With the Fantastic Four coming to the MCU soon, Marvel should reflect the current comic book status by introducing Franklin and Valeria Richards.
In December 2020, Marvel Studios finally confirmed that a Fantastic Four movie was in the works from Spider-Man: Far From Home director Jon Watts. While next to nothing is known about the film, it’s obvious that it will finally bring Reed Richards, Ben Grimm and Susan and Johnny Storm to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after years of anticipation. The latest episode of WandaVision may have even teased the origin of the Fantastic Four, being astronauts who went missing after the Blip.
Whatever the cause of the Fantastic Four’s origins may be, it will likely connect to the larger MCU. However, what’s most important about the film is that it shouldn’t just star Ben, Johnny, Susan and Reed. No, Fantastic Four should include the debut of the entire family of superheroes, including Reed and Susan’s children, Franklin and Valeria Richards.
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The Fantastic Four is usually known as a super-powered quartet, but the team’s number doesn’t actually stop at four. In the pages of Marvel Comics, the roster of the Fantastic Four expanded some time ago to include Franklin and Valeria Richards, the children of Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. Both children have powers that are the result of their genetic inheritance — Valeria is super-intelligent and Franklin has cosmic powers that have led him to be compared to a god — and are some of the most powerful super-powered characters in the Marvel Universe.
Throughout the years, Franklin and Valeria have grown, from being children that hamstring the team to teenage powerhouses. With the two of them on the team, the Fantastic Four are more complete, more powerful and they are even more of a family than they were when they were first introduced. While it’s unclear how the Fantastic Four will factor into the MCU, there it’s possible that Marvel Studios will forego the usual origin story film to introduce the characters as already established superheroes. If that’s the case, then the film could debut Franklin and Valeria as young members of the team.
This scenario would allow this version of the team to immediately set itself apart from previous cinematic interpretations and, more importantly, would widen the scope of their potential. With Franklin and Valeria onboard, Marvel Studios could set up plenty of storylines that have occurred in the comics in the past several years, from Jonathan Hickman’s 2009-2012 Fantastic Four run illustrated by the likes of Dale Eaglesham, Neil Edwards and Steve Epting to Dan Slott’s currently unfolding series, illustrated by Sara Pichelli, R.B. Silva, among others.
On top of that, introducing Franklin and Valeria Richards as superhero children would appeal to families everywhere. Their presence on the team would make the Fantastic Four’s theme of unity and family deeper, and it would also tie into something else Marvel appears to be building in Phases 4 and 5 of the MCU. The studio is starting to build up to the introduction of the Young Avengers, with Cassie Lang, Kate Bishop, Riri Williams and Kamala Khan all set to become important in the MCU in the next few years, and that’s without mentioning the debut of Speed and Wiccan in WandaVision.
Marvel Studios is clearly setting up its next generation of superheroes, and Franklin and Valeria Richards could both become part of it. If introduced relatively young, the characters could grow up on the screen through multiple films, just as they did in the comics. The Fantastic Four title hasn’t just been about Ben, Reed, Johnny and Susan for a long time, so it’s high time the movie version took the same approach.
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