The most recent attempt to make a Fantastic Four movie was, to put it bluntly, a train wreck. It was a huge bomb that made little sense to fans of the comics, movies, or really, storytelling in general. We’re not sure that there was a chance that Fantastic Four would ever have been great, however, it does appear there was at least a chance it was going to be absolutely bananas. The movie had a lot of things planned that never made the final cut, mostly because they would have cost way too much.
Fantastic Four wasn’t a terrible idea out of the gate. It had a solid cast of actors and a director, Josh Trank, who was coming off a critically acclaimed film. Yet, almost from the beginning, it appeared that there was something wrong there. Screen Crush has done a complete post-mortem on the film and has come out with some very interesting information. Not the least of which, is the fact that the film had plans to add all sorts of crazy things that never made it in because they were too expensive. Writer Jeremy Slater told them that the initial draft of the film was much lighter in tone than what ended up on screen. The initial version would have also had the heroes travel to the Negative Zone, not Planet Zero, and fight a “pissed off cybernetic T-Rex” named Annihilus. After that, things go nuts.
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.
There appear to be a couple of reasons why we never saw anything above take place. One is that Josh Trank was much more interested in a realistic take on the Fantastic Four than the, obviously, wild one in this version of the script. The other, as Jeremy Slater says, is that this would have been incredibly expensive. With the two previous Fantastic Four movies being generally looked down upon, the fact was that Fox wasn’t going to risk a huge budget on the project. This, of course, impacted what we did get on screen as well.
We’re not convinced that getting this version of the Fantastic Four would have made it a good movie, but it certainly would have made it an interesting one. There’s so much going on there that it’s hard to figure out how it all would have held together. Still, it would have likely made the movie quite the superhero spectacle, something the original certainly was not.
What do you think of this version of Fantastic Four? Would this have been worth the extra budget to make happen or was this movie doomed from the beginning?