It’s hard to think of a Hollywood movie in recent memory that was a failure quite as immense as Fox’s attempted Fantastic Four reboot was last year, and what made it hurt even more, was how promising the movie had not only seemed on paper with a great cast and creative team behind-the-scenes, but also in the initial stages of development. Thanks to some well-known studio intervention and a director leading the ship, who from the sounds of it couldn’t quite handle the pressure though, the movie ended up being one of the worst mistakes in the comic book genre’s history.
ScreenCrush recently posted a large editorial autopsy examining the film yesterday as well, which is worth a read just for the amount of detail and insight into the film it gives, but the article also features an interview with Jeremy Slater, who worked on the initial drafts of the script before Josh Trank or Simon Kinberg even came on board for it.
Slater gives a whole lot of information on what the original vision for the movie had been (spoiler alert – it was a lot different, and sounded a lot better), but here’s where he describes all of the big moments that were cut from the final version of the film:
In addition to Annihilus and the Negative Zone, we had Doctor Doom declaring war against the civilized world, the Mole Man unleashing a 60 foot genetically-engineered monster in downtown Manhattan, a commando raid on the Baxter Foundation, a Saving Private Ryan-style finale pitting our heroes against an army of Doombots in war-torn Latveria, and a post-credit teaser featuring Galactus and the Silver Surfer destroying an entire planet. We had monsters and aliens and Fantasticars and a cute spherical H.E.R.B.I.E. robot that was basically BB-8 two years before BB-8 ever existed. And if you think all of that sounds great…well, yeah, we did, too. The problem was, it would have also been massively, MASSIVELY expensive.
In addition, Slater said that where the theatrical version of the movie took the entire run time basically to tell its story, the trip to the Negative Zone, Doom’s apparent death at the hands of Annihilus, the Four receiving their powers and the return of Doom all happened within the first 45 pages of the original script, with “lots of humor, lots of heart, lots of spectacle,” as opposed to Trank’s gritty and grounded approach.
Unfortunately, the studio ended up going with Trank’s vision for the film, and it sounds like everything was downhill from there. Based on Slater’s description of the film, and the apparent differences in tone and heart too, I imagine both fans and critics might have been much more receptive to what Fantastic Four was originally supposed to be, as opposed to what it ended up being. Oh well.
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