Even the least educated hillbilly living under a rock in Dierks, Arkansas, knows that this summer's Fantastic Four reboot was a monumental bomb. Because of that, many have speculated that the rights to the franchise might revert back to Marvel Studios and Disney. While we have yet to hear that's the case, it sounds like Marvel already has a strong plan in place on how they would utilize their first family of superheroes. In fact, it sounds like they know what they want to do with all of their exiled Marvel titles, should they revert back to the mouse house.
As you can probably tell from the front page of our site, Kevin Feige held a press conference yesterday to celebrate and promote the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron on Blu-ray and DVD next week. He had a lot to say about nearly every aspect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And of course he talked about the new Spider-Man, who is getting a reboot at Sony after appearing in next May's Captain America: Civil War. And though they never really thought they'd get Peter Parker back in their stable as soon as they did, they always had a plan on how to properly use him.
Marvel apparently has a contingency plan in place for all their wayward titles floating around at various studios. Even if those plans won't be utilized until far into the future. As they learned with Spider-Man, anything can and will happen at any time. There is no real way to predict some of this stuff. So better to be safe than sorry. One of the subjects that came up last night was how the Infinity Stones are tied into all the various stories, and how the studio plans for such a long-term story arc. Does Kevin Feige already know the conclusion to Avengers: Infinity War - Part II? It sounds like he might. Asked that very question, he said this.
"Yes, in broad strokes. Sometimes in super specific things, but for the most part in broad strokes that are broad enough and loose enough that if through the development of four or five movies before we get to the culmination, as you say, we still have room to sway, and to go, and to surprise ourselves in places that we end up. So all the movies ultimately when they are finished can feel like they were all interconnected and meant to be and planned far ahead, but can live and breath as individual movies that can be satisfying by themselves."
Of course, a lot can change from a story outline to the working draft of a screenplay. And 'broad strokes' don't account for a character like Spider-Man falling back into the fold. So how do they handle something as monumental as that? Especially in terms of a project like Captain America: Civil War. That film was ready to start shooting by the time Spidey was officially a member of the MCU. Kevin Feige explained the following.
"The short answer is: the most important thing is the standalone movie, relaunching Spider-Man with a standalone movie with a new storyline that fits into this universe - that's job number one for us. And as is the case, the connectivity is great but it doesn't drive the train. That being said, if I understand what you're asking, we had... this has been a dream of ours for a long time, and we always had contingency plans should you know - which we always do anyways. Are we going to be able to make another movie with this actor? If we are then we'll do this, if not, we're going to do this. If we get the rights to a certain character that'd be great, then we'd do this, if not, we'd do this. So we always sort of operate with those alternate timelines available and are ready to shift if something happens."
Right now, Kevin Feige has a contingency plan as all of the upcoming spinoffs head into Avengers: Infinity War Part I and Avengers: Infinity War - Part II. And it sounds like they have a wish list of characters they already know what they would do with, including Wolverine, Silver Surfer, Deadpool, Cable and others. With those movies coming in 2018 and 2019, its highly unlikely, though, that Fox will be relinquishing their own Marvel characters anytime soon, especially with a full slate already lined up at the studio that includes Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse and Gambit in 2016, Wolverine 3 and The Fantastic Four 2 in 2017, with X-Force and The New Mutants possible before the end of the decade.
As you can see, Spider-Man was never a sure thing, with Marvel and Disney having an alternate plan for Captain America: Civil War should Peter Parker not make it into the mix. The storyline would have still worked regardless of whether or not the wall-crawler made it in. But at the same time, his inclusion and story arc in that movie was not a last minute decision. And if Wolverine can make it into Avengers: Infinity War - Part II, it sounds like the studio already knows full well what they'll be doing with him.