• Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

Marvel’s Fantastic Four Reboot Doesn’t Have To Be An Origin Story

ByRandall B. Phelps

Aug 30, 2022

The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to rock our popular culture, with its ever-changing tapestry of movies and TV shows that will only grow in the coming years. One of the most anticipated projects in Marvel Studios’ upcoming slates is The Fantastic Four, a new cinematic reboot of Marvel’s First Family. Originally announced in late 2020, the project recently received a 2024 release date, director in the form of Wanda Vision‘s Matt Shakman, and a glut of speculation about who will play its lead characters. A detail that has also been the subject of speculation is the plot of The Fantastic Four himself, after Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said in an interview last month that the movie won’t be a traditional origin story.

“A lot of people know this origin story,” Feige said. The Hollywood Reporter. “A lot of people know the basics. How can we take that and bring something they’ve never seen before… We’ve set a really high bar for ourselves bringing that to the screen.”

These comments sent the Marvel fandom into something of a tizzy, especially after the franchise’s version of Spider-Man essentially “yada yada”-ed his superhero debut (only to go back and explore them). , albeit in another corner of the multiverse, in the future Spider-Man: Year One animated series). While we’re still years away from seeing exactly what Marvel The Fantastic Four the reboot implies, there’s definitely a way for the story to acknowledge the gravity of the team’s origin story – without only being an origin story.

The Fantastic Four have, to some extent, one of the most ubiquitous incidents in superhero comics – Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm find themselves on a space flight gone wrong and gain accidentally superpowers after being exposed to cosmic effects. radiation. All previous The Fantastic Four film series have lingered on this origin in their own way, whether with campy B-movie flair in 1994’s unreleased 1990s film, or with painful seriousness in 2015. Fan4stic. It can be argued that where these films failed – even the two The Fantastic Four The films of the 2000s, which are arguably the most beloved by fans, were all about having all of their plots flow from the origin story. To some extent, this started all previous Fantastic Four cutscenes at “square one”, only allowing them to progress through as many of a traditional hero’s journey as a 90-120 minute runtime would allow.

Compare this to the landscape of The Fantastic Four comics – which, yes, have rebooted and told the team’s origin story countless times, but have also used that origin as a starting point for each character to uniquely blossom as a person and superheroes. At the same time, the Fantastic Four mythos expanded outward, encompassing supporting characters and other Fantastic family members who could never have been introduced into a truly “square” story. The previous The Fantastic Four movies have never had the chance to experience these kinds of adventures, but the post-Endgame MCU, which already turns obscure comic characters into household names and mixes decades of comic canon with impressive detail, certainly can.

Look at how the MCU has portrayed many of its recent “origin stories” – those of Moon Knight and Shang-Chi became a narrative punchline during the low points of their respective current storylines. Meanwhile, the stories of characters like Kate Bishop and She-Hulk basically opened with their inciting incidents to turn the world upside down, only to pick up with them months or years later. It’s easy enough to imagine the Fantastic Four’s doomed spaceflight being similarly handled, where it undeniably matters to the team’s story, but that’s not the only story being told. (It’s also safe to say that given the MCU’s penchant for telling stories across different eras, the time between the Fantastic Four’s origin and their current era could span decades of franchise canon and lean into the wonder of the 1960s space race, but that’s a separate conversation unto itself.)

Beyond that, when you look where The Fantastic Four falls into Marvel Studios’ grand plan, it’s arguable that the movie can’t even afford to tell a square origin story. Kang the Conqueror, whose entire existence is tied directly to the failed Fantastic Four legacy, is already a significant presence in the franchise, Namor is coming this year. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and rumors have swirled around Doctor Doom showing up sooner rather than later as well. With Avengers: Secret Wars currently scheduled less than a year later The Fantastic FourFor its theatrical debut, it would make little sense for the Fantastic Four to be rising heroes in the MCU at the end of their solo movie, as opposed to the already formidable characters they are during the comic event of the same name. Fans already want to see a Fantastic Four established in the MCU for years, as evidenced by years of theories about them secretly hiding in the Quantum Realm, and by fans cooking up an entire mythos around the very brief alternate version of John. Krasinski by Reed Richards seen in this year Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

In time since The Fantastic Four movies started being made, superhero movies changed the way they present origin stories on screen, and some clever subversions of the comic canon happened as a result. It’s easy enough to imagine Marvel The Fantastic Four restart by doing something similar, recognizing how the group started.

The Fantastic Four is scheduled for November 8, 2024.