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Report: ‘Fantastic Four’ Movie Rights Back at Marvel, New Movie Coming in 2020

20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Yesterday, we learned that 20th Century Fox had worked out a new accord with Marvel permitting the studio to ferry one of its hottest properties into the lucrative land of milk and honey that is television. Fox has announced plans to develop two shows spun off from their X-Men franchise, one about an elite organization of mega-rich mutants called Hellfire and another about David Haller, a.k.a. the son of Charles Xavier, a.k.a. Legion. A new report from Den of Geek (still awaiting confirmation from Marvel) suggests that there may be an unknown flip side to this deal that would place The Fantastic Four, one of Marvel’s most iconic properties, back in their portfolio with another big-screen project to follow.

UPDATE: Entertainment Weekly is reporting that both Fox and Marvel have officially denied this report, and that the rights to The Fantastic Four and their ancillary characters are still at Fox.

This past August’s film vehicle for the Fantastic 4 was, in a word, disastrous. Our own Mike Sampson called it a “complete bore” and other reviews were not quite so charitable. From creative struggles between director Josh Trank and 20th Century Fox to reshoots necessitating goofy wigs to the plain-old-bad script, the film was one of the year’s biggest failures.

But now, Den of Geek claims that Marvel hopes to right the ship with yet another film about Marvel’s First Family, to occupy one of the studio’s open release dates in 2020. Quite a few elements of this story have yet to take shape — whether the rerereboot (three-boot?) will retain the recent film’s cast, whether it’s actually happening or just a rumor, etc. etc., but if this is the real McCoy, the acquisition would represent a bold move for Marvel.

There have been no shortage of efforts to bring the Fantastic Four to the movie theatre, and all have resulted in flaming wreckage. But if we simply consider the hard math of filmmaking, every new attempt to adapt this seemingly unadaptable property comes closer to success because we know of more ways to do it wrong. Perhaps Marvel executives will look at Trank’s Fantastic Four, clap their new helmer on the shoulder, and instruct him or her to do the diametric opposite. All things considered, that’s not the worst idea.

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