It's probably safe to say that Fox's 2014 adaptation of Marvel Comics's beloved Fantastic Four didn't exactly go according to plan. From troubling early set-rumblings of directorial problems, last-minute re-shoots and studio interference, all the way through to a bitterly negative critical and audience response and tepid box office outing, the movie never quite managed to catch a single break.
Which, considering the talent involved in its production, seems - with hindsight - a massive shame. After all, any of those individual problems could easily have been overcome in isolation, so it would certainly be possible to argue that the FF were simply caught up in a perfect (cosmic ray-filled) storm of bad timing and misfortune.
Or, alternatively, it's possible that they were doomed (sorry) from the start. Y'see:
This Newly Released Image of Fox's Marvel Stars Makes it Seem Like 'Fantastic Four' Was Born to Fail
The reason? The image, shot at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con by Sarah Dunn (and with a charming background illustration added by John Royle) on behalf of Empire Magazine, shows a giant pile of Fox's soon to arrive heroes and villains, with cast members from X-Men: Apocalypse, Deadpool, Wolverine 3 and Gambit all joining in the fun.
Which, on the surface of it, has absolutely nothing to do with the Fantastic Four whatsoever.
Except, of course, for this one key detail:
That Photo Was Taken Within a Few Hours of Fox's Huge Marvel-Themed Comic-Con Panel
During which, of course, a whole lot of adorable selfies were taken, all of which featured the Fantastic Four cast, just months before they watched, disheartened, as their shiny new movie franchise burned down to the ground in the fire-pit of public opinion.
And yet Empire's image, despite being taken within hours of those selfies, was clearly very selective in its exclusion of Fox's fantastic foursome. Remind yourself of the ill-fated movie's trailer...
Now, that suggests one of two things:
a) Some folks in the media (and possibly at Fox) were well aware that the FF's new film wasn't going to fly, so didn't bother putting them in images aimed at the following year's promotional plans, despite Fantastic Four 2 already having been cued up at that point.
b) Nobody wanted the Fantastic Four in an X-Men-themed group shot.
And, for fans (and I count myself among them) of Marvel's first family, that's either a massively depressing indicator that the film was doomed from the start, or a mildly depressing one relating to the heroes' perceived unimportance compared to the X-Men.
Either way, though, It really would be great if the FF could catch some kind of a break in 2016...
Deadpool hits theaters February 14th.
While X-Men: Apocalypse arrives May 27!
What do you reckon, though?