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Michael Chabon's Fantastic Four: The movie and two comics projects that almost had him write Marvel's first family

Michael Chabon almost wrote Marvel's Fantastic Four three times - twice in comics, and once in movies

Fantastic Four: Life Story #1 cover
Image credit: Daniel Acuna (Marvel Comics)

Some of the greatest comics, movies, and TV shows of all time are prevented by one small word: 'almost.' As a conisseur of these kinds of projects, one that has stuck with me for years - decades now - is the Fantastic Four by Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Michael Chabon.

Over the years, I've discovered at least three occasions where Chabon was in talks to write Marvel's first family. These have persisted in my mind like an old high school crush or that job I almost got, and now I share this information to burn in your mind as well.


And you're welcome.

The Michael Chabon Fantastic Four comic book

X-Men #7 variant cover
Image credit: Paolo Rivera (Marvel Comics)

Back in 2011 on Brevoort's Formspring page, the long-time Marvel editor was asked what was the most memorable talent-signings that Marvel almost made but never happened.

"We came very close at one point to getting Michael Chabon to write Fantastic Four, which would have been extremely cool."

He has seperately mentioned recently his attempts at "trying to woo" Chabon to write the Fantastic Four comic, mentioned he crafted a special version of Marvel's 'No-Prize', renaming it the 'no-Pulitzer" - playing on the fact Chabon won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for fiction with his comics-heavy story The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

While Brevoort has yet to snag Chabon for writing Fantastic Four, the courtship did result in Chabon referring Brevoort to Jonatham Lethem for a partnership which ultimately resulted in the 2005 Omega the Unknown series.

To my knowledge, Brevoort has made a serious effort to sign Chabon twice in the past 20 years for Fantastic Four. Maybe its time for a third?

The Michael Chabon Fantastic Four movie

Fantastic Four by Alex Ross
Image credit: Marvel Entertainment

Way back in 1995, Chabon pitched a Fantastic Four movie to Marvel - just one year after the unreleased Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie was made. Chabon's treatment starts not by saying what the quartet were, but about what they were not.

"The first thing I want to say is that the Fantastic Four are not about Darkness."

His pitch for a Fantastic Four movie is timeless - literally - as its set in modern times, but in a world where it still looks, feels, and acts like its 1963 - the year the team were created.

"In this movie, its "always November 21, 1963. Men still wear hats, kids are into hot rods and spaceships, women have bouffant hairdos and New York City is the vibrant, shiny capital of the Free World. A Technicolor, bossa nova, Douglas Sirk world."

It's only when Doctor Doom discovers it is an anomaly that things go into motion to find the person responsible for this Pleasantville-like scenario, with the Fantastic Four - not knowing the truth - set out to stop him from disrupting their reality.

Where is Michael Chabon now?

While it's been eight years since Chabon's last prose fiction work, Chabon has segued to become a prominent television producer - being the showrunner of Star Trek: Picard for a period, and writing several prospective Hasbro movies based on toy franchises such as M.A.S.K. and Visionaries. He's currenly helping develop Brian Michael Bendis' Jinx comic series into a TV series for Amazon Prime Video as its co-showrunner.

Who knows... after three failed attempts, maybe fourth time's a charm for Michael Chabon on Marvel's Fantastic Four.

Want to know what's coming up next in pop culture? Check out our guides to upcoming movies, upcoming TV shows, upcoming comics, and upcoming comic conventions. If you're looking for specific franchises or genres, we have all the upcoming MCU, upcoming Star Wars, upcoming Star Trek, and upcoming DC movies & TV for you. If you're a fan of superheroes and not specific to just Marvel or DC, we have overall guides to all the upcoming superhero movies and upcoming superhero TV shows (and new seasons) as well.

Chris Arrant

Chris Arrant: Chris Arrant is the Popverse's Editor-in-Chief. He has written about pop culture for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel, Newsarama, CBR, and more. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. (He/him)


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