If Reed Richards and his friends thought getting their bodies transformed by an alternate dimension phenomenon was bad, they now know that things can get a whole lot worse.
"Fantastic Four" opened in theaters over the weekend, and the news was not good. Fox's reboot of the Marvel property earned a second place finish worth $26.2 million, coming off of negative reviews (it sits at an 8 percent fresh rating on RottenTomatoes.com as of this writing), and director Josh Trank's deleted tweet heard 'round the Internet. Even though a release date is already set for "Fantastic Four 2," the future of the franchise is far from certain, to state it lightly.
Of course, there are many comic book fans who already feel like the future destination of Marvel's First Family should be an obvious one: The Marvel Cinematic Universe, where Reed can become Science Bros with Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, and the Thing and the Hulk can clobber and smash each other all day long.
Will it happen? Who knows. Fox faces a lot of decisions regarding the future of "Fantastic Four," and at some point down the line — whether far or near — we could see the classic Marvel characters existing in the same universe as Captain America, Thor and the rest of their Avengers allies. If it happens, here are some possibilities for what we could see…
Lost in TimeMarvel
Over the weekend, HitFix's Donna Dickens suggested an awesome idea where the Fantastic Four were alive and active in the 1960s of the MCU, giving them the opportunity to interact with folks like Hank Pym, Howard Stark and Peggy Carter. A mission gone wrong saw them lost in space, only to return in the modern MCU without missing a beat.
It's an interesting way of staying true to the idea of Marvel's FIRST Family, while also explaining why we haven't seen them yet in the MCU. Plus, it connects the team with Iron Man and Cap in an immediate way, given their established relationship with Howard Stark and Peggy Carter.
Lost in SpaceMarvel
Riffing on Donna's idea, what if Reed et al were not only lost in space, but were recovered by the Guardians of the Galaxy? We need to figure out how to draw Star-Lord and friends into the Earthbound heroics of the Avengers at some point, probably in time for "Infinity War," and using the Fantastic Four to make that happen could be just the ticket.
Lost in the MicroverseMarvel
We already know that Hank Pym has his eye on the so-called Quantum Realm, the place where his wife Janet could very well be alive, if not well. In the comics, the Fantastic Four and Pym both shrank down and explored the Microverse, encountering Doctor Doom in the process. Sounds like a pretty great idea for an "Ant-Man" sequel, right? "Ant-Man & The Fantastic Four" has a certain ring to it.
Lost in Another DimensionFox
For whatever problems exist, "Fantastic Four" has no problems when it comes to its cast. Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell are a solid lineup for the F4, so why not bring them into the MCU? If they exist in a parallel dimension from the MCU — one where Planet Zero is one of Thanos' strongholds, or something like that — then it could be an easy leap for the current iterations of Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben to join the party.
Lost in TelevisionMarvel
Perhaps "Fantastic Four" could follow the fate of another Fox-Marvel property, "Daredevil." Fox handed Matt Murdock back over to Marvel after failing to make another movie in time to hang onto the license, yielding one of the coolest new television shows of 2015. Maybe something similar could happen with "Fantastic Four," yielding one of the most exciting superhero shows the MCU would be able to offer.
Lost in PurgatoryFox
Given the film's weak opening over the weekend, and the harsh critical reaction, it feels like a matter of time before "Fantastic Four" flees Fox and falls under the Marvel Studios spell — but that could be a decent amount of time, as in many, many years. In other words, it could just be a matter of twiddling your thumbs and grinding your teeth waiting for this to happen.
Found in "Infinity"Marvel
But really, if Marvel and Fox could work out some sort of "Fantastic Four" deal in time for the two-part "Infinity War," the world would be a better place for everyone involved.