As a “fanboy”, thinking about and getting hopeful for the introduction of Marvel’s Fantastic Four characters into the “Marvel Cinematic/TV Universe” now that Disney is merging with part of Fox.
Warning!: what is about to follow is araft of nerdy, dorky opinions of one fanboy nobody. That’s all.
Opinion: in a way, it’s been. Good thing for Marvel Studios that Fox has had the X-Men franchise. If it hadn’t been for Fox’s exclusive control of the X-Men, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the rest of the non-X-Men wouldn’t have turned out the way they did, as good as the did.
Opinion: I hope Marvel keeps the X-Men off in their own separate reality, parallel world or whatever.
Opinion: Marvel/Marvel Studios not having control of the Spider-Man and Fantastic Four characters, though? That’s been a mixed bag.
The first two Sam Raimi Spidey movies were wonderful [even if Spidey appeared to be the *only* “superhero” in existence, ever]. Maguire was kind of a John Romita/Ross Andru Spidey. Doc Ock was a great, but different, interpetation; Green Goblin was a decent interpretation, that actually had some neat ideas. The third Raimi movie was, for me, was “meh” to “bleehch”; kernals of neat ideas, hints at good character beats, buried in a ball of shit.
The two Garfield Spidey movies, I liked them and had fun with them, mostly because of the “Ditko feel” to Garfield’s Spidey, combined plenty of neat ideas. Still, Spidey seemed “closed off” from a wider world.
The two Fantastic Four movies, then the reboot movie, hinted at a wider world of amazing, astonishing places and beings, but the FF still seemed the only interesting things about their world.
One of the things I’ve always liked about Marvel, or thought about its characters and worlds: yes, you had “heroes” — people of exceptional skill, and/or heart, and/or intelligence, and sometimes/oftentimes with definitely “superhuman abilities” — but they were trying to explore, survive, protect ‘normal’ human beings or combat injustice — in a world in which strange things might happen, where they often ran into other exceptional/superhuman beings who had their own motivations, be they “anti-heroes”, “villains”, or “monsters”.
Spider-Man: even in the new MCU, he can still be mostly about New York City, about his usual mix of fighting street crime, organized crime, and occasionally digging into corporate or local government corruption, with the occasional globetrotting. Hometown hero who often goes global. “Solo” operator who happens to cross paths with a lot of other characters as he does his own kind of sleuthing and investigating. As much as I love seeing Stark tech-up Spidey’s suit, Pete has to be given room to do his “maker/hacker on a dumpster-diver’s shoestring budget” thing. Spidey plays well with others, benefits from friendships, but he tries to be as outsider/independent as much as possible.
The Fantastic Four: I like what Marvel has done with movie versions of Hank Pym, Janet van Dyne-Pym, Hope, and Scott Lang, Cassie, the guys at “X-Con Security”, et al. The “smaller stakes stories”. And the imagination, the inventiveness.
The FF has to work with some government approval, but always under tension of trying to do its exploration/innovation in a world not ready for Reed’s breakthrough and tech. Reed and his family are aware if this. But, science and technology being what it is, Reed and his group are not going to NOT break bariers and “push the envelope”; other individuals and companies and countries will continue to do ao, so why shouldn’t they? Reed and company probably think certain technologies and knowledge will inevitably be discovered, and probably figure it’s best for humanity if they try to get there first and deal with the physical, moral and ethical dangers. Not yrting means someone or someones else might get there first, and those someones might not have the best of intentions.
Marvel might want to “Kurt Busiek’s ‘Astro City'” the FF a bit, kinda like they did with Ant-Man and Wasp a bit: in the MCU, Hank as Ant-Man was actively working for SHIELD in the 60’s/70’s/80’s, and Wasp apparently just as long. Hints at more stories untold, at a “secret history”.
Ideas: Steve “Captain America” Rogers was an inspiration to inhabitants of the Marvel universe if the 1940’s/WWII era. The FF is similar public inspiration for a Marvel U of the 1960’s Cold War/Space Race. “Reed Richard’s Rocket Group”.
