Facts About the Fantastic Four You Didn’t Know
The Fantastic Four return to the big screen in 2015! The movie focuses on the team’s origin story: after transporting to a parallel universe, Reed Richards (Miles Teller), Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), Sue Storm (Kate Mara), and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell), encounter cosmic forces that grant them all superhuman abilities. As the Fantastic Four, they must save the world from Doctor Doom.
To celebrate the occasion, we dug up a few facts about the Fantastic that you might not know – keep on scrolling to read on.
The Fantastic Four haven’t been the only Fantastic Four.
Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #348; art by Arthur Adams, Art Thibert
Thanks to the movies, including the newest reboot, just about everyone is familiar with the original Fantastic Four lineup of Mister Fantastic, Invisible, Thing, and Human Torch. This is the Marvel Universe, though, so things have to get crazy somewhere.
Aside from the more than 160 variations on the core team that exist in different continuities (listed here on the Marvel Wiki), other superheroes have been official members as well. It’s not nearly on the level of the number of heroes in the Avengers, but Black Panther, Storm, Ant-Man, and even Spider-Man, among others, have been officially Fantastic at one time or another.
The Fantastic Four haven’t only been the Fantastic Four, either.
From FF Vol. 1 #16; art by Nick Dragotta, Steve Epting, Chris Sotomayor, Paul Mounts
Each of the four originals have also been a part of other superhero teams. All of them have been a part of Reed Richards’ Future Foundation, for example, which Richards created as a successor to the Fantastic Four. Aside from that:
- Mister Fantastic has been in The Avengers, The Defenders, and The Illuminati.
- Invisible Woman has been in The Avengers and The Lady Liberators.
- Human Torch has been in The Fantastic Force and The Heralds of Galactus.
- Thing has been in The West Coast Avengers, The New Avengers, The Worthy, The Thunderiders, and the UCWF. (The UCWF is actually a pro wrestling federation for superheroes, and not an actual superhero team.)
There was a Fantastic Four movie from 1994 that was so bad it was never released.
Actually, the movie was made to bad on purpose, because it was never meant to be released.
Hastily made by the German studio Constantin, solely for the purpose of retaining the film rights to the franchise, the movie cost only about $1 million to make. For comparison, the 2015 version of Fantastic Four cost $122 million. Even Catwoman’s budget exceeded $100 million, and that movie was Catwoman.
Responsible for the movie’s production: Roger Corman, who also made Sharktopus, and Bernd Eichinger, who also made the 2000s Fantastic Four movies. That’s right – Constantin’s strategy of making a bad movie just so they could make a good movie later worked.
Bill Murray played one version of Human Torch.
From Fantastic Four Vol. 5 #13; art by Leonard Kirk, Jesus Aburtov
Before the Hollywood actor and comedian was even a cast member on Saturday Night Live in the ‘70s, he was the voice of Human Torch for a radio serial. Narrated by Stan Lee himself, the drama ran for nine 20-minute episodes in 1975, capped off with a three-hour finale.
If you’d like to give Bill’s voice acting work a listen, every installment of the show is available for free streaming and download on Archive.org (the Torch comes in at the 3:09 mark of Episode 1). Thanks, public domain!
The 2015 Fantastic Four is set in the X-Men movies’ universe.
20th Century Fox; Marvel Entertainment
The reason that the X-Men and the Fantastic Four characters haven’t appeared in any of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies is that 20th Century Fox owns their rights. Marvel couldn’t even put all of the Guardians in Guardians of the Galaxy, since a few of them were also X-Men in the comic books.
Since Fantastic Four will be part of the X-Men universe, though, that means that there’s plenty of possibility for crossover between the two series. Deadpool is going to be part of the same timeline, too.
The Fantastic Four are the original Marvel superhero team.
Fantastic Four Vol. 5 #13; art by Leonard Kirk, Jesus Aburtov
Most people assume that The Avengers came first, or were Marvel Comics’ answer to DC’s Justice League. However, both of those titles go to The Fantastic Four, which, with its 1961 debut, was the very first team of superheroes created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Lee and Kirby, the former of whom who actually considered leaving the industry before Fantastic’s success, would go on to collaborate on countless other Marvel series and issues. The Fantastic Four’s influence can even be seen in the art styles of later Lee/Kirby comics, such as Iron Man and, of course, The Avengers.
The Marvel Universe began with the Fantastic Four.
Fantastic Four #1; art by Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers
This is somewhat of a follow up to the last fact, but Volume 1, Issue 1 of the Fantastic Four comics is generally recognized as the “real” beginning of the mainstream Marvel Universe, Earth-616. Not only did the series steer the creation of several other Marvel series and turn the company into a household name, it actually introduced the in-canon concept of a Marvel Universe, period.
Earth-616 was later retconned to include everything before Fantastic Four #1, going all the way back to Marvel Comics #1 in 1939. Coincidentally, that comic featured a different character named Human Torch.