fantastic four

Fans are in a bit of a tizzy with what appears to be a done deal, with Disney acquiring the entertainment division of 20th/21st Century Fox.  Disney already owns Marvel Studios while Fox owns the film rights to the ‘X-Men’ and ‘Fantastic Four’, thanks to a deal brokered in 1999.  The merger seemed to point to the possibility that for the first time, the film rights to all of Marvel’s major properties would reside under one roof, allowing them to, at long last, be woven together in one huge shared universe.  (Sony holds the rights to Spider-Man and related characters, but thanks to an agreement, Spider-Man himself is now shared with Marvel/Disney.)

Sadly, just when fans started processing this mindblowing concept, news has surfaced to yank the rug right out from under them.  It doesn’t look like the rights to ‘Fantastic Four’ will be shifting to Disney after all.

It’s a bit convoluted, but the simple explanation is that the production rights to the Fantastic Four belong to Constantin Films, with Fox only holding the distribution rights.  Now Fox did co-produce the three existing ‘FF’ films and are the larger studio, therefore in more people’s minds, these were Fox films, but technically, legally that isn’t the case.

That isn’t to say that a deal won’t be brokered for Marvel/Disney to enter into a similar agreement, similar to the one that Sony made for Spider-Man and the one that allows Marvel to use The Hulk, in agreement with Universal Studios.  There have been agreements reached between the different studios, which allows Marvel/Disney to use the alien Skrulls, and Ego the Living Planet who played a major role in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’.  So there is the spark of hope at least.

But it’s no longer a given that Marvel Comics’ first family will suddenly be hobnobbing with The Avengers on the big screen.

Constantin and Fox produced two cycles of ‘FF’ movies.  Tim Story directed two, one in 2005 and the sequel ‘Rise of the Silver Surfer’ in 2007.  These two films starred Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic, Jessica Alba as Susan Storm/Invisible Woman, Chris Evans as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm/The Thing, and Julian McMahon as Doctor Victor Von Doom with Kerry Washington as Alicia Masters, Stan Lee as mailman Willie Lumpkin, and Doug Jones as the Silver Surfer, whose voice was provided by Laurence Fishburn.

Evans moved on from ‘FF’ to embody Captain America for Marvel/Disney but recently tweeted an idea for a team-up film featuring his two characters.

An ill-conceived reboot of ‘FF’ was released in 2015, with Josh Trank directing and Miles Teller playing Reed, Kate Mara as Sue, Michael B. Jordan as Johnny, Jamie Bell as Ben and Toby Kebbell as Doom.  This film’s title is sometimes stylized as “Fant4stic.”  Like Evans, Jordan has since gone on to join the MCU as Erik Killmonger in the upcoming ‘Black Panther’.

The first two ‘FF’ movies were decently received but not massive hits, while the third was a certified flop.  Fans have hoped for years that the rights would revert to Marvel, allowing that studio to do the team “right” and for a moment it looked like that could finally happen.  But now, the future is uncertain.

Are you upset that we may still not get a Marvel-guided ‘Fantastic Four’ movie?  Or is that franchise so damaged that it needs a long rest anyway?

Source: Screen Rant