Is FOX prepping a crossover between the "X-Men" film franchise, and the soon to be rebooted "Fantastic Four" franchise? According to a report by financial site The Motley Fool that began to circulate over the weekend, it seemed like we would finally get to see The Thing dust it up with Wolverine on screen. Only problem is, it isn't true.
For a brief background about the project(s), FOX is one of the many studios which owns the rights to Marvel characters that isn't Disney or Marvel Studios itself. Specifically, FOX has the license for the X-Men roster of characters, as well as Fantastic Four and associated characters. Every few years they have to make or be actively developing movies based on the properties, or the rights will revert to Marvel Studios.
To further the development of the franchises, comic book writer Mark Millar was hired in September of 2012 as a creative consultant by FOX; a move many saw as a role similar to director/writer Joss Whedon's overseer role over at Marvel/Disney. Then in December, FOX added writer Simon Kinberg in a similar role, with Kinberg explicitly stating, "I have a lot of ideas on how to build those brands and do what everybody is thinking of these days: Be like Marvel."
At no point, however, did any of the involved announce or state that the two franchises would definitively be crossing over. The confusion comes from a quote by Millar from August, during an interview with SFX:
"Without question I think you have to see some of these guys showing up in each other's movies. I think the most exciting thing in superhero movies, until The Avengers came along, was when Nick Fury showed up in Iron Man. Even though it was a guy with an eye patch it was really cool -- and I expect we will see more of that."
Notice that Millar said, "I think you have to see some of these guys show up," and, "I expect we will see more of that." Nothing was confirmed, and this was (despite Millar's position) just idle musings as part of an interview. Unfortunately, the "crossover" was widely reported as fact, prompting a retraction from Millar on Twitter:
I keep seeing 'news' that X-Men & FF movies are crossing over. No, they're not. They exist in same universe but movies stand alone.— Mark Millar (@mrmarkmillar) August 19, 2013
Cut to December 26, 2013, when The Motley Fool posted their article. The otherwise accurate piece broke down which other companies would benefit from Marvel/Disney's upcoming slate, listing plans for Sony's Spider-Man franchise, as well as FOX's "X-Men" and "Fantastic Four" plans. Here's the text that set fans' hearts abuzz:
"After multiple movies in their respective franchises, Fox has now decided to combine the Fantastic Four and the X-Men for an 'Avengers'-style movie that could pay off huge for shareholders. Based on a 1987 four issue comic called Fantastic Four vs. X-Men, the movie will see the characters against each other because of secrets regarding the Fantastic Four's origin."
Which sounds fantastic, except it's simply not true.
When reached for clarification, the writer of the article cited two sources for his information: an article on news-site GeekExchange about Simon Kinberg's FOX deal; and the Wikipedia article for "Fantastic Four vs. X-Men."
The GeekExchange article does three things that could have indicated a crossover movie: the sub-headline, which teases a "possible X-Men crossover;" re-quoting Millar's statement about how the franchises should cross over, without his retraction; and posting the cover to Marvel Comics' "Fantastic Four Versus The X-Men #1."
While all of that might potentially indicate we're in for an epic movie if you skimmed the article, it's easy to miss this sentence between a picture from "Days of Future Past," and the comic book cover:
"While Days of Future Past hits theaters in a few months, the Fantastic Four reboot has yet to add any cast or plot points that could suggest a shared universe, but it's still early."
So even that story doesn't completely cop to the idea that there's any sort of crossover in the works. As for the plot details listed on The Motley Fool, as Wikipedia backs up that is, in fact, the plot of the comic book miniseries. However, given there's no actual movie in the works, even if there was there's no indication it will draw directly on the comic.
Therefore, the rumor simply isn't true. There's no crossover currently announced, and there's certainly no movie titled "Fantastic Four vs. X-Men," based on the limited series of the same name. It's all down to some possible quick skimming, and conclusions drawn that left out (or simply didn't research) basic facts and retractions.
That doesn't mean FOX isn't developing the idea behind the scenes, and given the success of "Marvel's The Avengers," it certainly makes sense that they would. But there's no actual information from FOX, or even Millar or Kinberg to back that up. Point being: don't believe everything you read on the Internet, kids. Except for this article. Believe this one.