For anyone who is a comic enthusiast, a 90’s baby, or just a lover of comics in general, the idea of seeing a great movie about the Fantastic Four and X-Men in theaters has been a dream that most fans have wanted for a very long time. Now, since Marvel Studios has acquired the rights in making their movie franchise with these two series, this introduces a new phase of characters that will now get the spotlight alongside everyone who was, or perceived, as an Avenger by Endgame.
In addition to new characters, villains, powers, and the like, an important question that NEEDS answering is how the two groups will fit into the narrative constructed by Marvel Studios and, to another extent, Disney. At its earliest stage, the Fantastic Four were about superheroes, taking on bad guys that threatened the city, and the world, from chaotic turmoil. On the other hand, The X-Men have unique origins. Those origins, compared to current events, are a powerful narrative that Disney could play around with to make into a pseudo “family-friendly” topic; however, changing that narrative could be both good and bad.
For this article, I’ll be presenting three topics within Phase 4’s possible cycle, including The Fantastic Four and X-Men. The issues I’ll be focusing on will be integrated within the story as a prominent point of focus for these two groups, evolving, and progressively changing the scope of how they’ll present with future plot points. As a rule of preference towards constructive worldbuilding and storytelling, I won’t be including casting predictions or indictive biases. For this idea, let’s imagine that we (the collective fanbase) have received what we wanted in terms of “The Perfect Cast” for these movies. Henceforth, removing the debate of how the characters would look (White, Black, Asian, etc.), body types, and how Marvel Studios/Disney will promote them (Johnny being a playboy, Iceman potentially being gay, the existentialism of The Thing and his powers, etc.).
- The Fantastic Four will be the next Captain America ‘Ice Story‘ for the MCU.
Synopsis: The story for the Fantastic Four would start somewhere in 1989. Their account will be linked together with the Quantum Realm, Pym Particles, and Mitchell Carson (The person that Michael Douglas ((Hank Pym)) punches in the first Ant-Man film). Reed Richards and Susan Storm would be recruited by Mitchell Carson to explore the possibilities behind Pym Particles; however, Carson lies to the two of them when in regards to Hank Pym’s participation and continues to lie to them as they work in succession towards using the Pym Particles. Eventually, the experiment leads to the shrinking of our four heroes, in addition to various pieces of tech found within the laboratory. Upon arriving in the Quantum Realm, Reed quickly develops a way to build off of the shrunken tech that’s entered, or is continually appearing, within its space to ensure their survival. Eventually, after a certain amount of time has gone by, the team experiences the first symptoms of their newfound powers and use these powers to build their home in the Quantum Realm.
Since the flow of time in the Quantum Realm is different, explained loosely by Scott Lang in Avengers Endgame, the idea that five hours would equal five years positions our characters in an intricate time frame. The team would’ve been stuck in the Quantum Realm for at least 24 hours, unaware of how to get out of it while experiencing shifts in their powers, until Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne develops a way to get them out.
Unlike Captain America, the group won’t be officialized in the media until their first big fight, or first overall win, against their first villain. As their adjusting to the world, learning about the things that haven’t heard or known about for 24 years, the development of small character arcs would be implemented for the group; such as Reed trying to figure out how advance the world has become, Susan’s grief over the loss of those she used to know, Johnny’s disposition as a Millennial but with a Generation X mindset, and Ben’s grip with being The Thing which makes him feel like more of a mutant than a human. The team will argue, break-up, and nearly come back together for all the wrong reasons – until the right reason comes at the final act, solidifying the group and naming themselves the Fantastic Four after two specific characters, recognized as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, leave a letter behind for the team and characterizes them as “Four individuals that will do fantastic things.“
Conclusion: Whenever Marvel Studios decides to release the movie, the amount of time passed within the Quantum Realm, compared in real-time, affects what kind of Fantastic Four team we’ll get in the future. If the story occurs in the ’90s and the movie is released in 2024 (Branding possibilities, it’s going to be significant), that would be the perfect sweet spot for its development. This development re-introduces the Fantastic Four to the present and works as a double entendre for the MCU franchise.
In other words, the sweet spot for The Fantastic Four is to be old but relatable.
- Mole Man could be an introduction for mutants and for the X-Men.
This idea sounds blasphemous when you compare the wants of an X-Men movie before a Fantastic Four movie; however, this premise is on the belief that what comes after the Fantastic Four movie is in the interim of the X-Men series.
