It took years to happen, billions of dollars and millions of nerds sitting impatiently on the edges of their proverbial seats but, finally, all of the Marvel characters are under one cinematic roof. Disney has pulled off what many considered as an impossibility bringing Spider-Man, The X-Men, and The Fantastic Four back to a unified universe. The internet, comic shops, and conventions have been exploding with the possibilities. Fans who have been doing their best to ignore the Fantastic Four films are suddenly begging for a new movie. Why was the super team such a significant piece of the Disney-Fox deal? Why are fans excited about a potential film that most movie-goers would consider doomed to fail? Why does the world need another Fantastic Four movie?
Even for a part-time fan, it was easy to see the value of bringing the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man into the Avengers roster. Same goes for the X-Men, who held up their own movie franchise for over 15 years. But, Fantastic Four has been looked at as more of a joke when it comes to big budget movies. Honestly, the list is… less than impressive:
- 1994 – The Fantastic Four (Never officially released)
- 2005 – Fantastic Four
- 2007 – Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
- 2015 – Fantastic Four
Not a group of award winners. In fact, the FF movies have been received so negatively it has had a detrimental impact on the source media. In 2015, after a 645-issue run, the Fantastic Four comic book was canceled. A title with over 50-years of rich history was pulled after a falling out with Fox Studios over the failing movie franchise. Along with the famed comic series, it felt like Marvel pulled the plug on anything Fantastic with a drought of the characters appearing in anything from merchandise to video games. The Fantastic Four vanished like Invisible Girl.
Yet, comic book nerds everywhere are hoping the Marvel Cinematic Universe gives this title one more shot. If the popularity of four characters created in the 60’s had gone so by the wayside that Marvel was able to drop them from their roster so easily, why are we still talking about them?
The answer is simple: they are Marvel’s first family. More than that, the Fantastic Four made Marvel Comics a family- made Marvel a universe unto itself.
History of the Fantasic Four
In 1961 comic book sales were being dominated by National Comics titles like Super Man and Justice League of America meanwhile a young writer at Marvel was becoming disgruntled with writing classic monster and western comics. Stan Lee has famously told the story many times of how his wife had convinced him to write one more book, the way that he wanted, before leaving comics forever. With the legendary artist, Jack Kirby, at his side the pair created Marvel’s first superhero team.
In the height of the Space Race, Lee wrote a story about four close friends traveling to the stars. Unfortunately, their rocket ship was not prepared for a violent burst of cosmic rays. What could have been a tragic tale of fallen adventurers, the four miraculously survived their fall to Earth only to discover they had been changed forever. With new super abilities, the friends came together to journey worlds never seen before, face villains no one else could defeat, and defend the world from sinister invaders. Mister Fantastic, Invisible Girl, Human Torch, and the monstrous Thing, the Fantastic Four!
Comic sales skyrocketed, and the duo of Lee and Kirby went on to produce one of comic histories most iconic runs. Fantastic Four consistently introduced villains and allies that are still popular today like Dr. Doom, Silver Surfer, Black Panther, and The Inhumans. Further, Lee, Kirby, and Marvel Comics started rolling out title after title of today’s most iconic superheroes. Characters that have become household names and raked in billions of dollars at the box office. Here is a list of all the MCU movies we would not have today, if not for the Fantastic Four:
With the exception of Captain America and surprisingly, Groot, almost every Marvel character on the big screen today spawned after Stan Lee’s one-last-go at comic books. Without the FF there would be no Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, or Avengers, we wouldn’t even have a Hulk. Comic creators, writers, artists, and fans owe their nerdy respect to Marvel’s first family. A publishing juggernaut has been built on the backs of the four space explorers.
The terrible Fantastic Four movies that we have witnessed over the last few decades are much like their most iconic character, The Thing. They are ugly and hard to look at. But, just like Ben Grimm, inside them is the heart of the Marvel Universe. That is why we deserve and need the united MCU to give Fantastic Four one more go. Until then, fans should be printing out red hats with the phrase ‘Make Fantastic Four Great Again’.
Come on Marvel; it’s clobberin’ time!
What do you think about the possibility of a Fantastic Four Movie? Let us know in the comments below.