That is the question we have been asking since recent comments from Mark Millar opened the shared universe doors.
With both the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises at Fox, the option is there to create a mini-Cinematic Universe in the same vein as The Avengers-led Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which has obviously proved hugely successful.
Mark Millar (The Ultimates, Kick-Ass) is the consultant tasked with handling these properties in the best way possible. Which means he is basically the Kevin Feige of the Fox-owned Marvel properties, offering a driving force behind the creativity of these projects. Obviously the X-franchise has Bryan Singer at the helm (who is hard at work on X-Men: Days of Future Past), which leaves Millar to work on Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot as well as crafting this new shared universe between the properties. Here’s what Millar had to say on the subject:
“Without question I think you have to see some of these guys showing up in each other’s movies. I think the most exciting thing in superhero movies, until The Avengers came along, was when Nick Fury showed up in Iron Man. Even though it was a guy with an eye patch it was really cool – and I expect we will see more of that.”
So that answers the ‘could’ of the question, now lets look at the ‘should’. The MCU works because it needed to in order to properly bring the Avengers to the big screen. We’ve seen the start of some great franchises that culminated in the ultimate team-up film, and the MCU is set to expand greatly over the next few years. Marvel Studios currently has a huge selection of characters to draw from, so the prospect of a shared universe is quite exciting.
With the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, it really isn’t as essential for these two teams to exist in a shared universe. Obviously the two teams have had numerous encounters over 5 decades of publication, but The FF and X-Men have never been a crucial part of each other’s story in the way that Iron Man and Cap are a crucial part of the overall Avengers story.
A cameo appearance here and there might be extremely likely, as Millar is obviously a fan of the Nick Fury cameo in Iron Man, but the Fox Cinematic Universe (FCU) should probably stick to that instead of any huge crossover movies. With a lot of the X-world already fleshed out after 6 (soon to be 7) films, the FF might not have too much to add, and their memorable moments with the X-Men have already passed us by.
Of course, there are a few interesting paths the FCU could take with the franchises. With the possible outcome of Days of Future Past bringing us a reboot to the X-Men timeline, there is the chance that the Phoenix Saga might actually be done not so terribly. In the comics, after the Phoenix sacrifices herself, the REAL Jean Grey is found on the ocean floor by the Fantastic Four. A minor part of the Phoenix Saga played out in an FF film would perfectly establish a shared universe, without forcing it to happen.
If the FCU is looking at a huge crossover with the two (and soon to be more, if the rumored X-Force film takes off) franchises, then there are a few storylines that could be adapted to work. For instance, The Onslaught saga is a huge X-Men event that moved across the Marvel Universe, and featured the Fantastic Four and the Avengers in a big way. Obviously the Avengers would be unable to be involved, but a streamlined story featuring both teams is definitely possible, and might clear away some of the problems with the original storyline.
While it is definitely exciting to start building a Fox Cinematic Universe based off of Millar’s statement, it is still way too early. However, as Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot continues to gain steam, we might see more of this new world sooner than later. Especially if Galactus comes calling…
What do you think of the potential of a Fox Cinematic Universe? Should the studio focus more on the individual properties or the universe as a whole? Let us know in the comments section below!