Marvel Phase 5 Movies: Why Spider-Man May Introduce the Fantastic Four

Why Spider-Man is actually the perfect Marvel hero to usher in the Fantastic Four.

The Fantastic Four are coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe … at some point. But their first introduction may have been through Spider-Man, which is a perfectly appropriate gateway due to the Fantastic Four’s and Spider-Man’s long and storied history together in the Marvel Universe.

During the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, fans noted that the former Stark/Avengers Tower, now sold to a new owner, can be seen in the film undergoing renovations. A sign reads, “We can’t show you what comes next,” followed by a series of numbers: “1, 2, 3,” and then, “?” instead of a “4.”

The sign could be read in two ways: It’s Marvel breaking the fourth wall to hint at Phase Four (which Marvel Studios later revealed at San Diego Comic-Con), or it’s Marvel making its first reference to the Fantastic Four. In the comics, the team is headquartered in a New York skyscraper, the Baxter Building.

While not as flashy as Stark Tower, the 35-story building has its own cutting-edge amenities, including a handful of research labs, a space observatory, parking space for the Fantasti-Car and a rocket ship (lined with anti-vibrational walls to absorb the shock of rocket launches), a gym, and even a TV studio.

During the events of Far From Home offscreen, the Fantastic Four may already be moving into the ready-made Stark Tower to turn it into the Baxter Building. Or maybe not, and Marvel really was just hinting at the reveal of Phase Four. Either way, it was at San Diego Comic-Con where Kevin Feige mentioned the Fantastic Four (as well as “mutants”) as part of Phase Five.

But it makes sense Spider-Man may be the way the Fantastic Four enter the MCU in Phase Five (yes, we’re already looking at Phase Five) due to their historic friendship, though they haven’t always been friendly.

In the first issue of The Amazing Spider-Man in 1963 by Stan Lee, Spidey dropped in on the Baxter Building hoping to get hired by the team because the actually poor Peter Parker needed money.

After an “exhibition,” Spider-Man left when the Fantastic Four told him they were a “non-profit organization.”

From 'The Amazing Spider-Man' #1, in which Spider-Man "applies" for a job for the Fantastic Four.

Marvel Entertainment

Years later, in 1984 following the events of Secret Wars, Peter Parker rids himself of the symbiote and is left without a costume. Johnny Storm, who has a little too much fun kicking poor Peter when he’s down, lends him a spare Fantastic Four costume, a paper bag, and a “Kick Me” sign on his back to wear on the swing back home. This was the debut of the infamous “Bombastic Bag-Man,” which is a playable costume in Spider-Man’s PlayStation 4 game.

Since then, the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man have teamed up on many occasions, not just in the epic Marvel-wide crossovers. A few limited series runs have co-starred both Spider-Man and the team, including 2005’s Spider-Man/Human Torch by Dan Slott (who would later write both The Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four) and 2007’s Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.

Cover of 'Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four' #1, released in 2007.

Marvel Entertainment

It is especially curious that Phase Four includes What If…? on Disney+ because the very first issue of the speculative anthology series imagines what would have happened if the Fantastic Four hired Spider-Man when they first met.

Spoilers: It doesn’t go well for the “Fantastic Five.” (Long story short, Sue Storm is killed by Namor, and Spider-Man blames himself.)

Marvel 'What If?' #1 actually imagined what would have happened if the Fantastic Four accepted Spider-Man's job application, turning the team into the "Fantastic Five."

Marvel Entertainment

Because of the Fantastic Four’s previous ownership with Disney competitors (now subsidiary) 20th Century Fox, it’s been impossible for Marvel’s First Family to appear in the same sandbox of Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man. Now, with Fox’s film studio under Disney’s umbrella, the characters now all belong under the same roof, and it’s only a matter of time until all the Marvel superheroes can appear together on the big screen.

What, you thought it couldn’t get any more packed after Avengers: Endgame?

Spider-Man: Far From Home is in theaters now.

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