“Welcome to the Future Foundation. Together, there is nothing we can’t do.” With those words, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four — Marvel’s first family and team of adventurers, explorers, and imaginauts — ushered in a new age: the future. Introduced in 2010’s Fantastic Four #579 by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Neil Edwards, the Future Foundation was Mister Fantastic’s solution to the problems of tomorrow… today. With Marvel Studios’ The Fantastic Four blazing a trail into the Marvel Cinematic Universe on this 4-4 Day, we’re answering the question: What is the Future Foundation?

“I pictured a place where the greatest minds of a generation could come together and not only examine the problems that currently confront us, but also aggressively look into the future… to envision the direction in which humanity should be headed… and boldly steer us there. In essence: to ask — and then answer — the hard questions.”

After resigning from the Singularity — a body of the greatest minds who had grown old and afraid of the future — Reed established the Future Foundation: a think tank of the most brilliant young minds in the universe. Putting the future into the hands of those who would live in it, the Future Foundation would expand humanity’s horizons across the universe — and then the multiverse.

“The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet, but one trillion human beings spanning an entire galaxy. The future of man is not here… it is out there.”

The Future Foundation’s first class included Franklin Richards and his sister, young genius Valeria — the children of Reed and Susan Richards — and Alex Power (of the super-group Power Pack); the holographic thought-projecting mutant Artie Maddicks; Tong, Turg, Korr, and Mik, advanced members of the subterranean race the Moloids; the fish-like Uhari children Vil and Wu; and Dragon Man, a self-aware android and former foe of the Fantastic Four.

After the (temporary) death of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, the Fantastic Four rebranded as the FF. Superhero scientist Spider-Man joined the white-suited team in 2011’s FF #1, and Reed reunited with his time-displaced father, the time traveler Nathaniel Richards, who returned with knowledge from the distant future. Valeria also recruited the Four’s arch-nemesis Doctor Doom to join the new FF.

“Our curriculum will start at survival and end at the edge of eternal tomorrow.”

Future iterations of the team’s roster would eventually include Bentley-23, a teenage clone of the super-genius mad scientist called The Wizard; Onome, a Wakandan engineering prodigy; Alex’s sister, Julie Powers, a.k.a. Lightspeed; and Franklin’s best friend, the power-dampening mutant known as Leech. 

A five-issue Fantastic Four spinoff, 2019’s Future Foundation, assembled the smartest kids in the multiverse as a team of spacefaring future problem-solvers who battled The Maker: the Reed Richards of the Ultimate Universe and a multiversal threat.

Throughout the roster changes, the FF’s mission remains the same: change the world for a better future.

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