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Fantastic Four isn’t doing so fantastic at the box office.
The Fox film, which was plagued by behind-the-scenes drama, received overwhelmingly negative reviews and is flopping with a $26.2 million opening against a $120 million budget.
Many viewers complained the film spent far too much time on the origin stories of the superheroes played by Miles Teller (Mr. Fantastic), Michael B. Jordan (the Human Torch), Kate Mara (the Invisible Woman) and Jamie Bell (the Thing). And that so few things happened that there isn’t even anything to spoil.
The poor box-office returns could put the Fantastic Four’s big-screen future in jeopardy, but if they are allowed to assemble again, there’s plenty of wild storylines the filmmakers could look to for inspiration.
One of the wackiest ideas to hit Marvel Comics in recent years was Marvel Zombies. Eventually taken over by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, the Marvel Zombies craze began in 2005 in the pages of Ultimate Fantastic Four under the reign of Mark Millar and Greg Land. In the story, Reed Richards travels to an alternate Earth where a zombie plague has turned superheroes evil. They have exhausted nearly all of the food (humans) on their planet and want another world to feast upon. The zombified Fantastic Four use Reed’s technology to make it to his world, and the good Fantastic Four must stop them. A zombie superhero film sounds wild, but why not go for broke at this point?
Millar teamed up with his Ultimates collaborator Bryan Hitch for a well-loved 2008-09 run in the mainstream Fantastic Four title. An ex-flame of Reed’s presents him with proof that the Earth will be destroyed due to an ecological disaster in the near future. The solution? Transferring people to an alternate dimension where Earth has been created anew. Reed must grapple with the reality that the world needs his mind, not his superheroics, to be saved. The new Earth (Nu-World) features an all-powerful robot called CAP (Conserve & Protect), which ensures there are no weapons in the world. But things go awry when CAP comes to the real Earth and starts dismantling it because of the large number of weapons it finds.
The early days of Jonathan Hickman‘s run (Fantastic Four Nos. 570–588, 600–611) introduced plenty of mind-blowing ideas that could be mined for a film. Among them: Reed Richards teaming up with countless counterparts from other universes to “solve everything,” working on problems that will save billions of lives throughout the multiverse. Also in the mix: an adult version of Reed and Sue’s son, Franklin, comes back from the future to warn his 3-year-old genius sister Valeria of an impending doom. And that’s just the first few issues.
What stories would you like to see on the big screen?
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