Welcome to another installment of what I hope is an enjoyable, extended look at a series of films that I’d like to see used as a way to bring the X-Men and Fantastic Four universes into the MCU. I’ve spent a troubling amount of time in my own mind thinking about this and figured that if I was going to spend that much time, I might as well write it up and feel accomplished! In doing so, I know that I’ll push some buttons with some readers, so let’s be clear about a few things: these are only MY ideas and do not, in any way, represent insight into what we should expect; of all the films I end up writing about, there’s a very small chance ANY of them get made; you’re free to write your own fan-fiction about films you want to see.
With so much time between now and when we will first see the X-Men enter the MCU, there’s a lot of time for things to change (including my own mind); however, this “blueprint” is my current idea and one that I’ve attempted to base both in the kind of decisions Marvel Studios has made to date and on the types of changes we’ve seen recently. Unfortunately, in writing these I’ve discovered I am NOT cut out to do screenplays, so some of these stray from convention in a few ways.
In the first installment, I took at look at how Starjammers could potentially kick off Marvel Studios’ inclusion of the X-Men characters into the MCU. Then I took a shot at introducing Charles Xavier to the world and explaining just why he needed the X-Men in the first place. Next, we introduced arguably Marvel’s greatest character, Victor von Doom. We then caught up on the adventures of Corsair and crew and met the poweful Shi’ar Imperial Guard. We finally gave Marvel’s first family the film they deserve and then brought the X-Men into the MCU, making good on our several movie long build up to a true-to-comics Scott Summers. Yesterday we investigated the origins of the universe and took a look at the threat nature poses to us all in the Silver Surfer. Yesterday, we reunited the Summers’ boys and took the X-Men into space and now it’s time to catch up with the first family as they deal with a threat unlike any other the MCU has seen before: Kang the Conqueror.
I should explain before I begin that this would be a major film and not just a Fantastic Four film. I’m giving a major Avengers’ storyline to the first family because I believe it deals with the types of issues they should be facing, but they’ll be getting some help from their friends and even from Victor.
When last we saw them, Reed Richards and Victor von Doom had just been swept up and transported back to Ancient Egypt by Reed’s father, Nathaniel and we will pick up right there as the film begins. Nathaniel explains that they’ve come to Egypt in 2620 BC and that they’ve traveled into the past to witness something extraordinary. The events that unfold before them, Nathaniel says, have happened despite not being mentioned in any recorded history, and will help them understand that there have always been threats to mankind’s existence. As Victor and Reed look on, Nathaniel narrates the story as a group of Egyptian warriors, led by a man called Imhotep, fight back an alien invasion. The trio hop through time again, over 2400 years into the future to see what appears to be the Colossus of Rhodes doing battle with an early model Kree Sentry. Another moment later it’s now 114 AD, a group of men fight back a massive being before eventually propelling it into the sun. Now it’s 2019 and the Avengers, at great personal cost, have defeated Thanos. One last time: it is 3029 and a massive army is being assembled. Nathaniel explains that they are seeing the army of Kang the Conqueror, a warlord unlike any other and that at all points in time, the greatest minds men had to offer always answered the bell and saved the world. Victor questions why Nathaniel would bring them to a time so far removed from their own; clearly any interference they might run with Kang would alter the timeline in ways they could never imagine and this is not their fight. Nathaniel responds to Doom by telling him two things:
- Kang hasn’t built this army to rule this time, he already rules it. He’s building it to invade our time.
- This invasion is unlike any they’ve ever faced before and Kang can do it because he’s perfected Victor’s Time Platform.
The three heroes jump back to present day Earth in Latveria and find it in chaos. Having felt their presence in his timeline, Kang had already attacked and as they return to Castle Doom, it is in ruins. Kang has won his first battle. Nathaniel returns them to the Baxter Building before leaving them with their own time travel technology. The war is on!
At this point we meet Kang, aboard Damocles, and get the necessary exposition to understand the story as he sends wave after wave of his army to Earth. Despite Earth’s Mightiest Heroes fighting against the army, they fall quickly to their sheer numbers and advanced technology. From aboard his ship, Kang announces that he wishes for the war to end but that it will go on as long as it must. In order for it to stop, the Earth must honor his request and surrender one person to them: Kang must have Franklin Richards. They have 24 hours to say their goodbyes or Kang will begin destroying major cities of Earth; if they give him Franklin, he will leave now and leave Earth to its own destruction.
