Not many Marvel fans know this, but prior to Tim Story directing Fox’s Fantastic Four movies in the mid-2000s Peyton Reed was in the running. Unfortunately, Fox didn’t like his idea for the movie when it’s actually really cool and is now the perfect way to introduce them into the MCU.
Film School Rejects ran an interview with Peyton Reed back in 2015 when the first Ant-Man was coming out, and he explained how he would’ve done it as a period piece set in the 60s:
“Visually, one of the things we always talked about – and this was 2003 – was The Fantastic Four as daytime superheroes. They don’t have secret identities. They’re very much a part of the fabric of Manhattan. In that universe, if you go to New York to the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty or the Baxter Building, it was all a part of that. We talked about it being a ’60s period movie, but Fox at the time was not into it.”
“We wanted to do a structure that was like A Hard Day’s Night,” he explains. “At the beginning of a working day in Manhattan, you’re in line at Starbucks and someone runs in, ‘Hey, the Fantastic Four is fighting right around the corner!’ People run out of Starbucks and the camera flies around the corner to this splash page imagery, where the Human Torch is flying, The Thing is fighting, and it’s just chaos. Really, Joss’ first Avengers movie had that feel – it’s broad daylight. There was a time when you just didn’t have the technology, so a lot of those fights took place at night. We thought having it take place in the city during the day would’ve been a lot of fun. They were kind of modern celebrities. There were a lot of different versions of it, but that was a movie I really wanted to make.”
Now that Marvel is poised to regain the rights to Fantastic Four in the near future, perhaps they could revisit this idea. Have the movie set in the 60s, but trap the team in the Negative Zone or something until they emerge in present day.