After appearing on the same stage (and in selfies) at Saturday's Comic-Con International: San Diego panel, stars of 20th Century Fox's Fantastic Four, X-Men: Apocalypse, Deadpool and Gambit got together again for an Entertainment Weekly photo shoot (see above). The image was later tweeted by both the official X-Men and Fantastic Four Twitter pages with the message:
"A universe united. #XMenApocalypse #Wolverine #Gambit #Deadpool #FantasticFour"
(The Deadpool twitter page added it's own spin, calling it "Family reunion. Guess who's the drunk uncle. #Deadpool")
While it could simply be throwaway social media marketing, any official 20th Century Fox shared "universe" talk can't be automatically dismissed. There has long been talk, speculation and even some meat on the bone for the idea of a Fox film that would crossover their Fantastic Four and X-Men licenses. And of course with inter-dimension travel being the key to Josh Trank's Fantastic Four reboot next month, a story mechanism is already seemingly in place.
Reports in late 2013 and early 2014 by the financial website Motely Fool and then the Hollywood Reporter suggested plans were in fact in development at Fox for such a crossover, with THR reporting FF and X-Men screenwriter/producer Simon Kinberg had been charged with "expanding" the X-Men and Fantastic Four into a "super-shared universe."
Kinberg himself subsequently commented on the possibilities, telling EW early this year that while the Fantastic Four reboot needs to "work in and of itself," a crossover is possible. “If we wanted to find a way to connect them to the X-Men, we could. There’s a lot of precedent from the comics," he said.
And comic book writer Mark Millar - a creative consultant for Fox's Marvel films - said as far back as summer 2013 that an FF/X-Men movie crossover is "without question."
“I think you have to see some of these guys showing up in each other’s movies,” he said.
Fantastic Four is something of a wildcard in terms of public perception heading to its August 7 debut. An announcement ... or even a strong implication of a future crossover with the X-Men - perhaps at the zenith of its own popularity right now - probably wouldn't hurt the reboot's Q factor.
And then there's the matter of the still-unnamed Marvel "mystery" movie 20th Century Fox reportedly scheduled over a year ago with the release date of July 13, 2018 that most of the entertainment press has largely ignored or forgotten. Could that be the date Fox is reserving to spring its "super-shared universe"onto the moviegoing world?