Is The Baxter Institute Real? 'Fantastic Four' Trains Its Heroes At The Coolest School Around
If you're a teenage superhero, you need some good training. Harry Potter went to Hogwarts; Buffy took lessons from Giles; Tris Prior jumped off buildings under the supervision of her scary Dauntless leaders. For the young heroes-to-be otherwise known as the Fantastic Four, their training came in the form of school — a really cool school, natch. But is the Baxter Institute real? Superpowered-students aside, it does seem like the place where the team hones their skills could be an actual boarding school, or at the very least, based on one that really exists.
Sorry to disappoint you, anyone who was hoping to get a secondary education at Reed's alma mater: the Baxter Institute is totally fictional. There are other, real Baxter Institutes that exist, but it seems pretty unlikely that they feature the same high-tech labs and teleporting equipment that the one in Fantastic Four does (although wouldn't it be cool if they did?) The school featured in the film was made up solely for the movie, although its name will be familiar to fans of the F4 comics; Marvel has the team use the Baxter Building as their headquarters. Seeing as the movie makes its heroes teenagers who haven't yet been given their powers, they don't have a need for an actual headquarters, but instead, attend a school for highly-skilled teens led by Franklin Storm.
And like I said, it's kind of the greatest school a budding genius could attend. At Baxter, Reed and his "classmates" are surrounded by all the tools, resources, and encouragement they could want, and they're treated as adults who have real respect for their work. Sounds like heaven, right? Well, almost — there is the possibility of getting blown up or permanently transported into an alternate dimension. The Baxter Institute is up there with these seven other unbelievably cool (although totally dangerous) fictional schools:
1. Hogwarts, In The Harry Potter Series
Upsides: Get to learn magic, taught by highly-skilled wizards, learn to play a super-cool sport, have all the access to chocolate frogs and butterbeer you could want.
Downsides: Can't tell your friends about it, teachers sometimes turn out to be evil, always in mortal danger.
2. X-Mansion, In The X-Men Series
Upsides: Learn to control powers, have super hot mutants for teachers.
Downsides: Dt gets destroyed. A lot.
3. William McKinley High School, In Glee
Upsides: Great football team, access to slushies, an extraordinarily high musical theater budget.
Downsides: Lots of bullies, no attention paid to classes that don't require singing.
4. Jedi Academy, In The Star Wars Series
Upsides: You learn how to be a Jedi. Plus, lightsabers.
Downsides: Always. In. Danger.
5. Wayside School, In The Wayside School Series
Upsides: The most fun you'll ever have at school.
Downsides: Evil teachers, disappearing students, very little learning actually done.
6. Mrs. Frizzle's School, In The Magic School Bus Series
Upsides: Constant field trips, a great teacher, little actual supervision.
Downsides: No one will believe what you did in class that day.
7. Sunnydale High, In Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Upsides: A superhero classmate who constantly saves you from disaster.
Downsides: If she's not there, you die.
Compared to some of these schools, the Baxter Institute seems like the best (and safest) choice there is. Where can I sign up?
Images: 20th Century Fox (3); Warner Bros; Fox; HarperCollins; PBS; The WB