Does Marvel Studios Have Contingency Plans For X-Men and Fantastic Four?

By September 30, 2015

If there’s one thing Marvel Studios is good at, it’s planning. What started as a really cool “What if…?” has turned into an unprecedented franchise designed to roll out new superhero movies for roughly the next 47 years. At the center of this gazillion dollar experiment-turned-triumph is Kevin Feige, Marvel’s man with the aforementioned plan. He’s currently making the rounds promoting Friday’s release of Avengers: Age of Ultron on Blu-ray and DVD, and at a Q&A last night (courtesy of SlashFilm) he revealed that the studio makes plans for characters they don’t even have the rights to…yet.

We’ve already seen Marvel’s ability to adjust its plans to incorporate previously un-owned characters into the existing MCU. They re-acquired Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist and threw them all together in a Netflix TV package that so far has turned out great. Of course, the big “get” was Spider-man, who will be introduced in next summer’s Captain America: Civil War. This quote from Feige references Spidey, but also shows how they’d approach any other characters that may return to the Marvel fold:

The short answer is: the most important thing is the standalone movie, relaunching Spider-Man with a standalone movie with a new storyline that fits into this universe – that’s job number one for us. And as is the case, the connectivity is great but it doesn’t drive the train. That being said, if I understand what you’re asking, we had… this has been a dream of ours for a long time, and we always had contingency plans should you know — which we always do anyways. Are we going to be able to make another movie with this actor? If we are then we’ll do this, if not, we’re going to do this. If we get the rights to a certain character that’d be great, then we’d do this, if not, we’d do this. So we always sort of operate with those alternate timelines available and are ready to shift if something happens.

Sure, Marvel may not have access to characters like the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Deadpool, etc., but that doesn’t mean they NEVER will. While the X-Men franchise isn’t likely to be given up any time soon by Fox, this past summer’s disastrous showing from Reed Richards and family might give Sony the proper motivation to give the rights back. So it’s smart for Marvel to have their main plan and then a “just in case” plan, you know, just in case.

With Avengers: Infinity War still four years away, Marvel needs to give themselves wiggle room to adjust to whatever changes may occur. As Feige pointed out, they aren’t even sure how Infinity War will end:

Sometimes in super specific things, but for the most part in broad strokes that are broad enough and loose enough that if through the development of four or five movies before we get to the culmination, as you say, we still have room to sway, and to go, and to surprise ourselves in places that we end up.  So all the movies ultimately when they are finished can feel like they were all interconnected and meant to be and planned far ahead, but can live and breath as individual movies that can be satisfying by themselves.

This works as great template for both the current landscape of the MCU and the potential one if, say, Wolverine is suddenly available for them to use. Granted, with comic book movies the danger is always “too much of a good thing”. As we’ve seen in several instances, throwing a bunch of characters together doesn’t automatically make a great superhero movie (or comic book, for that matter). The potential for something like an Avengers vs. X-Men movie is exciting, but would also be an incredibly daunting task to pull off correctly. That said, the studio would be insane to not at least consider a move like that should they re-acquire the rights to those characters. ESPECIALLY The X-Men. I mean…the possibilities there are pretty endless.

Plus, it’s silly to think the studio that brought us The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy couldn’t do something cool with The Fantastic Four. That franchise has never had much luck in live action, but in the right hands and under the Marvel Studios banner, they might finally get the proper big-screen treatment they deserve. Which could also lead to the Silver Surfer and Galactus getting another crack at the box office. We can’t really let Galactus’s sole onscreen appearance be as a big fart cloud. We just can’t.

While the GIANT MARVEL CROSSOVER MOVIE EVENT BONANZA may never actually come, it’s nice to know that there’s at least a plan in place should things change. After all, this is Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige. Would we expect anything less?

Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out on Blu-ray and DVD this Friday, October 2nd.

Make sure to keep checking back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.

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Joe Ruggirello
Joe is a writer, retired comedian, and giant nerd. He's particularly fond of comic books, pro wrestling, and Godzilla. Oh, and that Star Wars thing. You can yell at him on Twitter @JoeRu23.
  • David Johnson

    Until they reacquire F4 we’ll just have to wait for The Incredibles to return!!!!!