Ever since news regarding the potential purchase of 20th Century Fox’s entertainment division by Disney, there has been a plethora of theories circulating the internet regarding how the different properties could work into Marvel’s cinematic universe. If this merger goes through, the X-Men would probably be the more financially exciting gain at Marvel, however, the majority of fans’ discussions have revolved around the Fantastic Four.
We have seen three Fantastic Four movies, the first two belonging to the franchise led by actors Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, and Chris Evans. Additionally, there is the most recent attempt at it, which wound up being a catastrophic mess. We’ll leave it at that. It’s safe to say that Marvel’s First Family is long overdue for some positive spotlight in Hollywood. With Marvel Studios likely obtaining the film rights to the characters, it could be time for the Fantastic Four to be done right. All this hype has turned up some of the most creative, exciting, and downright outrageous theories we have heard in a while. Fans want to see this team done justice, for once. We have compiled our favorite fan theories that we’ve come across on social media, devised ourselves, or just talked about with friends. Marvel has established a universe in which literally anything can happen, so introducing four new enhanced characters shouldn’t be too hard… due to both the magnitude and the creativity that has presented to us in the 10 years of the MCU so far, there are a wealth of opportunities as well as examples of how to successfully introduce such a team.
Infinity War Theory
Many fans expect Marvel to utilize this inheritance in their largest movie to date—and probably ever—Avengers: Infinity War. While this idea does seem like the obvious route with the incredible amount of tickets the film is predicted to sell, this is not likely. At all. It is important to remember that Infinity War started shooting in January of 2017, many months before news of this merger broke loose. Marvel could not have written and filmed scenes referencing a team they did not have the rights to, and did not even plan on obtaining. That said, that doesn’t mean they cant use this film as a bridge after the fact.
Hypothetically, let’s imagine Marvel does end up getting the rights to the Fantastic Four, and one of the unnamed films with 2020 release dates is in fact that team’s solo movie. By then, we surely expect the team to already have their powers and be a fairly developed group. We have seen the origin enough times already. For those unfamiliar though, in basic terms, Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm are on a mission in outer space. There is an explosion of radiation, granting the four various superhuman abilities. Marvel may want to utilize this traditional origin of the Fantastic Four. In this theory, I am suggesting that the Fantastic Four could be in space while the events of Infinity War take place. With all the reality and space warping that is sure to occur in the film, it is not far fetched to assume that four scientists on a space walk at the time could obtain superpowers. Perhaps they were out there to study all the bizarre cosmic motion in outer space?
In the Fantastic Four film, whenever, and if ever it happens, there could be flashbacks and references to this pivotal moment for the team. It would achieve what Marvel so brilliantly does: fabricate all of their stories together. If this new MCU group of super heroes were the aftermath of Infinity War’s events, it would easily showcase that they are now apart of Marvel’s shared cinematic universe. That said, this is only a theory I have been tinkering with. There are a lot of moving pieces, including the Baxter building, Doom and Latveria, etc. This is merely speculation on how I believe the Fantastic Four could seamlessly blend in a ways in the future using what Marvel is doing now. Bearing in mind that there will be no name drops, appearances, or even slight nods, as the film releases globally in less than two weeks and the deal still has not been finalized, this theory could be a way for them to use Infinity War’s massive stage later on to showcase their new projects.
The Wakanda Influence Theory
The most recent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Black Panther shows a template for a new kind of addition to the extended world. Black Panther brings us to a new land, a technological haven protected from the outside eye. T’Challa brings Wakanda into a new generation, as the film ends with him announcing to the United Nations, and in turn the world, that Wakanda is ready to be known. How this introduction could relate to the Fantastic Four is very simple, and it starts with their greatest adversary. While they do have their own respected gallery of villains, it almost impossible to imagine them appearing in the greater universe without Dr. Doom’s inclusion. While we have seen two vastly different versions of the character, we have never seen the truest canonical incarnation. Dr. Doom, better known as Victor Von Doom, in his true comic origin, is the ruler of Latveria. That is a side of the character that has not yet been explored and has barely been referenced to in any of the previous movies. This would be a great way to tease the Fantastic Four into the MCU before needing to have any casting or filming done.
In this theory, Wakanda is to be the template for Latveria on a global stage. The MCU rendition of Latveria could be quick to follow Wakanda’s lead to bring its wealth and knowledge to the rest of the world in the wake of Wakanda doing the very same thing. This would be a fantastic way to smoothly incorporate the world of the Fantastic Four into the MCU in a way that not only ties into what they have been building but highlights their successes. They could easily have an announcement be made on the news, via press conference similarly to T’Challa. While, they could show Victor making the announcement, there are ways to do so before casting is even official. The background of the news could show a bottom line of the breaking storyline involving Latveria to simply tease it into existence. This would give them a chance to set up their own future with a new twist on one of the biggest and baddest villains in the Marvel Universe.
Alternate Universe Theories Intro
The common comparison when discussing the addition of the Fantastic Four to the MCU is none other than your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. That comparison comes for a couple of reasons: the first of which being they are the other major Marvel property held by another studio (Sony Pictures instead of 20th Century Fox). Similarly both rights were acquired by the motherland company: Marvel Studios. The other reason why the properties are heavily being linked is that in previous films their characters have appeared in not one but two separate incarnations with various actors and storylines.
