Having only just unleashed the cinematic event of the year for an entire generation, co-director of Avengers: Infinity War, Joe Russo, already has another superhero property in his crosshairs, Fantastic Four. Speaking on Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast, the Primetime Emmy winner was asked: “What do you do with Wolverine at this point though, coming off what [Logan director James Mangold] just did?”
Russo responded, unhesitatingly, “what could you do with Peter Parker after two — you know.” The filmmaker continued, stating that, despite cinematic failings or excessive IP mining, franchises like Wolverine and Spider-Man will always hold value.
Marvel’s commitment to storytelling, above all else, is what Russo attributes the success and staying power of these characters to, with the director saying:
“I think there’s always new stories to tell. Maybe it’s ten years before the next Wolverine story, who knows — someone’s gonna come attack me now for saying that — there’s always a path forward if there’s a story worth telling.”
“And I think another thing we appreciate about Marvel is they’re very good at making sure there’s a story to tell before committing to it. And frankly, there’s a lot of IP that can be mined. There’s thousands of Marvel characters, and maybe there’s a new direction to go in.”
When prompted about the proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox by The Walt Disney Company and which characters could benefit from the merger upon completion, Russo said:
“I think we all agree that the Fantastic Four need the correct story told. [They’re] characters who were important to me, Ben Grimm was one of my favourites. And I think there’s a version of that film and that world that still needs to be told.”
Should the amalgamation close, which it’s expected to by Summer 2019, 21st Century Fox-controlled characters like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four would become available to Marvel Studios and their shared cinematic universe. When they’ll actually enter the MCU though, is another question entirely. Still, it’s clear that Russo’s interested in Marvel’s First Family, which is nice to hear.
Of course, the Fantastic Four are long overdue for a proper big screen appearance. Fox’s 2005 effort, while not horrible, certainly wasn’t anything to write home about – though it did manage to earn itself a sequel. Following the disappointment of that pic, though, the studio cancelled plans for their Silver Surfer spinoff.
Josh Trank’s 2015 reboot, meanwhile, starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell, was also a dud. The movie grossed just $168 million worldwide on a reported budget of $155 million, and was absolutely slammed by both critics and fans.
Whether Marvel can manage to save the Fantastic Four – assuming the Disney/Fox deal goes through – we can’t say for sure just yet, but given that everything Kevin Feige touches turns to gold (for the most part), we certainly have faith.