It is a lofty dream, on par with calorie-free booze and free world-wide Wi-Fi, held by Marvel fans that one day Marvel Studios will reclaim all of its character rights and they can all exist in one monolithic cinematic universe. That ain’t going to happen any time in this century because Fox and Sony would rather burn their studio lots to the ground than let their Marvel characters’ licenses revert back to Marvel Studios.
While Sony and Marvel have a cautious détente in the sharing of Spider-Man, Fox and Marvel have always had a more antagonistic relationship. Fox rebooted Fantastic Four solely to keep the license from return back to Marvel, and the Josh Trank (Chronicle) 2015 film was a poisonous atomic bomb mixture of studio interference and director immaturity that resulted in an embarrassing, God-awful, disastrous film that epitomized the new lows contemporary superheroes films could sink. I’m pretty sure people would have preferred watching Howard the Duck over that mess. It is honestly hard to determine whether Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice or Fantastic Four is the worse film.
The end result was that Fantastic Four has become persona non grata, with neither Fox nor Marvel wanting to go anywhere near the property, despite Fox’s company man Simon Kinberg talking about how a Fantastic Four sequel would be “funnier” and “brighter” — har-de-har, you aren’t fooling anyone buddy. Kevin Feige was more succinct about the Fantastic Four’s status in an interview with the French entertainment company AlloCine: “[We have] no plans with the Fantastic Four right now. No discussions about it.” Well, that’s that then.
Frankly, Fox should swallow its pride and know when to raise the white flag. They’ve only ever mishandled comics’ first family, and if letting the license revert back to Marvel allows them to focus more on their X-Men properties then it’s a win-win for everybody. The smart move on Marvel’s part would be to let Fantastic Four lie dormant, actually dormant for a while, for about a decade or so before rebooting the property (that would be VERY hard for Hollywood as they are physically incapable of letting potential IP lie sleeping for any length of time — the industry fails the marshmallow test every time). Let the putrid, cloying stink of the 2015 monstrosity fade away, and then reintroduce the Fantastic Four to the public and a new generation of fans who have no idea who the Fantastic Four are (and even better are aware of the two previous iterations of the Fantastic Four) in whatever phase Feige has planned.
Call me crazy, but I still think the Fantastic Four could work. It just needs some time on the bench and some TLC from people who actually care about the property.