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Fantastic Four Actor Michael Chiklis Has A Word Of Advice For The MCU Reboot

Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe dominated the movie landscape under the auspices of Disney, several Marvel Comics greats found homes at such studios as Sony, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, and Universal. In time, Disney found a way to bring the characters from those studios — including Spider-Man from Sony, the triumvirate of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America from Paramount, and the Hulk from Universal — under one umbrella either through special arrangements ... or in the case of Fox, by acquiring the studio and its massive catalogue, including the "X-Men" and "Fantastic Four" franchises.

The Fantastic Four have had a varying degree of success for Fox, as the 2005 adaptation of the so-called "First Family of Superheroes" earned $333.5 million against a $100 million production budget (via Box Office Mojo). Its 2007 sequel, "Rise of the Silver Surfer," didn't fare as well, but still earned $302 million against a $130 million budget (via Box Office Mojo). The "Fantastic Four" reboot in 2015 (marketed as "Fant4stic") was far less profitable than its predecessors, taking in $167 million globally after Fox stuck $120 million into the film's production. 

One of the biggest creative differences between the first two films and the reboot was the use of CGI to create the rockpile of a character known as Ben Grimm, aka the Thing. In the earlier movies, Grimm's unique physique was created through the use of make-up, wardrobe, and practical effects applied to Michael Chiklis. Now, with the franchise under the ownership of Disney and Marvel Studios, the characters are certain to make a comeback, with an MCU Fantastic Four reboot already in the works. And when this happens, Chiklis has some words of wisdom about which route Marvel should take.

Chiklis favors CGI and a lighter tone for a Fantastic Four reboot

Speaking with Screen Rant for his latest project — the new HBO Max series "Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty" — Chiklis had some specific advice for the filmmakers who take the helm of the next "Fantastic Four" film, currently set to be directed by Jon Watts ("Spider-Man: No Way Home"). 

To begin with, he seems to favor a more modern approach to the Thing, when it comes to building the "foundation" of the character again for the big screen: "Go CGI if you can," Chiklis said with a laugh, adding, "Wardrobe was something else, but it was still a pretty amazing experience."

Perhaps more importantly, Chiklis was adamant that the tone of any new version of "Fantastic Four" had to be on the lighter side. This was the case in both 2005 and 2007 films, but not so much in the 2015 version, which tried to recreate the characters in a dark, gritty, "body horror" fashion that evidently fell flat with audiences. "Just understand," Chiklis said, "the real tone and tenor of 'The Fantastic Four' is as we did it. It's not meant to be dark and brooding. It's never going to be 'The Dark Knight.' Don't try to make it that. Don't expect it to be that." 

Chiklis advised. "The Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thing was from Brooklyn, and he was a Dodgers fan. They were a sweet family and that's the way it's meant to be. It wasn't meant to be hardcore and dark and brooding. Try to make it that, you will fail."

"Winning Time," which stars as famed Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach, debuts on HBO Max March 6. The MCU "Fantastic Four" reboot is in development, but a release date has not yet been announced.