What do Marvel’s Fantastic Four and NASA’s SpaceX program both have in common? They will make history for expanding the capabilities of space travel.
The Fantastic Four could use a real-life event to create a modern origin. On November 15th, 2020, the long-awaited launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew Dragon space probe happened. The project saw four selected astronauts, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi sent into space for the purpose of scientific research on the International Space Station, which ironically has a great deal in common with the origin of Marvel’s ‘First Family,’ the Fantastic Four. While the chances of the four astronauts returning to Earth (at the conclusion of their six-month scientific journey) with superpowers are slim, SpaceX’s ambitious mission potentially lays the groundwork for Marvel’s famous astronauts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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This year’s successful mission of launching the Crew Dragon has been in the making for over a decade. NASA and Elon Musk’s development of SpaceX was situated in the hopes of advancing human space travel for decades to come – A mission which happens to be the long-term goal of Fantastic Four leader Reed Richards a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic. Reed attempted to revolutionize space travel with his personally designed rocket in 1961’s Fantastic Four #1. Due to the period in which they were published, the original Fantastic Four of the comics serve as a product of the 1960s’ space race. The United States and their rival, Russia’s Soviet Union, were on a collision course to see who would reach the stars first, with the U.S. ultimately declared the victor when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to land on the moon. However, today the climate and the MCU have both shifted to a point where the world is not focused on reaching the moon so much as pushing the envelope in terms of what is possible.
With Marvel’s cinematic interpretation of Earth frequently threatened by hostile alien visitors perhaps more than any other threat, the precedent for getting onto an evening playing field with the larger cosmic society is coming to a head. It would be a natural progression of the universe and characters established that the U.S. government as well as other governments of the world would begin to send their own well-qualified astronauts into space. If the next Thanos is on the horizon, there’s a good bet the powers that be would want to know all they can before any colossal cosmic beings reach home.
While NASA does exist in the MCU, it would be even more intuitive if the Fantastic Four were astronauts for the newly christened space defense agency S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Division), set to officially make its debut in the upcoming Wanda Vision television series. This allows for the team to be naturally ingrained into the larger world prior to their fateful mission into outer space, giving the quasi dated origin a much-needed update.
The Avengers are superheroes born and bred, but the Fantastic Four have always been more science-oriented and focused on exploration from the start. Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, The Thing, and The Human Torch are not only dealing with aliens that want to destroy the planet, but simultaneously working on methods to bridge the gap between Earth and the larger cosmos, through space travel, alternate dimensions, and even time hopping. If there are heroes who can change the future of the human race through a flight to space, it is the Fantastic Four.
Next: Marvel Theory: Mr. Fantastic Will Become The X-Men’s Worst Enemy
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