So it seems that Fox are ploughing on with their intention to keep the Fantastic Four rights out of Marvel’s hands, rather than heeding the almighty clamour for them to work together and bring Marvel’s first family to the MCU.
Despite having seen the latest FF reboot tank spectacularly, the latest rumour suggests that Fox are looking at rebooting the property with a more kid-friendly spirit following response to the 2015 version. That’s actually good news, given how poorly that reboot went down (mostly thanks to its attempt to be the opposite of kid-friendly), and how well suited the slightly more zany characters are to lighter material.
There had been some hope that Marvel would swoop in to provide that sort of angle – since the MCU tends to steer clear of grim material (though that’s not to say they don’t make adult movies) – but if Fox can pull the same thing off, there’s reason to be cheerful.
This goes some way to explaining why Kevin Feige recently said there’s no Fantastic Four plan for Marvel in the works, and the recent silence on Simon Kinberg’s apparent plans to plough on with a sequel to the reboot. And in truth, it would be silly of Fox not to have another go at the property, since they still have the rights.
They’d be wise to look at Disney’s model, rather than imagining that “kid-friendly” means anything like the first two Fantastic Four movies with their goofiness and their super dance off. And hiring someone like Brad Bird would be the perfect way to do just that.
Tonally, the film will apparently seek to follow The Incredibles – which makes that call about Bird all the more pertinent – rather than the bleaker spirit of Trank’s reboot, and if they pull that off, it’s very welcome news.
According to Bleeding Cool, there’s already a draft of the screenplay floating around, thanks to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter author Seth Grahame-Smith, which doesn’t sound like the most kid-friendly source. Allegedly, that script would focus on Reed Richards’ and Susan Storm’s children Franklin and Valeria. Quite why they’d do that when it’s entirely unnecessary remains to be seen, but perhaps it’s an issue of creative distance?
At least the report says that The Thing and Human Torch will still be involved – they’re easily the most marketable to children, and having the other originals missing or in peril while their kids look for them makes for an accessible in-point for kids. There’s very much a Spy Kids vibe in there, and those movies made significant money in the right demographic.
At the minute, it’s no more than a rumour, but it’s a step in the right direction at least.