Convention Editorial Interview

WEEKEND SUPERHERO: Comic Con 2015: Crossover Appeal

Fantistic Four X-Men

Something on not-so-big crossover news, coming out of convention season. Between the ongoing success of the MCU, and the anticipation over the DC Joint Cinematic Universe finally getting into the fight, there have actually been quite a few would-be major developments that got second-tiered, overshadowed, or just completely overlooked.

Sony’s JCU efforts may have been the earliest of the season’s most publicized casualties, as plans for yet another Spider-Man reboot took a back-seat to the character’s furlough to the MCU. In the meantime, the recent reversal of Fox’s fortunes, regarding its Marvel Mutant properties, may have left its Fantastic Four reboot with more to prove than how much better it is than the previous incarnation. Heck, Fox is so much closer, to realizing an expansive franchise universe of its own, that there is talk of the resurgent universe incorporating the re-emergent one. Personally, I wouldn’t consider talk of being bought out, even before re-opening for business, as being particularly encouraging.

Fox’s X-verse is currently occupying a sweet spot, between the MCU’s domination, and DC’s upcoming challenge; and with enough room for success, or failure, to garner a fair amount of questions, concerns, and curiosity.

Not everything lost in the Joint Universe/ Crossover news stream has been big screen – or even small screen related (even non-comic book/ superhero properties, like Bones & Sleepy Hollow, are talking crossover events). Something I had considered to be a glaring oversight – a crossover between Batman, and the TMNT – became a reality (so, y’know, never mind, or something).

Batman vs TMNT official splash pages:

Batman TMNT splash page 1


Batman TMNT splash page 2

If ever there was an example of a noteworthy story getting lost in the wake of big Con announcements, this season, this would be one of them. I could easily rationalize that this is to be a strictly comic book event, and simply had no bearing on what Convention goers have been obsessing about the most: big/ small screen adaptation; but that fact only seems to underscore how little anyone cared about something as mundane as comic book crossovers.

Well, comic book print happenings aren’t really my beat, either; so sorry guys –

About those movie mutants – sure, a lot of attention went into first looks, at X-Men: Apocalypse’s titular character (Oscar Isaac), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), and the new faces of old franchise characters; but all that really did was set off the usual round of fanboy bickering. For what it’s worth, I think Oscar Isaacs could make for a perfect En Sabah Nur, but a lousy Apocalypse. As the released images suggests focus on the latter, not the former, I am content to trust post-production to make it work. My most extensive exposure to Olivia Munn came from her run on G4’s Attack of the Show. If anyone reading this remembers that run, you’ll understand why I may be having a little trouble getting past thoughts of a cosplay sketch about to go wrong. I’m not knocking her serious acting chops – I’ve just never actually seen them.

As for the new kids – if no one made a big deal about Jubilee’s casting for X2 (Kea Wong), why start over Lana Condor, in Apocalypse? I would have to see (the non-downer) Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) in action, and Tye Sheridan seems about as bland as James Marsden – but that only counts towards how straight-laced fans expect their Scott Summers to be (a little too bland, in the last franchise, for my tastes).  Sophie Turner will, of course, have to play against her Sansa Stark character; but I imagine that she – like Sheridan – was cast with the older version of her character in mind. Personally, I had always thought Famke Janssen a bit harsh, as Jean Grey; so I’m hoping Turner tones down the sternness, some. I was, however, left of two minds, regarding Storm (Alexandra Shipp). On one hand, an actual African character just needs to be darker (white hair, or not), leaving me thinking of someone like Lupita Nyong’o in the role. On the other hand, Shipp definitely wears the fierceness, of Storm’s punk phase, pretty well – a fierceness I would not readily apply to Nyong’o, and Halle Berry never did quite grow into. With ‘a younger Halle Berry’ casting decision, in mind, I suppose the role may have traded up, after all.

So that’s my two cents on all that; but in all the nitpicking, it seemed to me that a much bigger story – a potential merging of Fox’s two remaining Marvel properties (after kindly returning Daredevil to its natural habitat) – isn’t really getting the same kind of scrutiny. I mean, sure, it had been regulated to speculation/ rumor; but I figured continued hints, joint press events, and comments of consideration would have somehow kept the fires flaring.

I suppose there may yet be a flare up, if something concrete drops about it; but here’s the circumstantial evidence I’ve come across, so far:

Bryan Singer seems all for it. Granted, the extended Bryon Singer Yahoo interview makes for a blink-and-you-miss-it blurb, somewhere at the 6:53 mark; so it’s understandable that the inference got buried under all that other X-news, that came out of it. The “mechanism” he mentioned could allude to a meeting of the X-verse’s time travel, and the FF’s dallying with multi-verses. Seems like an open door, to me.

Channing Tatum & Bryon Singer walk into an Instagram selfie….

Okay, Tatum & Singer could’ve crossed paths over any number of reasons; but if Tatum’s Gambit character so much as cameos, for Apocalypse (despite his stating otherwise), I’d call that a consolidation of X-properties. Say what you will about X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s place, in the new timeline, I say Ryan Reynolds’s Deadpool has already clocked into the collective.

What the Six Degrees of X Cross Promotion thing really gets me mulling over, however, is what possible significance a joint cast photo session, for Fox’s complete Marvel movie slate – including Fantastic Four – could have.

EW’s collected Marvel characters of Fox portrait (Sarah Dunn):

Fox Marvel superheroes cast

Altogether, that’s X-Men: Apocalypse, Deadpool, Gambit, Wolverine 3, and Fantastic Four. Fox showing off its stable of horses, or subtly challenging both Marvel & DC to a JCU horse race? Successfully relaunching the X-verse gives the studio a reason to boast about prospects; but it may take a successful reboot of both FF, and the Deadpool character, before it can start selling itself as a real threat/ alternative to the Marvel/ DC head-to-head.

Then again, another FF failure could make it absolutely necessary to roll the franchise into the X-verse, if only to keep the rights in-house. Cynical – I know; but Fox really doesn’t play nice with other studios….

Yes, I may be Rorschaching like crazy, over stains on a fanboy’s novelty t-shirt, or pointing out something obvious, that may still never happen; but it is the lay of the land, right now, and Fox is as opportunistic as the next guy, when it comes to cashing in on trends.

Talk of Apocalypse gained traction after Thanos made his first cameo, for the MCU. The way I see it, the only way Fox is going to take its X-verse intergalactic – as in Guardians of the Galaxy – is to either revisit the Dark Phoenix, or to incorporate its ready-made star spanner, Fantastic Four; but the point is, any current MCU success could be a portal to Fox’s future Marvel plans.

The threadbare fanboy speculation of today, could be the big event of a Comic Con to come.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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