While Marvel may very well pull from certain aspects of Spider-Man: Homecoming, not everything will be a one to one comparison. However, the biggest similarity is going to be the willingness to differentiate from the prior versions. With that being said, just as with Spider-Man, Marvel may want to avoid showing another version of the Fantastic Four origin story, which we have seen twice already. However, unlike Spider-Man, who is a character that is built to be a “rags to riches” story of a character that goes from zero to hero, the Fantastic Four have a vastly more complicated story that would make the Marvel Universe significantly more convoluted to have been withholding. Peter Parker gained his powers and used them to become a hero in the streets of Queens where, even though Tony Stark has his eyes on him, he can largely fly under the radar in the grand scheme of the MCU.
Comparatively the Fantastic Four are not only the owners of the Baxter Building, one of the largest buildings in New York, they also become borderline celebrities after the accident and even beforehand they are famous scientists, not to mention the inclusion of Victor Von Doom. None of these characters have been referenced to any degree in the MCU. Not only would none of the MCU’s scientist characters have interacted with a member of the Fantastic Four, but also the space travel done by the team would in some way or another be impacted by the known galactic travel and extra terrestrial involvement shown previously in the MCU. Due to those factors, Marvel Studios may want to consider alternate forms of introducing the Fantastic Four into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The following theories are potential ways for them to do so:
Alternate Universe Theory
One of the most common theories floating around on how to bring in the Fantastic Four and the 20th Century Fox super hero universe at large is to have them already exist. While this could incorporate the pre-existing universe built over the 18 years of movies, it would also allow them to build new already developed characters and stories. Science is a key part of many of Marvel’s characters, and a great way to explore new ideas with their new or old characters. The multiverse is a common theory in the world of super heroes, and one that has vaguely been introduced to the MCU via Dr. Stephen Strange. While hypothetically speaking, the MCU could use something like either of the original incarnations of the Fantastic Four, neither of those options seem slightly plausible (especially since both Human Torches have moved on to their own respective roles in the MCU), it seems significantly more likely the MCU would want to cast and build their own Fantastic Four. There are a couple ways they could go about this, but the end result would be the same: a Fantastic Four that is already developed and built both as heroes, celebrities, and characters. This would be a great way for the MCU to bring in these characters without having to retread the already seen origins and backstories. However, the sacrifice in doing so, would be to give up certain aspects of character developments and the relationships between those characters which are so integral to their beings.
One way to do that, as mentioned previously would be through Dr. Strange. He is the protector of the universe and has shown the ability to see and appear into other realms. It would be entirely logical for him to call out to a powerful team of heroes in another universe to help fight whatever entity is trying to take over the world at that time. Not only would that be a sensible way to bring them in, that would also open a new dimension (pun intended) into how to incorporate new and different characters from other dimensions (Spider-Verse, anyone?) for future storytelling purposes. While that way would be a great one to highlight their own character and his almost limitless power, that is not the only way to create inter-dimensional travel.
The other way they can incorporate introduce this highly conceptual idea of multiple universes and the ability to travel between them, would be to introduce the smartest man, not only in the room but in the universe. Marvel has already shown their fair share of geniuses, but showing Reed Richards as the smartest one of them all would be a great well to develop that character quickly and powerfully. Reed Richards is at some points too smart for his own good, but is always a genius among geniuses. Marvel could use that attribute to have a brilliant and developed Reed Richards, ripe with his “fantastic” powers, build a technology so advanced that he can travel across universes on his own. This could be for a multitude of reasons, not limited to but including the fact that their universe is dead or dying, or he is trying to save it, that he is trying to save the threatened Earth-616 (MCU) or just by complete accident. No matter how they do it, there are an ample amount of ways to logically put Reed Richards and his team into the MCU by the use of his own scientific advancements.
The Time Gap Theory
The Fantastic Four are one of the earliest comics ever brought in by the Marvel Brand, debuting in 1961. They are clearly a part of the Golden Age of comics and their earliest stories plant them starkly into that era of storytelling. While this would be a more complex and advanced method of bringing them into fruition, it would quite possibly create the greatest potential for maximizing the narrative, and bringing in a chance for humor. This theory gives the characters a chance to live most similarly to their original versions, and tremendously different from any other interpretation that we have seen.
There are a couple of different possibilities for how this would play out, but the basis is the same: the team exists and explores space in the 1960’s/70’s and ends up getting stuck there. This would most likely come from an extended period of time in “The Negative Zone” an anti-matter universe that is the exact opposite from our earth. This would give the team a chance to exist for many years and get experience coming together as heroes and characters and come back into our time without missing a step or being a single day older. There are plenty of versions of deep space, parallel universes, or wormhole types of events that Marvel has access to. Any of these could act as the bridge for this theory.
Using this method would be able to logically explain why these characters or heroes would have ever showed up or been mentioned in the years and years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It would also allow for the characters to be shown in a different light, and stay true to the canonical archetypes. That sort of “out of time” trope would create a variety of storytelling opportunities, as well as be played up for comedic effect with their interactions with both the modern earth characters and aliens already in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This idea would even allow for Captain America to even get a chance to be “the cool one” for a change, and would certainly bring a change of pace to the MCU.
With all of that being said, there are certainly a variety of different options that the MCU could pull from to bring the Fantastic Four into their extended universe. While the deal isn’t even finalized yet, and all this fantasizing could be for nothing, we can’t help but get excited. Marvel’s First Family is long overdue for a quality incarnation on the big screen, and with all the different directions Marvel may take with the team, the future is unclear, but exciting nonetheless.
What do you guys think? How would you introduce the Fantastic Four into Marvel’s shared universe? Leave a comment below and repost if you enjoyed this article!