Marvel fans rejoiced when it was announced that The Walt Disney Co. is in the process of acquiring 21st Century Fox’s movie and television assets. Pending federal approval (a process that will likely take 12-18 months), Marvel and Disney will now have the rights to all the characters that Fox previously owned. While this is undoubtedly great news to everyone who longed to see the X-Men join the Avengers on-screen, it’s even better news to all those who never thought they would see the day when the Fantastic Four would come home.
Fox’s latest attempt to bring the superhero family to life failed to light up the box-office. Perhaps even worse, and it failed to please audiences, including longtime fans of the heroes. For most fans, the only way to fix the franchise involved their addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a situation that is now a very real possibility. But could it have happened already? Could the Fantastic Four’s presence already been felt in the MCU? Well… yes.
The FF’s arrival may have been hinted at in one of Marvel’s most recent films, Spider-Man: Homecoming. The movie was squarely centered around Peter Parker and his eagerness to impress Tony Stark in order to become a full-fledged member of the Avengers. However, a great bit of the action revolved around one key development: Tony Stark selling the Avengers Tower, the building he had constructed back in the first Avengers movie.
Much of the final battle in Homecoming hinged on the fact that all of the Avengers’ equipment was being moved once that the building was sold. Here lies the real mystery: we know Avengers Tower was sold, but we never actually found out who bought it. With the news about Fox/Disney, we might have the answer: Reed Richards should be revealed as the new owner.
In the comic books, the Fantastic Four are famous for having their own building in the middle of New York City. The Baxter Building is where they live, where they operate out of, and where Mr. Fantastic conducts his strange science experiments. In an interconnected universe such as the MCU, the fact that we didn’t learn the identity of the person or group who bought the former Stark Tower is conspicuous. That there was absolutely no hint of who bought building indicates the possibility Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and his team saw an opportunity to open the door for the Fantastic Four’s arrival. Considering that massive deals such as Disney purchasing Fox can take years to solidify and be confirmed, it’s entirely conceivable Feige knew of Disney’s intent to move on Fox, and that he dropped a very subtle nod to the existence of the Fantastic Four in the MCU.
If Stark Tower ends up being renamed the Baxter Building in future movies, we would be looking at an entirely new superhero team operating out of New York City. Since Spider-Man also shares the same playground, and since the character has a long history with Marvel’s first family of superheroes, could the Fantastic Four appear, or at least be named in the next Spider-Man movie? After all, if the first hint of the foursome was dropped in the wall-crawler’s first film, it would only make sense to have the story be followed up on in the sequel.
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