Over the next decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will gain a plethora of Marvel characters previously owned by Fox Studios thanks to Disney's acquisition of the company nearly two years ago.
The first official project starring these characters was announced at Disney Investor Day, with Jon Watts set to direct the MCU’s Fantastic Four movie. Plans for the X-Men are still in the works.
While these the live-action Fantastic Four and X-Men properties were produced and distributed with 20th Century Fox throughout the 2000s and 2010s, they each stayed in their own universe even with over a dozen combined X-Men and Fantastic Four movies. That will very likely be rectified within the MCU, especially since fans have long imagined the teams interacting with one another.
A new podcast interview confirms that Fox was, at one point, planning a crossover for their two biggest superhero franchises...
In a recent appearance on the Happy Sad Confused Podcast, director Paul Greengrass spoke on plans for a Marvel crossover movie with the properties previously owned by 20th Century Fox.
Although this concept was scrapped prior to the Disney/Fox merger, Greengrass details that he thought about directing an “X-Men vs Fantastic Four” movie that was in the works at the studio:
"They [Fox] did talk to me about it. I wouldn't say I was attached to it... I thought about it. I think in the end... I slightly felt like, maybe those movies, I wasn't right for those kinds of movies."
Greengrass doesn't provide a timeline of when these talks occurred, yet past reports indicate that Fox was making the most headway on their ambitious crossover project around 2010.
WHAT THIS MEANS
Paul Greengrass has an extensive history as a movie director, including credits for three movies in the Bourne series and the Oscar-nominated Captain Phillips. Although he never seemed to be seriously interested in this particular Marvel project, the fact that Fox was seriously thinking about it is meaningful when considering their circumstances.
The X-Men movies turned into a major franchise that lasted nearly two decades, with iconic characters like Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Patrick Stewart’s Professor Xavier, and Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool leading 13 movies. Fox's Fantastic Four had far less success, releasing three movies from two separate franchises between 2005 and 2015, all of which arrived to widely mixed reactions.
The "X-Men vs. Fantastic" scrapped film was reportedly set to pit the mutants against Marvel's First Family while also bringing in other characters like Daredevil and Deadpool, who were previously owned by Fox. Planned before Josh Trank’s Fan4stic, the movie would have introduced its own version of the Superhero Registration act and incited Fox’s version of Captain America: Civil War with the characters they owned.
These two franchises going head-to-head in their own movie would have certainly been a blockbuster event comparable to the MCU’s Avengers movies. Thankfully, an event like this can now be set alongside those same Avengers movies as nearly all Marvel entities but Spider-Man and related characters are under the Disney umbrella.
There are no set plans for an MCU-based X-Men movie, while Jon Watts’ Fantastic Four is confirmed with no release date.