Now that it's been in theaters for a few weeks, it's safe to say that the new "Fantastic Four" film underperformed both critically and financially. With just about every super hero property making big bucks ("Ant-Man", one of Marvel's lesser-known properties, has even crossed $350 million worldwide), "Fantastic Four" has to be deemed a huge disappointment after being met with such fan malaise. Now, the FF face a threat greater than either Doctor Doom or Galactus -- fan disinterest.
So what's next for Marvel's first family? Fox seems to be sticking to their guns and, at least for now, remains committed to all of their Marvel properties. Yet many fans are already looking for the Fantastic Four to return to Marvel Studios' loving arms in a similar manner to Daredevil and Spider-Man. Right now, the future of the FF -- at least film-wise -- is up in the air, so let's examine some possible scenarios for the cinematic future of Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch and the Thing.
If At First You Don't Succeed...
Super scientist Reed Richards would never give up without a fight -- and perhaps Fox will follow his example and try once again with the FF. After such a minuscule reception, it is unlikely Fox will march out its current FF cast one more time -- which is a shame as there were a number of scenes in the film where Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell all really shined. But Fox insists they are dedicated to their super hero properties and "Fantastic Four 2's" June 9th, 2017 is still on the schedule. Maybe Fox will brush itself off and try to defy expectations and go bigger with its current cast. Maybe the promise of a proper Galactus saga or a full on sci-fi excursion into the Negative Zone -- one that hews closer to the tone of the comics -- will draw fan interest where this origin rehash fell flat.
X-Men to the Rescue
Fox might have failed with "Fantastic Four," but the studio continues to get the X-Men, their other Marvel franchise, right as judged by the warm fan and critical response to both "X-Men: First Class" and "X-Men: Days of Future Past." Perhaps combining the super-powered FF with the mutants of the X-Men will rekindle fan interest. Yes, Fox has recently gone out of its way to tell fans that the X-Men and the FF take place in parallel universes, but the Four are dimension hoppers! A crossover is indeed plausible. With 2016's "Deadpool" and "X-Men: Apocalypse" gaining a tremendous amount of buzz, could a guest spot in an X-film bring the heat back to the floundering Fantastic family?
Third Time's a Charm
Fox could very well give the FF another hard reboot, since a superhero franchise could be potentially too lucrative to pass up these days. Maybe Fox can try again with a new cast, skip the origin and get right to the good stuff -- the Galactus stuff, the Negative Zone stuff or the Skrull stuff. With "Star Wars" ready to hit and hit hard, perhaps Fox can turn its attention to the Four's more sci-fi elements and deliver a space opera rather than retreading the same ground. There are some amazing "FF" stories that have never been attempted on film; perhaps some new faces and a change of genre is just what Marvel's first family needs to succeed.
Since Marvel and Sony cut a deal to bring Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the less-than-stellar performance of "Amazing Spider-Man 2," many fans are hoping the FF follow in Spidey's footsteps and are folded into the MCU. There is also precedence with Daredevil, which was a Fox-controlled property that came back to Marvel and received an acclaimed Netflix series. With Marvel's plans set through the end of Phase Three, this most likely wouldn't see happen until 2019. But hey, how appropriate would that be? Imagine, Marvel kicking off its post-"Avengers: Infinity War" world with the arrival of the FF. And how could Marvel top Thanos as a big bad? How about the arrival... of Galactus?
The World's Greatest Television Series
Whether it's Marvel or Fox, perhaps it's time to stop trying to build a "Fantastic" film franchise and have the titular explorers of the unknown journey to the world of TV. Recent reports indicate that Fox is prepping an "X-Men" TV series just as Marvel achieves success on ABC and Netflix. Former Fox property "Daredevil" found fan love on the small screen after a less-than-thrilling big screen outing -- could the FF be next? The Fantastic Four do have a great deal of tonal and thematic comparisons with "Doctor Who," and Marvel's first super team seem like a perfect fit for episodic adventures into the unknown. As special effects advance, TV is becoming a viable option for many super heroes -- why couldn't the Fantastic Four be next?