Marvel Finally Confirms Fantastic Four's Alternate History Timeline

Remember the ‘60s? No, the other ‘60s.

Marvel Studios
Marvel Universe

The Marvel Cinematic Universe, despite all the allegations of being formulaic, can pivot on a dime. We’ve seen Marvel’s familiar story beats morph into espionage thrillers, comedies, time travel adventures, and even horror. But even after a decade of experimentation, there are still movie genres it hasn’t touched.

With the hotly anticipated Fantastic Four, one of those genres — the period piece — could finally be conquered. In a new podcast, Marvel President Kevin Feige revealed that not only will Fantastic Four be set in the past, but it will be set in a completely different past.

On the first episode of the brand new Official Marvel Podcast, Feige was asked if Fantastic Four was a period piece. He responded with a straightforward “Yes,” but that wasn’t the only big reveal, as there’s been a massive plot twist hiding in plain sight.

“There’s another piece of art we released with Johnny Storm flying in the air and making a four, and there was a cityscape in the corner of that image,” he said. “There were a lot of smart people who noticed that cityscape didn’t exactly look like the New York we know or the New York that existed back then, and those are smart observations.”

That’s one retro-futuristic-looking cityscape.

Marvel Studios

In case that wasn’t clear enough, Feige is pointing out that the skyline seen in the image suggests we’re looking at an alternate version of 1960s New York. So while Fantastic Four will apparently be set in the 1960s, it seems these ‘60s won’t be like the 1960s of our world, or even the ‘60s that we’ve seen in MCU flashbacks. This means Fantastic Four won’t just be a period story but an alternate history story, one that shows a retro-futuristic world where superheroes save the day and come home to a household robot. That’s a fun, upbeat setting that should make for a nice change of pace. More importantly, it will also explain how the Fantastic Four could have been a superhero team in the ‘60s while having zero impact in the MCU as we know it.

After 16 years of movies and TV shows, the MCU’s superhero landscape is pretty much set in stone. The only way for new superheroes to exist is to either gain their powers in the franchise’s present or to circumnavigate the space-time continuum, and that’s exactly what this movie is doing. Marvel is giving one of its most important superhero teams a fresh slate, with none of the tangled strings of MCU timeline canon holding them back.

Fantastic Four hits theaters on July 25, 2025.

Related Tags