It’s now inevitable that the Fantastic Four will soon appear in the MCU. But the major question that Marvel Studios have to figure out is where they’ve been for the last few decades. After all, in the past several years or so, New York has been invaded by aliens, the world has almost been overrun by a malevolent AI and a mad space god wiped out half of all life in the universe. These are definitely Reed Richards-sized problems, so why hasn’t he stepped in to help?
Well, there’s a cool fan theory that makes a good argument as to why we haven’t seen the Fantastic Four in the MCU yet. This hint comes from way back in 2010’s Iron Man 2. As Tony is learning more about Howard Stark, we see references to several mysterious projects. One was Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S., revealed as the US government’s attempts to analyze the Tesseract (seen in The Avengers and Captain Marvel), while another was Project G.O.L.I.A.T.H., which was Hank Pym and Bill Foster’s experiments with Pym particles (revealed in Ant-Man and the Wasp).
But they also mention Project E.X.O.D.U.S., which as far as I’m aware has never been explained. However, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched that this ‘exodus’ could be the Richards family blasting off into space in the sixties to an unknown dimension. In the original comics, they immediately returned with weird powers and became the Fantastic Four, but what if some kind of time dilation meant that the MCU versions reappeared many years after they left?
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Personally, I think 1960s era characters dealing with the modern world sounds like a fun idea (even it if is quite similar to Steve Rogers’ story). It’d be really great if they also behaved as if they’ve walked out of a Jack Kirby comic, with their style of heroism clashing with the more modern heroics of the rest of the MCU.
If this proves to be the route they go down with the Fantastic Four, then hats off to the Iron Man 2 writers for setting up this dangling plot thread so long ago.