Earlier this decade, as Marvel Studios was building toward its own mega-movie crossover, Fox was doing the same thing. A new report claims the studio hired writers and even courted a director to make an X-Men vs. Fantastic Four crossover movie, and now details have emerged on what that might have looked like.
The latest edition of The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision newsletter explains that back in 2010, Fox hired Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz (who co-wrote X-Men: First Class) to write a script and were potentially looking at Jason Bourne’s Paul Greengrass to direct. Here’s the description of what the film would’ve entailed:
Johnny Storm [went] nova while trying to apprehend the villain Molecule Man. Johnny blows a hole in Manhattan and sparks the superhero registration act in response to the carnage.
The heroes are split on opposing sides, and among the key matchups was a Wolverine vs. Mr. Fantastic battle that ended with Reed Richards pinning Wolverine down, extending his hands until they’re one molecule wide, and using them as scissors to cut the mutant’s arms off. Eventually, the heroes make peace … leading to a post-credits scene that teases what’s next: A Skrull invasion.
So, basically, it’s a story heavily influenced by the Marvel Comics version of Civil War, which Marvel Studios itself adapted in Captain America: Civil War. The THR newsletter also mentions Warren Ellis wrote yet another version of a film that would’ve set the X-Men against the Fantastic Four.
So, what happened? Well, as this was in development X-Men: First Class came out and was a hit. The studio decided instead of pursuing a crossover project, it would just make a sequel to that movie. That’s how X-Men: Days of Future Past came to be. Future Past was also a hit, and that was that.
It’s easy to look back now and think about how epic this film could have been—but that’s with the success of four Avengers movies in our collective consciousness. Don’t forget, since that time there’s also been another Fantastic Four movie, Batman v. Superman, Justice League, and several other examples of how it also could have gone wrong.
Now, though, none of that matters. With Disney now owning Fox, this weekend’s release of Dark Phoenix marks the end of an era that began in 2000 when Fox released the first X-Men film. Spider-Man followed, then Fantastic Four, and eventually Iron Man, The Avengers, and the rest is history. And while Deadpool is likely to be the one piece remaining of what Fox built in its X-Universe, it’s still funny to think that in some multi-verse out there, Mr. Fantastic cut off Wolverine’s arms.
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