Before the U.S. made it into to the Moon, maybe years before Reed and his close-nit “family” of fellow techs and scientists were conducting thier own space flights under government supervision, testing tech that would get us to the moon years before the Soviets. During one test flight into orbit, they engaged this new engine…. and disappeared.
Undecided: whether they should have had the accident that gave them there powers before this flight? Or make this the flight that gives them thier powers?
Tangent: I have fond memories of watching reruns of both “Star Trek” and “Lost in Space” as a kid. Quirky, sometimes edgy, imaginative adventure, with hints of “conspiracy”. Really liked the Netflix “Lost in Space” re-imagining this year.
I’m wondering if Marvel Studios/Disney can be inspired by those above? Hit us with a Netflix-like 6-episode series of a very-human Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, Susan and John Storm in The 1960’s having some Cold War era “Johnny Quest” style adventures, with “monster movie” and other twists.
The series would be prelude to a cinematic movie for theater release. The movie starts in the 1960’s, with this flight where they disappear, first 30min of the movie.
“Interstellar” it. For people in 1960’s Marvel Earth, this group of heroes disappears, and there’s hint it was Soviet sabotage. For Reed and Family, it *just* seems like a major problem just happened, they almost died, they’ve turned back around (aborting a mission that would have taken them past the moon, and around Mars and back with this fancy-schmancy super-engine), to pass through a “cosmic storm” and crashing to earth. And being changed, turned superhuman/monsterous. Only: they didn’t crash-land in the in the year they left in. They landed in the here and now, the 21st century.
You thought Steve “Captain America” Rogers was a “Man out of Time”? Reed and Family will have it a bit rougher for awhile than he did after “coming back from certain death”! (Especially if they crashed anywhere within Thuderbolt Ross’ jurisdiction.) It might take them awhile to figure out what happened, where they are, how they are. They might think they arrived in a parallel dimension for a bit.
(Sidebar: Idea: tying together various threads, their mission was sabotaged: by elements/agents of the Soviet Union, a SHIELD-unknowingly-infested-by-Hydra, and agents of a certain country-so-reclusive-and-isolated-people-think-it’s-backward nation called…. wait for it… no, it’s NOT Wakanda…. it’s Latveria, trying to play U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. against each other.)
(Sidebar: Idea: No Doctor Doom for either the prequel-serial or 1st FF movie. Save him for 2nd FF movie. This “Dr. Doom” of the 21st century could be a grandson or great grandson of someone Reed barely remembers from college; Reed could have done something that was intended to help this other student, Vladimir von Doom/van Damme, during college, but sparked a one-sided feud this younger Victor carries on. (Shades of Putin!) Hilarity/Horror ensues!)
(Sidebar: Idea: Hydra’s 1960’s presence must be hinted at, a shadowy presence the audience is aware of, but Reed and Family don’t have a clue about. It would be kind of neat if they were working with Arnim Zola, scientist/engineer of SHIELD, while preparing for the flight that changes everything.)
SHIELD, and its agents: I think someone needs to break it to Steve and the Avengers that SHIELD never completely went away, that they had to go back to being secret — and much smaller — for awhile. But, they are back to being recognized as existing. They are gettinv bigger. They need to become a different SHIELD; not another agency competing with the NSA, DARPA, CIA, FBI, and the Pentagon for funding and jurisdiction. They have to be the organizarion that researches and defends amd contains these weird terrestrial and extraterrestrial and interdimensional threats, do things in ways suited to these extraordinary threats that those other organizations might deal with more “catastrophically”; SHIELD has to be the experts and special operators that helps the NSA, FBI, CIA and military and law enforcement recognize and deal with such weird threats.
Eventually, a very independent not-for-profit private-sector scienctific-research-technology-and-defense firm like the Fantastic Four, Inc. would liaison with SHIELD…
(Pssst! New Disney/Marvel Studios Netflix-like series of series! 6 episodes each, Game of Thrones-quality, baby!)
EDIT: sidebar: as much as I loved the recent Ant-Man and the Wasp movie, they under-utilized Wasp. As with Black Widow, i hope Wasp has a chance to shine.
Really hope Disney/Marvel can profittably, sustainably tap into the potential of Netflix-like series-or-short-series.