Ant-Man and the Wasp director Peyton Reed says there's still an "unbelievably great" Fantastic Four movie yearning to be made and there are "plenty" of ways to weave their story into the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"When Ant-Man came around I jumped at the chance because it is a kind of movie that I've wanted to make for a long time," Reed told Forbes when asked of his interest in other Marvel properties outside of Ant-Man.
"I've done comedies, I developed a version of Fantastic Four back in 2003 and so these are the kinds of movies I grew up on, have loved and always wanted to make."
Reed's proposed 1960s-set Fantastic Four movie would have treated the foursome as rock stars — think Beatlemania — but 20th Century Fox released a modern Tim Story-directed blockbuster in 2005 and a sequel in 2007 before the series was rebooted in 2015's Fant4stic.
The Bring It On and Yes Man director explained he likes to think he can "continue doing movies large and small," adding he's no longer "daunted by this kind of movie anymore."
"In terms of staying in the Marvel thing, it really is about, outside of the specific Ant-Man thing with these characters that I really love, who knows? I don't know," Reed said. "It really is just kind of being struck by a concept or a script or something."
"I have been asked about that because of this pending potential merger of Disney and Fox and my previous involvement with Fantastic Four. I stand by the fact that the Fantastic Four, the comics, are the crown jewels kind of thing and that I think there is still an amazing, unbelievably great Fantastic Four movie to be made," Reed said.
"Beyond that, there have been no specific conversations about it. That merger is not even a done deal but it's absolutely something that would be interesting particularly now because I think it's like an insane challenge at this point. Also, I think thematically the Ant-Man movies deal with a lot of the same things that Fantastic Four does."
As part of the Marvel stable, Reed is excited by the potential of the merger: when or if Disney's $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox is completed, Disney-owned Marvel Studios will then be able to integrate Fox-controlled characters belonging to the Fantastic Four and X-Men families into the shared MCU, home to characters like the Avengers and Spider-Man.
"I think as a fan with a slight case of OCD it is something that feels kind of cool that these characters could all come back under the same umbrella and inhabit the same universe and mirror what Stan Lee did back in the day in the comics," Reed said.
"As a fan, it is exciting to me to see these characters and that sort of cross-pollination. It was exciting when they brokered the deal to have Spider-Man come from Sony and be in [Captain America: Civil War] and now be in the MCU. Whether it's X-Men characters or Fantastic Four or whoever, I have to believe that [Marvel Studios president] Kevin Feige has at least some general idea in his mind about how that could work. I have no idea and I'm not privy to all that but it's exciting as a family."
Because both the original Ant-Man and the Fantastic Four were co-created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, could Reed's Ant-Man franchise be used as an entry point for Marvel's first family into the MCU?
"Yeah," Reed answered, "there are definitely plenty of organic ways to weave their story into the MCU and I hope it does happen."
Reed's sentiments are shared by Avengers: Infinity War co-director Joe Russo, who picked the superhero family as the most deserving characters in need of proper handling. "I think we all agree that the Fantastic Four need the correct story told," Russo told the Happy Sad Confused podcast in May.5comments
"[They're] characters who were important to me, Ben Grimm was one of my favorites. And I think there's a version of that film and that world that still needs to be told."
Ant-Man and the Wasp, starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Hannah John-Kamen, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Douglas, and Michelle Pfeiffer, is now playing.