This week brought news that the long rumored X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover movie may actually happen, after X-Men director Bryan Singer revealed that the concept is “on the table” for the franchises’ futures.
“On the table” is still a significant distance from a film being greenlit, and that decision probably won’t come until after Fox sees how well Fantastic Four and X-Men: Apocalypse do at the box office. Even so, we couldn’t help but wonder what such a crossover movie might look like.
We went back to the comics, as we tend to do, to find five X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover stories that could work as a basis for a feature film. Check them out below.
Fantastic Four vs. X-Men
In this miniseries, by definitive X-Men writer Chris Claremont and artist Jon Bogdanove, the X-Men discover that Kitty Pryde’s phasing powers are out of control and will soon kill her. The team seeks out Reed Richard's assistance on the matter, but he says that Kitty is too far gone for him to help. Magneto believes he’s lying, which sparks a conflict between the two teams that ends up revealing secrets from Reed’s past.
In adapting this story, Fox would probably need to substitute Kitty out for another mutant. Mystique likely fits the bill, as she has a power that calls for a similarly volatile molecular makeup. Perhaps the X-Men of the 1980s find a way to time travel to 2015 to seek Reed’s assistance. Magneto’s relationship with Mystique justifies Erik being emotional enough to go off the handle when Reed claims he can’t help.
A ‘90s crossover through and through, the Onslaught storyline from the comics was convoluted and bombastic. Magneto and Professor X’s consciousnesses merge into a single powerful entity, which then kidnaps Reed and Sue Richards’ reality-warping mutant son, Franklin, and the genetically engineered super-mutant refugee from the Age of Apocalypse timeline, Nate Grey, to become even more powerful. It took the combined might of every X-Men character around at the time, and the sacrifice of the Fantastic Four (and the Avengers, though they’d be left out of the adaptation for obvious reasons) to stop the monster’s rampage.
Reed and Sue appear to be meeting for the first time in Fantastic Four, but either the sequel or the time travel mechanic could add Franklin to the mix. Onslaught also has a ridiculously huge power set, so why not add limited time travel to the mix? Onslaught isn’t anyone’s favorite story, but it might be a suitably huge way to cap off the X-Men prequel trilogy, which has leaned so heavily on Charles and Erik’s relationship.
This 2005 crossover isn’t exactly a timeless classic, but it’s got Hollywood crossover written all over it. The plot involves the Fantastic Four seeking the aid of the X-Men for a rescue mission in outer space. Things go from bad to worse when a man-made recreation of the cosmic storm that gave the Fantastic Four their powers hits, giving four of the X-Men – Gambit, Wolverine, Emma Frost, and Nightcrawler -the same powers and making them mindless and aggressive. The FF and the remaining X-Men have to fix the effected mutants in time to fend off an invasion of Earth by the Brood.
Considering Fox seems determined to avoid sending their superheroes into space, particularly in regard to the FF’s origins, any movie based on this story would likely replace the cosmic elements with the Negative Zone. Perhaps, instead of a Brood invasion, Annihilus and his Annihilation Wave become the threat, resulting in the time-dsplaced X-Men becoming involved in the struggle. The X-Men gaining the FF’s abilities would be trickier to pull off, but we wouldn’t complain if they cut that out anyway. It was mostly a poor excuse for needlessly symmetrical violence.
Not long after the mainstream F4 crossover, the Ultimate universe decided to get in on the action with the first crossover between that universe’s versions of the teams. The relatively simple story had Fantastic Four villain The Mad Thinker stealing Cerebro from the X-Mansion and framing the FF for the job. The X-Men try to raid the Baxter building to retrieve the machine, and end up in a scuffle with the Fantastic Four. Eventually the Thinker reveals herself, and the two hero teams join forces to take her down.
Throw in the wrinkle that the Mad Thinker travels back in time to steal Cerebro, leading the X-Men after her into the present day, and this seems like a pretty simple adaptation.
This volume collects the “Betrayal in the Bermuda Triangle” storyline. The Future Foundation (formed after The Human Torch's death) received a distress call from the X-Men’s old ally Lee Forrester (also an old flame of both Cyclops and Magneto), who was trapped in another dimension. Together, the FF and the X-Men travel to the Bermuda Triangle and visit this new dimension to rescue her, but end up meeting an old friend of Ben Grimm’s and getting entangled in a war between two native factions.
This is the kind of high adventure story that could work well for a crossover movie. The mysterious properties surrounding the Bermuda Triangle could be used to bring the two teams together in this divergent universe. Replace Lee Forrester and Ben’s old buddy with characters already established in the films – perhaps Moira MacTagggert and Sue and Johnny’s father – and let the adventure begin.
The tricky part is that the climax of the story requires audiences to question the motives of Magneto and Dr. Doom, who both had reformed and joined their former enemies during the time this story took place. That shouldn’t be too hard with Magneto, but it would depend on where X-Men: Apocalypse and the Fantastic Four movies position those character.
Check out when Fantastic Four, X-Men: Apocalypse and other movies are coming out in ComicBook.com's Movie Release Schedule.