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The Real Reason You Can't Watch This Marvel Movie On Disney Anymore

When the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched with "Iron Man" in 2008, it became very clear that comic book films were never going to be the same.

However, as any fan of the genre knows, Marvel has had a long history of bringing its characters to the big screen, starting, surprisingly, with "Howard the Duck" in 1986 (other, better-known superheroes had formally only been brought to television, at that time). When Disney bought Marvel for $4 billion in 2009, as reported by CNN, the formally strapped-for-cash Marvel Studios suddenly had the resources of one of the world's largest media conglomerates, leading the MCU to the level of quality and entertainment we know and love today. 

Yet the acquisition wasn't entirely cut-and-dry when the deal was closed in 2009. Certain Marvel properties were still owned by 21st Century Fox, most notably, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. Disney wouldn't have access to these characters until the company purchased Fox in March 2019 for a staggering $71.3 billion. Getting the X-Men and Fantastic Four was a huge win for Disney, as well as for fans eager to see the characters join the MCU. It also meant that all the previous "X-Men" and "Fantastic Four" films would be available on Disney+ when it launched in November 2019. However, in the ever-changing word of intellectual property ownership and streaming rights, not all of the films would be around to stay on the platform.

And in August 2021, eagle-eyed fans noticed that 2005's "Fantastic Four" had been quietly removed from Disney+. Why?

2005's Fantastic Four has left Disney+

"Fantastic Four," released in 2005, was panned by critics, with an unfortunate 27% Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Starring Chris Evans in his first superhero role as Johnny Storm, along with Jessica Alba as Sue Storm, Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards, and Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm, "Fantastic Four" had been long-awaited by fans of the comics, but largely perceived as not quite hitting the mark — particularly when it came to the film's disappointing depiction of iconic Marvel villain Doctor Doom. Still, even with this poor critical response, the modestly favorable fan reception made it a financial success, as it grossed a respectable $333 million worldwide against a $100 million budget, via Box Office Mojo. The profit margin was good enough for Fox to greenlight a sequel, "Rise of the Silver Surfer," but this second installment didn't fare much better with critics, holding a 37% Tomatometer rating ... though it also did reasonably well at the box office, grossing nearly $302 million worldwide, via Box Office Mojo.

Now, here's the strange part: "Rise of the Silver Surfer" is still available on Disney+. The 2015 reboot of "Fantastic Four" starring another future MCU star, Michael B. Jordan, is also available on the platform, living as part of what Disney calls the "Marvel Legacy Collection," alongside the Fox X-Men films. Now that the 2005 film has disappeared, though, will these movies also be leaving Disney+?

All Marvel films will likely be available on Disney+ ... eventually

With contracts and deals ever-changing in the industry, we can't know for sure, but we think it's likely that every Marvel movie ever made will eventually find a forever home on Disney+. There's probably some dense contractual reason why the 2005 "Fantastic Four" has disappeared, but it will probably find its way back to the streamer after, most likely, a visit or two on other platforms (for instance, via What's On Disney Plus, the film's current new home is Peacock, of all places). After all, the company is eager to make Disney synonymous with all things Marvel, furthering demonstrating their commitment with a partnership forged with Sony in 2016. When Spider-Man joined in the MCU in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War," it was a huge deal — Sony owned the rights to Peter Parker and all related characters, but was essentially "leasing" the character to Marvel's creative team, while keeping most of the profits. In April 2021, the companies furthered the deal, ensuring that Tom Holland's "Spider-Man" films would soon be available on Disney+, after previously being available only on Netflix. 

Spider-Man fully joining the MCU was a long time coming, and fans are equally as excited to see the X-Men and Fantastic Four stake their claim in the universe. 

A MCU Fantastic Four film is on its way

Meanwhile, while you can trust that the 2005 "Fantastic Four" film will reappear on Disney+ at some undetermined point in the future, MCU fans should brace themselves for the heroes to make a big comeback. An MCU Fantastic Four project is in the works, and "Spiderman: Homecoming," "Far From Home," and "No Way Home" director Jon Watts is slated to direct. It's likely the film will be hitting the screen sometime in 2023, but no further information is yet available.

That, of course, hasn't stopped fans from speculating. Many Marvel devotees are dead-set on John Krasinski joining the universe as Reed Richards, with his real-life wife Emily Blunt as Sue Storm. Both actors have clarified they have not spoken with the studio about roles, and Marvel hasn't released any information about casting. That said, the studio is laying the groundwork for the Fantastic Four's arrival. We met a variant of Kang the Conquerer (Jonathan Majors) named He Who Remains in the "Loki" finale, and as comic fans know, Kang is the descendant of that famous superhero couple. Kang is already set to appear — as Kang this time — in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania."

In the meantime, while you wait for the MCU Fantastic Four to make their arrival — and for the 2005 incarnation to return to Disney+ — you can still rewatch "Rise of the Silver Surfer" anytime you want.