Long before anyone knew how bad Fantastic Four really was (currently at 9% on Rotten Tomatoes), Fox had floated the idea of an X-Men vs. Fantastic Four movie, or at least some crossover event featuring the superheroes from both teams. X-Men: Apocalypse director Bryan Singer even commented, saying, “Those ideas are in play. That would be a natural match-up because they’re both ensemble films and there is a natural mechanism by which to do it.” Hey, it worked for Marvel and DC, right? Well, know that Fox knows they have a stinker on their hands, those plans might be completely done.

Fantastic Four producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker responded to a Daily News report on a potential crossover in a joint e-mail indicating that the two superhero franchises don’t even exist in the same world.

They exist in parallel universes. The Fantastic 4 live in a world without mutants. And the X-Men live in a world without the Fantastic 4.

Which would seem to preclude any notion of the two sides getting together to battle either each other, or a greater enemy. Especially considering that the Fantastic Four exist in modern day and the current X-Men universe is still in the 1980s. And yet...

Stuff like parallel universes have never stopped anyone in the comics from getting together. Heck, there have been major Marvel vs. DC crossover events and those universes are as far apart as any universes can be. If Fox really wanted to get these two franchises together into one movie, they’d come up with some way to figure it out. After all, didn’t Reed Richards just create an interdimensional portal? Can’t they just get zapped through time and space, to show up and help the X-Men defeat a Skrull invasion or something?

They key part of that last paragraph though is “if Fox really wanted to get these two franchises together”. That’s the real question. Fox had been thinking of these plans before they had any real insight as to how poorly the Fantastic Four movie would be received. Can you really make a sequel or spinoff to a movie that only has a 9% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Catwoman has a 9% and they’re still blaming that movie 10 years later for why we don’t have any female superheroes. This “parallel universe” talk might just be a creative way to get out of a potential spinoff without having to admit defeat.

The problem is that Fox has to do something with the Fantastic Four, or they risk losing the rights back to Marvel, not unlike how Daredevil, Punisher and Ghost Rider all reverted back to Marvel Studios. They question, also, is whether or not Fox is totally OK with that at this point.