It shouldn’t surprise anyone that 20th Century Fox wouldn’t have an easy time producing a sequel to their infamously hated box office bomb, this past August’s reboot of Fantastic Four. Now, it seems like the studio has admitted defeat, since the tentatively-titled Fantastic Four 2, formerly set for release on June 2nd, 2017, has now been removed from Fox’s release schedule, meaning that the sequel has been indefinitely delayed, and more than likely cancelled.
This removal likely comes on the heels of Fantastic Four recently releasing for home viewing on digital platforms like iTunes, Google Play, Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, and predictably getting avoided like the plague by consumers and Marvel fans. This doesn’t hold out hope for the impending DVD and Blu-Ray release of Fantastic Four either, as the public and media pundits have continued to express disgust at the movie’s final product.
This news has also re-ignited speculation amongst Marvel fans and movie enthusiasts that creative control of the Fantastic Four movie rights is being returned to Marvel soon. It’s believed by many that 20th Century Fox effectively ‘traded’ creative control of Fantastic Four to Marvel, meaning the chance to put its title characters and associated locations, supporting characters and villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for the rights to make the two television spin-offs to Fox’s X-Men movies that have now entered development on FOX and FX. Fox and Marvel recently denied a rumour from Den of Geek that the Fantastic Four movie rights were changing hands, though this denial doesn’t cover a revision of Fox’s dominion over the rights, assuming that Fox and Marvel aren’t just flat-out lying about a sharing deal being made behind the scenes, as Sony did before the landmark deal made over the Spider-Man movie rights at the start of this year.
Some speculated that Fox may simply delay Fantastic Four 2 past its original 2017 release date, to refine the vision and make a better sequel, though evidence that’s surfaced from Marvel’s leasing deal to all other studios, including 20th Century Fox, seems to have proven that this is impossible. When a Marvel movie franchise is launched at another studio, in this case with the reboot of Fantastic Four, at least one sequel must have entered production no later than two years after, or else Marvel re-assumes creative control of the characters in question, which is what happened with The Hulk when Universal failed to get Hulk 2 into production before 2005. It’s believed that Fox is intentionally allowing the sequel deadline to lapse at Marvel’s request for the X-Men television rights, so that, much like Universal with the Hulk film rights, creative rights over the characters will return to Marvel, though Fox still has the option to seize distribution rights within a certain timeline, should Marvel wish to make a dedicated Fantastic Four movie set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Again though, just like Universal with The Hulk, Fox would not need to be notified or compensated if Marvel decided to use any Fantastic Four personalities in guest roles within other Marvel Cinematic Universe projects, if this is indeed what’s going on.
This sequel deadline is also why Fox ended up making Elektra when Ben Affleck wouldn’t return for a sequel to Daredevil, since Fox would have immediately lost creative control over the Daredevil movie rights if they didn’t. This ended up being a moot point anyway though, since the rights expired in 2013, and fully reverted back to Marvel, due to Fox’s inability to produce a reboot on time, hence why we got the (awesome) Daredevil Netflix series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that launched earlier this year. Studios, or basically just 20th Century Fox now, have an eight-year deadline or so to enter production on a Marvel reboot after a sequel is successfully produced and released, with further sequels being optional, and if they fail to get a reboot going, then the rights expire, and completely revert back to Marvel, both distribution and creative control.
Regardless, Fantastic Four is now available on digital platforms for home viewing, if you’re so inclined. Personally though, we recommend you do skip it if you haven’t already seen it, as we gave the movie a pretty damning 38% score in our review of it from August, extensively criticizing its dull storyline and performances, blatant creative suffering from its infamous production troubles, horrible lack of action, and unforgivable butchering of villain, Doctor Doom in particular.
Keep warping to Eggplante for all news and updates on the Fantastic Four movies.