Ant-Man Director Originally Pitched A ’60s-Set Fantastic Four Movie, And It Sounds Awesome


Three years ago, Peyton Reed’s original Ant-Man movie released in close proximity to Fantastic Four, and history tells us that one of these films soared, while the other fell flat on its face.

Sadly, it was Josh Trank’s botched superhero reboot that flopped at the box office, leaving the immediate future of Marvel’s First Family in a state of jeopardy. Amid the fallout, Film School Rejects asked Reed – Peyton, not Richards – to envision his own take on Fantastic Four, at which point he detailed his dream of a 1960s-set period piece in which our heroes are “very much a part of the fabric of Manhattan.”

No secret identities, no Clark Kent-esque disguises, just four superpowered celebrities fighting together for the greater good.

Visually, one of the things we always talked about – and this was 2003 – was The Fantastic Four as daytime superheroes. They don’t have secret identities. They’re very much a part of the fabric of Manhattan. In that universe, if you go to New York to the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty or the Baxter Building, it was all a part of that. We talked about it being a ’60s period movie, but Fox at the time was not into it.

Fox waving away Peyton Reed’s retro pitch is also a little hypocritical as this is the same studio that pumped out three X-Men prequel movies in First Class, Days of Future Past and the middling Apocalypse. But no matter, as the director behind Ant-Man and the Wasp is still keen to make a Fantastic Four movie of his own, and it would go a little something like this:

We wanted to do a structure that was like A Hard Day’s Night. At the beginning of a working day in Manhattan, you’re in line at Starbucks and someone runs in, ‘Hey, the Fantastic Four is fighting right around the corner!’ People run out of Starbucks and the camera flies around the corner to this splash page imagery, where the Human Torch is flying, The Thing is fighting, and it’s just chaos. Really, Joss’ first Avengers movie had that feel – it’s broad daylight. There was a time when you just didn’t have the technology, so a lot of those fights took place at night. We thought having it take place in the city during the day would’ve been a lot of fun. They were kind of modern celebrities. There were a lot of different versions of it, but that was a movie I really wanted to make.

So assuming the proposed Disney-Fox merger gets the go-ahead, and Marvel Studios is given a clear shot at adapting its First Family, perhaps the Powers That Be will take heed of Peyton Reed’s pitch?

We can think of worse ways to approach the Fantastic Four than to ground them in some 1960s period piece, not least because Reed’s proposal wouldn’t directly affect MCU community – simply toss the Human Torch and Co. into the Negative Zone circa 1960 until they emerge, blinking into the sunlight of Marvel’s Phase 4.