Earlier this week we received word that Fox had hired Mark Millar to oversee a shared universe for their Marvel properties. Well that was the least surprising news I've ever heard! Just a few months after Marvel's mammoth success with The Avengers, and the culmination of Marvel Studios excellent Phase 1, it seems everyone wants their own comic-book universe on film.
However Fox's just won't work. This isn't me being negative against Fox. I want it to work. Two of my favourite superhero teams are the X-Men and the Fantastic Four and I would love to see a successful film series for these characters (especially the FF who were ruined in their last set of films). It's just, unfortunately, these two properties just won't exist together.
Sure they live in the same universe on the page, but not to the extent that a team-up between them would make sense on screen. The closest relation between the two groups is Franklin Richards status as one of the worlds most powerful mutants and Reed Richards and Xaviers membership of the Illuminati (and that will definitely not work without Tony Stark). Neither of these are, in my opinion, valid basis for a shared universe, other than the odd cameo of Franklin attends the Xavier Institute.
Now the problem is Fox just doesn't have the sheer number of properties that Marvel has. In a weeks time (unless David Slade completely changes his mind) this will decrease even more once Daredevil reverts to Marvel. This leaves then with two which don't coexist together and any film will feel forced.
However that isn't to say Fox can't have a shared universe, they just need to forget the FF. The X-Men could easily sustain an entire shared universe. Not only are there the original films, the First-Class franchise and the Wolverine series (which should hopefully all come together in the proposed Days of Future Past film) but there are any number of characters from the comics who could be introduced.
Firstly Captain Britain and Excalibur assuming they have the rights could easily make a film with a tone distinct from many others and should presumable bring back Kitty Pryde and reintroduce Psylocke (the best and worst character in The Last Stand respectively). Then there's always the New Mutants, a team I'd love to see on film, X-Force, X-Factor, the list goes on and on.
But where does this leave Marvel's first family. Simple. In a franchise all of their own. The FF don't need the X-Men. All they need is a director with a good vision, a strong script and a talented cast. I could talk forever about how to make a FF film but I've already wrote a blog about that before and that's not what this is about.
So, these are just a few of my initial reactions to Fox's plans. I hope I'm completely surprised and it will be a success, however I just can't see it working. What I'd really love to see is the characters revert to Marvel and come together for one movie with all the Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Marvel's hundreds of other characters (Civil-War anyone?). Well, a fan can dream...