Synopsis: The side plot found in Avengers Endgame comes from the amount of energy released from Thanos, and the snap felt worldwide. In this interpretation of the character, Mole Man could be one of the many people affected by the wave of power that covered the world from the Snap/Blib. His story would be, more or less, the same with a few adjustments to his character and how he would eventually end up as the Mole Man. His abnormal appearance could be altered much like Oswald Cobblepot’s (The Penguin) appearance has been shifted from fat to skinny in various Batman Origins. His pursuits of finding the Subterranean Realm would lead him to understand his newfound powers. As the world progresses, Mole Man’s complexes could provoke him into wanting to show the world how it’s treated him and decides to use the Fantastic Four as an example by devaluing their abilities when compared to his own.
Mole Man’s story, outside of the Fantastic Four’s, could be structured differently to make him the focus of what he has become, or what others will think of him, as a precedent to introducing mutants. In discovering his powers, acknowledging the cruelty he received before gaining them, his attempts at showing his newfound abilities, his confrontations with the Fantastic Four, and his loss against them, Mole Man could be the start of mutant propaganda. In the movie’s final post-credits scene, Mole Man appears to be in a dream-like area and is approached by someone as they talk about rehabilitation and understanding his pains with having this power. Mole Man refuses his help, stating that he knew what he was doing and doesn’t want to play soldier for someone like “him,” before revealing to the audience the first glimpse of Professor Charles Francis Xavier otherwise known as Professor X.
Conclusion: While Mole Man’s inclusion within the MCU would be a stapling achievement for the Fantastic Four as their first big bad guy, he also plays a part in the development and announcement of mutants within the MCU. It shows off what new mutants, or whatever the safe word will be for them in the MCU, are capable of and how the Mole Man practically starts the Civil War (Comic Book story) between humans and mutants.
- Each X-Men film will focus on new members (young and older additions) while exploring unheard events between 2012 and the present.
The idea sounds like a no brainer; however, the image I would like to implement for the movies is that the team is nonexistent at the time of the Fantastic Four’s appearance and has, for the most part, been hearsay from different sources. For anyone who’s read the comics, there are HUNDREDS of mutants within the series. A lot of them don’t get as much attention due to their abilities being too dangerous, not practical, or just irrelevant in a fight. The movies will buildup the initial roster, minus Wolverine for various reasons, and creates the original team that will eventually coordinate with other notable members as the films progress.
Synopsis: The story behind the various films would have ranged in regards to certain characters. The first established members, depending on the storyline and timeline of when and where the initial conflict begins, would revolve around Professor X and Magneto’s public figureheads. Before the snap, Mutants would be the focus of the first film that roughly crafts Cyclops, Jean Grey (Marvel Girl), Angel, Beast, and Iceman. Later movies will see Colossus, Storm, Kitty Pryde, and eventually Wolverine joining their rosters; however, each film is a separate synopsis of a smaller/larger arc that’s interpreted differently by the main cast of characters within that movie.
The first movie will discover the initial five, which roughly takes place somewhere between 2012 and 20?? (Whenever the movie comes out). It’ll be a melting pot of revelations for the group that will start the X-Men with the appearance of aliens, costumed superheroes, vigilantism, the government, and how all of these things shape the MCU version of the team. They’ll start in their original outfits as a way to hide their faces and to essentially avoid being called criminals; a throwaway joke about “wearing ski masks” could be used here for comedic effect. Eventually, through shenanigans, they’ll get a taste for their costumed individuality and create outfits that work for them, perhaps an amalgamation of the original with their more iconic look. Like Wolverine, specific characters would be integrated into later films after his debut film, amalgamating two prominent storylines from a plethora of different characters within the series.
Overall, this sets the tone for the franchise with self-discovery and individuality. Each film will dive into the good and bad portions of the X-Men mythos and highlight a powerful sentiment that is present in most MCU films. Eventually, Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters will be a reality in the MCU.
Conclusion: The MCU’s timeline and movies are ever-changing regarding the development/inclusion of a new series. While the X-Men are hopeful stays in the MCU, the ability to craft a reasonable and updated timeline with those characters can be a plaguing problem. By approaching each movie with a narrative that focuses on the characters, as it’s worldbuilding develops with other films, the X-Men movies will be able to fully flesh their names out for years to come in this cinematic universe.