During a live Q&A on his official Facebook page last night, Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn (currently hard at work shooting the sequel) commented on the possibility of the Fantastic Four’s inclusion in the MCU and cited two villains he’d love to “play around with” in the MCU – namely, Annihilus and the time-traveling Kang the Conqueror (pictured above to the right and left respectively of FF’s archnemesis Doctor Doom).
I probably wouldn’t add Ben Grimm to the Guardians team even if they were a part of the MCU. And of course I would love the FF to be a part of the MCU…Fox owns so many great villains and cosmic characters I would love to play around with including Annihilus — and I think they own Kang.
Gunn mentions Grimm because he becomes a member of the Guardians when the Four disband in the comics – temporarily of course.
Marvel’s First Family sits in a precarious position; last summer’s reboot was a failure of epic proportions and the sequel, dated for less than two years later in June 2017, was quietly nixed. When Fox also failed to get a Daredevil reboot off the ground (Joe Carnahan even came in with a Hail Mary presentation), the character’s rights reverted to Marvel Studios which had its TV division turn it into a successful Netflix series and the lynchpin of its Defenders-verse. And when Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 disappointment critically and commercially, Spider-Man actually got to join Marvel in an unprecedented sharing deal between the two rival companies.
Could something similar happen with the Fantastic Four? It’s hard to see another sequel or reboot being salvageable. Like Sony, Fox has severely damaged their superhero’s brand, although they’ve managed to creatively recover the X-Men universe into a burgeoning second-tier MCU. Their best bet seems to be folding the Four into that series, treating them how Marvel treats the Hulk or Hawkeye – a utility player best used in contrast with others. However, it also seemed impossible two years ago that Spider-Man would ever appear in the MCU and yet here we are, three weeks from his debut in Captain America: Civil War and just over a year away from his solo film, the aptly-titled Spider-Man: Homecoming. So let’s not count the Fantastic Four or their villains out of the MCU just yet.