2015 is overcrowded with uber-geek movie projects: An Avengers sequel here, a Batman/Superman crossover there, Jurassic Park IV, Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, and even a freaking Star Wars sequel. By comparison, Fox’s planned Fantastic Four reboot is currently flying under the radar. The film will mark the first studio effort by Josh Trank, who made last year’s sleeper hit Chronicle; supposedly, Chronicle (and Fruitvale Station) star Michael B. Jordan is in the running to play Johnny Storm. Morever, the film will mark a complete break from the continuity of the mid-00s Fantastic Four series, which are mostly live on as artifacts of the pre- performance-capture era when poor Michael Chiklis had to walk around wearing orange rocks.
Although little is actually known about Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot, rumors have abounded that 20th Century Fox has big plans for the reboot series. The studio also owns the big screen rights to the X-Men franchise, the longest-running series of the modern superhero era. In this post-Avengers moment, Fox is moving forward aggressively with the X-Men, with next year’s Days of Future Past uniting all the various franchise strands into one time-hopping mega-movie. Would Fox seek to link together X-Men and Fantastic Four, creating their own version of the Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe?
A possible answer to that question comes from Mark Millar, the comic book writer (and creator of Kick-Ass) who has been working for Fox as a “creative consultant” since last year. In the new issue of SFX, Millar is asked whether the new Fantastic Four will share a universe with the X-Men, and says: “Without question I think you have to see some of these guys showing up in each other’s movies.” That might read as kind of a non-answer answer, but given that the hot new thing with superhero franchises is to A) pump them out every two years, and B) create intra-continuity crossovers as soon as possible, it’s plausible that the FF and the X-M will share the screen in just a few years. (Fox did not respond to EW’s email for comment, probably because any potential FF-X-Men movie depends on the financial success of two films released in May 2014 and March 2015, respectively.)
Lest we forget, there was a brief span in the early ’90s when Wolverine led a group known as the New Fantastic Four, which means – crucially – there is a way to fit Hugh Jackman into a Fantastic Four movie. Of course, the other members of the New Fantastic Four were Spider-Man, the Hulk, and Ghost Rider – and Fox doesn’t own the film rights to those characters. But that’s a simple fix: Just plug in characters from the back bench of FF and X-Men continuity! I mean, who wouldn’t want to see a movie starring Wolverine, Huntara, Shatterstar, and Strong Guy, with a special appearance by Michael Chiklis as Uatu the Watcher?