The Silver Surfer is on course to become a linchpin in the upcoming Fantastic Four sequel Fox is readying for a July 4, 2007 bow. The character, who physically resembles the liquid metal villain from Terminator 2: Judgement Day and soars through the universe on his board, has evolved into one of Marvel's more sophisticated comicbook heroes. A Surfer feature has been in Fox's arsenal for a decade, but the studio waited because project is so ambitiously f/x-heavy and Fox has been busy with other Marvel franchises.

The wait ends with FF2. The storyline is being finalized, with the studio about to choose between a script by X2: X-Men United scribe Mark Frost and another by Don Payne, who scripted Fox/New Regency's My Super Ex-Girlfriend.

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While sources said Payne's script had the nod, and the Surfer, a studio spokesman denied that anything was set and that the Surfer was one of several plot possibilities. Fox wants to be sure a guest-starring stint doesn't wash out future feature plans.