One aspect of Marvel movies that fans have come to love are the numerous easter eggs the films include that allude to other pieces of their shared cinematic universe, commonly referred to as the MCU. Last month's Ant-Man featured links to a bunch of other characters and movies like The Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Incredible Hulk, and even featured the MCU's first mention of Spider-Man (I know, right?!). So with Fantastic Four now in theaters, fans are wondering what sorts of connections to the MCU they should watch out for in the movie. But are there even any Marvel easter eggs in Fantastic Four ?
Unfortunately, nope. You're going to have to wait for next spring's Captain America: Civil War before you get any more of those sweet, sweet clues. That's because Fantastic Four isn't produced by Marvel Studios, but by 20th Century Fox. Even though the heroes come from the pages of Marvel Comics, their film rights are owned by Fox, which means they're not part of the MCU. This might be hard to take for fans of Marvel, since the Fantastic Four are often referred to as Marvel's first family, and their 1961 debut is what kicked off the so-called Marvel Age in comics. Making matters worse is the possibility that points to Marvel distancing themselves from one of their greatest creations over money, to the point where they seem to be trying to erase the Fantastic Four from their own history. Don't believe me? Take a look at the evidence below, and then tell me this isn't an evil plot worthy of Doctor Doom himself.
A Forgotten Anniversary
Marvel celebrated their 75th anniversary last year, and you'd think their first family, the Fantastic Four, would have been a big part of it — but you'd be wrong. As you can see, the Fantastic Four are nowhere to be found on the cover of Marvel's 75th anniversary anthology, though the cover manages to squeeze in three members of the Guardians of the Galaxy, a property that was largely unknown before their movie last year. Also missing from the cover are the iconic X-Men, whose movie rights also belong to Fox.
A Redecorated Office
According to Bleeding Cool, all images related to the Fantastic Four have been taken down at Marvel's offices, suggesting that this feud is a lot more personal than Marvel would like us to believe.
A New Policy
Bleeding Cool able obtained statements from artists who draw Marvel characters for trading card companies stating that they were instructed by Marvel to no longer draw Fantastic Four characters or anyone related to them. There's also a leaked memo which states, flat out, "All Marvel characters related to Fantastic Four are now off limits and will be immediately rejected by Marvel." The words in bold are Marvel's apparent doing, not my own.
A Cancelled Comic
Marvel unceremoniously cancelled the Fantastic Four comic book in Oct., after the series had run basically every month in some form since 1961. The timing was suspicious to say the least, coming less than a year before Fox's movie. Marvel cited poor sales numbers as the reason, but it's hard to believe that those numbers wouldn't have spiked with a new movie coming out.
A Bad Photoshop (Or Two)
Marvel has been cutting back on, or eliminating, licensing for loads of Fantastic Four merchandise, but the most ridiculous step they've taken so far is when they actually edited out characters from the Fantastic Four (and X-Men) from classic comic covers appearing in reprints on new T-Shirts. On one such cover, the characters were replaced by heroes Marvel is currently promoting in movies and TV (and who didn't even appear in the original comic), while on another the characters were lazily photoshopped out and not replaced. They even left in the flaming stream from the Human Torch as a random streak of fire across the sky. If you're going to commit a crime, at least get rid of the evidence.
A Business Decision
While Marvel has mostly denied that they've been shelving the Fantastic Four, their Executive Editor Tom Breevort made a candid statement to a fan on Tumblr regarding his company's recent decisions about the FF. "If you had two things, and on one you earned 100% of the revenues from the efforts that you put into making it, and the other you earned a much smaller percentage for the same amount of time and effort, you’d be more likely to concentrate more heavily on the first, wouldn’t you?" Breevort asked. While the statement makes sense from a business standpoint, it still is disappointing, and it's unfortunate that fans are missing out.
A New Direction
Every year, Marvel releases a promo image to get people excited for the year's upcoming comics. They recently unveiled this year's, and if you look closely at the dozens of characters in the picture (seen in the link), you'll notice that not a single member of the Fantastic Four or the X-Men is present. This is the first time they've been missing from one of these photos (they've been quite front and center previously), and it means fans will have to make do with resurrected characters nobody cares about to fill the gap.
I really hope the Fantastic Four become a bigger part of the Marvel universe soon, because I don't want to have to read a comic book about friggin' Devil Dinosaur.
Images: 20th Century Fox; Marvel Comics (2); Giphy (4)