So far, no major studio has been able to replicate the interconnectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There have been a few noteworthy attempts, including Star Wars, the Zack Snyder-helmed DCEU, and Universal's Dark Universe, but none has had anywhere near the box-office power.
It turns out that 20th Century Fox also flirted with the idea. Back in 2011, years before the studio was acquired by Disney, Fox apparently wanted a massive crossover film that utilized all the Marvel characters it had the rights to at the time. According to the screenwriter on the project, they even had a script in place, although it obviously never came to fruition.
Speaking with Kevin Smith's Fatman Beyond podcast, Thor and X-Men: First Class screenwriter Zack Stentz spilled some details on the "secret movie" that he and his former partner Ashley Miller wrote but that never came to be.
"I can't tell you what the plot was, but I can tell you that it used all of the characters, all of the Marvel characters that Fox had at the time in 2011," said Stentz. "It used the X-Men. It used the Fantastic Four. It used Daredevil. It used Deadpool."
Stentz continued to say the film had Jason Bourne director Paul Greengrass stationed at the helm, but he ended up taking on a different project, and the crossover was ultimately spiked by the studio. Still, Stentz said that "it was a script I was really proud of, and it would've been really good."
Keep in mind, the MCU was only a few years old at the time, and the handful of films were greeted with mixed reactions. Though it used that time to establish its major characters in their own solo outings before bringing them together for The Avengers in 2012 — a definitive turning point for the franchise.
Still, it would've been interesting to see what Fox could've done had the project moved forward, perhaps even giving the MCU a run for its money.
It's not the only script that Stentz and Miller wrote for the studio they were proud of but that never went anywhere.
In the same interview, Stentz said he and Miller were penning a version of The Fantastic Four that became the 2015 Josh Trank-directed film, which was famously plagued with problems. Their script revolved around how the Fantastic Four were almost the Fantastic Five, before a young Victor Von Doom bowed out of his role to make ... other plans.
"We were supposed to be writing the script for him, but no one told [Trank] that we were doing it," explained Stentz. "So when he officially signed on he was like, 'Why are you imposing these other writers on me? I want to use my own writer. I wanna do my own script.' And he did his version instead."
Stentz also clarified that there's no bad blood between himself and Trank any longer.
Of course, now Disney controls the rights to every character, so their chances of sharing the screen together seem ever more likely — even if it is a few years away, at least. In the meantime, Fox's final X-Men film, Dark Phoenix, will open in theaters next weekend.