The 23-film Marvel Cinematic Universe just got its first addition since 2019 with the kickoff of Disney+'s WandaVision, and that's only the start of the expansive Phase 4 slate of films and TV shows in the works as Marvel Studios continues telling the stories of MCU fan-favorites.
It was also recently announced that the MCU will expand into new territory that was previously outside its reach, with the confirmation that a Fantastic Four movie is finally in the Marvel Studios pipeline.
Making a movie about Marvel's First Family wasn't even an option for Kevin Feige and co. until very recently, but thanks to Disney's buyout of 21st Century Fox and all its Marvel film rights, Marvel characters like the X-Men, Deadpool, and the Fantastic Four are finally back in the playhouse of Marvel Studios.
But by the time the film rights for the Fantastic Four made their way back to Marvel Studios, almost the entire Infinity Saga in the MCU had just about run its course, which ended by saying goodbye to several MCU staples including Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow and Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man.
This obviously meant members of the F4 crew would never get the chance to meet someone like Tony Stark once they make their MCU debut, which apparently is a missed opportunity that even Marvel boss Kevin Feige doesn't like to think about.
CinemaBlend asked Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige if he was upset that Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man never got the chance to meet the Fantastic Four's Reed Richards in the MCU, to which the Marvel boss simply responded, "yes."
Feige admitted that while he "spends more time thinking about being excited" about what he wants to see in the MCU, he was upset by the reality that two of Marvel Comics' greatest minds won't ever cross paths in the cinematic world that he's built.
The Marvel Studios CCO elaborated that, much like when a new Marvel Comic is written, he "inherits the continuity that is the point in time" when a new MCU story is being told, further enforcing that he feels an opportunity to introduce Mister Fantastic to Iron Man was sorely missed.
"Yes. I mean, as the comics always have done, you inherit the continuity that is the point in time that you're about to tell a new story. And that's where we are (in the MCU), so yes.
I spend more time thinking about being excited about seeing things than I do sad about not seeing things."
CinemaBlend's full interview with Kevin Feige can be viewed below:
WHAT THIS MEANS
Feige may be putting on a brave face here, but the wording in his response to this question is everything.
Kevin Feige admitting that he tries to think of more positive things than the missed opportunity of a Stark/Richards MCU mashup because he doesn't like to spend time being "sad about not seeing things" is, well... Sad.
There's no denying that Tony Stark's brilliant ego clashing with Reed Richard's inventive tenacity would have been quite the treat for Marvel fans, as audiences could have gotten another "Science Bros" team-up similar to Stark's work with Bruce Banner on Loki's scepter in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Although there were probably countless ways to integrate the Fantastic Four into the MCU over the years, Feige's hands were tied as he wasn't allowed to use Marvel's Fab Four until just a couple of years ago, making the team of Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben late walk-ons in an ever-expanding world of Marvel heroes. But with Marvel Studios almost doubling its decade-long output in the span of just the next few years, fans will certainly see even more doors open for the F4 to make their MCU entrance in style.
And admittedly, it's a bit exciting to think about what Reed Richards will accomplish in Tony Stark's absence in the MCU. Think about it... Tony Stark invented time travel. Reed Richards is widely considered even more brilliantly-minded than Stark in the comics, and Marvel Studios will surely have to up the MCU ante to keep fans' interest. So who knows what Reed Richards's genius-level intellect will bring to the table once Fantastic Four arrives?
All in all, this is another great example of how much of a Marvel fanatic Kevin Feige is himself, knowing the depth of the opportunity that was missed here. So, if anything, this should encourage fans that Feige and his crew will take every opportunity available to him to give fans the Marvel character interactions that they want, specifically with Marvel Studios' Fantastic Four.