time to try developing the property as a potential blockbuster. Reed's take was notably different than the other proposals in that it was set in the 1960s and created parallels between the Cold War space race and the activities of Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch and The Thing. It didn't come together, though, and the project was picked up by director Tim Story, who went on to actually make both the 2005 Fantastic Four and its sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer.
Reflecting on what Peyton Reed wanted to do with the Fantastic Four, the concept could potentially be a wonderful fit for the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- but there is kind of a catch. On the plus side, the movie would be stylistically different than all of the previous franchise films and other iterations thanks to the groovy setting, and their absence from modern day action could easily be explained away by saying that they've been lost/trapped in another dimension for decades. The real hiccup is that a version of this storytelling methodology was not only previously used in Captain America: The First Avenger, but is also expected to be a part of the upcoming Captain Marvel. They could find a way to get creative with it, though, and avoid making it feel like treaded material.
As noted by Peyton Reed, Disney's acquisition of Fox is not set in stone yet, so we can't say for certain if the Fantastic Four have a future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If they ultimately do, however, it would be exciting to see Reed's take come to life. For now, though, the good news is that we have his Ant-Man & The Wasp set to arrive very soon, hitting theaters everywhere on July 6th.