The MCU is at an all-time high after Avengers: Endgame became the most successful film of all time and also became the swan song for some of the franchise’s biggest heroes, such as Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Chris Evans’ Captain America. But after Disney’s purchase of Fox, there are many properties that Marvel can now add to their Cinematic Universe and the Fantastic Four are one of those exciting prospects.
Despite having four films so far, the Fantastic Four has never been adapted to their full potential and as fans, there is a certain degree of trust we have in Disney for them to get Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Ben Grimm, and Johnny Storm right. But how can they introduce the Fantastic Four and how will they get them right? We’ll tell you all about it here.
How To Introduce Them?
Despite being so well known in the large scheme of things and all of the great storylines that have been written with them throughout the years, there is one thing that we all have to admit about the Fantastic Four: their origin story is not that interesting. Unlike characters such as Spider-Man or Iron Man, whose origin stories are essential to understand their motivations and reasoning behind the things they do, the FF’s origin story of getting their powers through an accident in space is not that important for their characters’ motivations and it already has been shown in other adaptations.
It has been rumored that Ant-Man 3 will be the ending of that particular franchise and it could be a great way to set up the FF, thus taking the role in the MCU as the films that involve a lot of technology and weird science experiments, which is exactly within Reed Richards’ wheelhouse.
As Avengers: Endgame showed us, Scott Lang thought he spent five hours in the Quantum Realm when in reality he spent five years there. An interesting way to introduce the FF would be to say that they have been in the Quantum Realm since the 1960s, gaining their superpowers and feeling like they only spent fifty hours, give or take.
The 1960s were the heyday for the Fantastic Four and they were something of a conservative family structure, sci-fi adventures notwithstanding, so it would add a certain dynamic to their interactions with the modern world that wasn’t explored with Captain America. Reed could thrive in a society with much more advanced technology, Sue could gain a whole different perspective by contrasting the world she knew and the world she lives in now, Ben could be coping with the struggles of being in a society with social media platforms that showcases him as a freak and Johnny could have the time of his life in a much more liberal time.
There is no need for a long introduction about who they are and how they got their powers because that doesn’t play a big role in their characters and who they are; the FF family behaves the same way before and after they got their powers. It’s their interactions that make them work and that should be Disney’s main concern, just get them right.
Introducing them in Ant-Man 3 could also take the pressure off their shoulders in a certain way. The Fantastic Four brand has been somewhat damaged by their film adaptions in recent times and it would be beneficial to introduce them in a way that the main spotlight wouldn’t be on them from the get-go.
That is the introduction, but what do they need to understand to make an adaptation worthy of their legacy? We’ll start here.
They are not superheroes, they are adventurers.
This is something very important to comprehend before engaging with a FF adaptation: they are not superheroes or act as such because of their convictions, but rather they are superheroes due to their circumstances. The FF most of the time find themselves fixing a problem that they probably started on Earth or in any other part of the galaxy, mostly due to Reed’s intense scientific curiosity, but they are mostly adventurers and a conventional family in their free time, just with superpowers.
Their adventures are mostly circumstantial and they need to be handled that way in order to grasp what makes them tick.
They are over the top sci-fi.
The Fantastic Four’s adventures have been quite varied throughout the years, but there is a constant element of grandeur in them that makes this group stand out from the rest of the Marvel Universe.
The big and over-the-top nature of their adventures goes all the way back to their beginnings, with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and further developed with legends like John Byrne and Walter Simonson. There is a distinctive cosmic scope in the FF storylines and they often find themselves in other words, fighting to fix something they got themselves into and managing outstanding achievements in the process.
Their film adaptations require larger visions and aesthetics than the ones we have seen in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, which is why basing some of the scripts and visuals off Kirby’s and Byrne’s art can be quite helpful to achieve that feel and that magnitude.
Save Galactus and Dr. Doom for later (and do them right).
While Galactus and Dr. Doom are mostly connected with the FF, they are two of the biggest antagonists in the entire Marvel Universe, so it could do them a certain disservice to present them so fast when they can become a threat to the whole MCU, much like Thanos was.
More important than that, we have already seen Galactus and Doom in FF adaptations, so it’s important to keep the roster of foes fresher and go for different options. Mole Man or Annihilus could be very interesting options for the first couple of FF movies and it can also set up Dr. Doom through foreshadowing through certain references about a dictator in Latveria and Reed knowing Victor Von Doom from college. Galactus can be set up much like Thanos because he is a cosmic-level threat.
Getting Dr. Doom right is especially important for the MCU because we’re talking about one of the biggest and most important villains in their entire gallery. What makes Doom so interesting as an antagonist and as a character is not only his vast intellect and determination but also the fact that his rule over Latveria is actually quite positive, with his citizens loving him, and overall they have quite a decent life in that country.
This is what separates Doom from being a one-dimensional bad guy: the fact that he thinks and knows how to make the world a better place, but he thinks he is the only one that can do it and his rule over Latveria is proof that he can back that statement. So fighting against him is not only fighting a mad scientist and magician but also a man that while he means well goes against the very nature of human beings (being ruled in tyranny).
Add to that the competitive nature that he has with his long-time friend, Reed Richards, and you have a villain that could very well rival Thanos’ impact and legacy in the MCU.
They are a family, but they are also individuals.
What makes the FF work so well is the fact that they interact as a conventional family, which means that they care for each other and they also have their own flaws that make them go crazy for one another. Anyone familiar with the comics can understand this notion: Johnny’s immaturity gets him in a lot of trouble and pisses everyone off (especially Ben and Sue), Ben’s grumpiness and insecurities often drive him to do stupid things, and more often than not, Reed’s scientific curiosity gets the entire galaxy into trouble, which leads to Sue becoming the glue that holds the team together, whilst being the sane one out of the bunch.
Even though this is a comic book with a lot of fantasy and scientific elements, these are characteristics that are very human, only shown through the lenses of a Marvel franchise, and that is what needs to be understood: that they are a family that has issues like everybody else and that doesn’t make them dysfunctional, but rather very normal and relatable to the rest of us.
What do you expect of the Fantastic Four in the MCU? How do you think they are going to be introduced? Drop a comment below because we’d love to hear your feedback.