It’s really easy to forget how few people expected the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be a success.
Here was Marvel, a struggling company who had licensed away all their recognisable intellectual property to other studios, trying to make movies about unknown nobodies like Iron Man and Black Widow, alongside borderline jokes like Thor and Captain America?
There’s no way it was going to work.
And that’s why 20th Century Fox, the now-vanished studio who had paid big for most of the marquee Marvel names, had an idea back in 2011 to do a big team up movie with their big names – the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Daredevil and Deadpool.
This revelation comes from Kevin Smith’s podcast Fatman Beyond, where he chatted with Zack Stentz, who went on to write the X-Men: First Class script and who was employed by Fox to knock the story into shape. He declined to hand over plot points, but it’s fair to say it was “ragtag bunch of superpowered folks team up to take down massive evil thing”.
Unfortunately, in 2012 The Avengers arrived and well, you know the rest.
And frankly, the more we think about the Last Stand-era X-Men teaming up with Ben Affleck’s Daredevil and any cinematic incarnation of the Fantastic Four – especially if it was the one that included Chris Evans, which might have been an issue – the more we think that…
Look: cinema might have dodged a bullet, that’s all we’re saying.