The Fantastic Four/MCU dance has often been a rocky and confusing road. In 2015, a rumor surfaced stating Fox had traded the Fantastic Four rights with Marvel Studios for the ability to make X-Men TV series, as the latter studio held the mutants' television rights.
While the TV shows are currently taking shape, #Marvel denied they were taking back the rights to the property, which made fans' hopes and expectations about the subject die down. But a new piece of merchandise just might rekindle those chances for an MCU Fantastic Four version appearing on the big screen sooner rather than later.
Marvel has a toy line called "Marvel Legends." As the name implies, it features a vast array of the company's characters. Despite this, though, the line had not featured F4 characters for a long (like, absurdly long) time. Well, that streak finally ended with the release of the Marvel Legends Invisible Woman this year:
The figure is not available to purchase just yet, but it will shortly. Could Marvel giving the green light on a #FantasticFour action figure be another small sign that something is going on behind the scenes regarding Fox and Marvel working out a deal regarding the superhero family? That may seem like a reach, but let's look back at...
Marvel And Fox's Rough Relationship
The rift between Marvel and Fox due to their ownership of the X-Men and Fantastic Four properties has been quite acrimonious. In 2014, Marvel Executive Editor, Tom Brevoort, was asked by a fan on Tumblr about the lack of #XMen merchandise. He responded with
"If you had two things, and on one you earned 100% of the revenues from the efforts that you put into making it, and the other you earned a much smaller percentage for the same amount of time and effort, you’d be more likely to concentrate more heavily on the first, wouldn’t you?"
That same year, during an appearance in the Nerdist podcast, writer Chris Claremont said
"I have to say quite honestly as I understand it now the X department is forbidden to create new characters. Well… who owns them? All because all new characters become the film property of Fox. There will be no X-Men merchandising for the foreseeable future because, why promote Fox material?”
Marvel receives less than 5 percent of profit made by Fox movies, therefore the revenue that came out of merchandise had to be split between the two companies. To sum it up, Marvel didn't release Fox merchandise because it wouldn't have been a smart move to manufacture and distribute it, while most of the profit would be going to another studio.
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This is why the Invisible Woman figure is so relevant: Marvel had been making an effort to take attention away from Fantastic Four in the wake of the first attempt at movies, which included cancelling their comic book series and - unlike the X-Men - not manufacturing merchandise based on them.
So it looks like there could be a thaw in the cold war between Marvel Studios and Fox regarding Fantastic Four, further evidenced by recent comments made by Scott Derrickson. During an interview with ScreenRant, the #DoctorStrange director revealed which characters he would like to see join the MCU::
“I mean, there’s a lot of discussion about Moon Knight maybe coming into the MCU. I think that’s a good idea. I dunno… Actually, scratch that answer. Here’s my answer. My answer is this: I still have hope that Fantastic Four can be properly brought into the MCU because a lot of Doctor Strange – that’s the comment I read the most during that. I love those characters and I think that they still deserve another shot at finding a true home in the MCU. I still have hope for that.”
What's intriguing about his answer is the fact he talks about Fantastic Four still being able to find a home in the MCU, which could be hinting that Marvel already has its famous contingency plans for the super-powered group to join their sprawling cinematic universe. However, this is speculation, so we will have to wait and see what the future has in store for Marvel's First Family, whether it's at Fox or Marvel Studios.