NOTE: It’s key to point out that at this point, Franklin has no idea what he can do other than talk to Valeria inside her head and make a few things move around on the floor. Besides that, he’s not old enough to explain what he thinks he can do anyway.
The Fantastic Four and Doom regroup along with a few key friends: Carol Danvers, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man. Sue is furious and insists that they attack; Reed is pensive and suggests they try to understand what is happening. Doom, Carol, Ben and Johnny side with Sue and begin devising a plan of attack. Spidey, Reed and Strange gather Franklin and Valeria an make their first jump, going back to a time before they were lost in the Negative Zone and the Baxter Building was empty, hoping to give themselves enough time to figure out what Kang wants with Franklin before time runs out without crossing paths with themselves. At this point it becomes a race against time: Sue’s team has 24 hours to try to infiltrate Damocles and defeat Kang; Reed’s team has 24 hours to work together to solve the puzzle of Franklin.
So the film will be split on the two fronts. Sue’s team will fight a relentless battle and eventually end up on the Damocles where Kang’s armor proves too strong for any of them, even Carol. While Reed, Victor and Spidey run a battery of tests, Strange finds himself pursuing other non-scientific means to divine why Kang would want Franklin. Using his somewhat limited mastery of time, he’s unable to find out much but does become aware Franklin’s strange abilities. Spidey’s relentless banter eventually wears on Doom, causing a great fight between the two that, eventually, is broken up by Reed and Strange. Back on Damocles, as time nears its end, Sue pleads with Kang to spare her child. It’s at this point Kang realizes Sue has the wrong idea; Kang does not want to kill Franklin, he NEEDS Franklin to save the one thing that neither time travel nor all his power could save: Princess Ravonna, who we see kept in stasis onboard Damocles.
It’s at this point we come to understand everything we need to know about Ravonna from Kang while simultaneously learn what Reed has come to understand about Franklin from their tests. As the stories wind to their end, Kang and Reed both end at the same place: Franklin Richards is the most powerful mutant that has ever lived! Reed’s team heads back to Earth with little time to spare and are transported onto Damocles by Doctor Strange. A brief fight ensues and everyone is reunited. Reed begins to explain to Sue who stops him and explains to him just what it is their son will be able to do but that Kang had to come to this point in time because at any point any later, Franklin Richards ceased to exist within the timeline until he was much older and more powerful. Kang has tried other points in time to gain access to Franklin, but has found them all…blocked.
At this point, Nathaniel Richards emerges from the time stream and it is revealed by Kang that his man is known to him as his own ancestor and one who has conquered the time stream himself. While it’s possibly the most confusing thought I’ve had here, Nathaniel has to take Franklin away and he has to do it now. Franklin’s powers are so incredible that if he were to stay in his present time, they would manifest in such a way as to do destroy the universe. Nathaniel has been taking Franklin away and training him in all the different versions of this timeline ever since he disappeared. The reason Kang can’t find his way to Franklin later is that Franklin has grown so omnipotent in the future that he can control all of spacetime, subconsciously, to protect himself and his loved ones from any and all threats and so he acted as the other great men we saw on our trip through the past. While he’s a poweful mutant, however, he is not immortal and will eventually pass away leaving the Earth vulnerable to attacks from men like Kang.
In the end, Franklin must go with Nathaniel or there will be no future, there won’t even be a Kang as Earth would have been destroyed many times over before his time. As the family says their goodbyes, Franklin looks at the stasis chamber and as he walks away, Ravonna comes back to life.
3 more to go. While this was certainly shorter and a little light on story details, it was fun to think about. Tomorrow we’ll catch up with our spacebound X-Men and begin the journey towards Secret Wars!
Post-Credit Scene #1: What appears to be Iron Man approaches a group of costumed heroes meeting in the old Avengers facility in upstate New York. The large green Avenger turns around to reveal his face and we see it is not the Hulk. We’re in a meeting of the Young Avengers!
Post-Credit Scene #2: A man dressed all in white returns to a small space on Earth. As he walks into it, the space continues to expand before him and we see that he is now looking at the same point on several Earths across the multiverse. As the scene cuts to black, dark-haired man smiles and his view is now exponentially greater.
The Fantastic Four will return!