Fantastic Four lost a bunch of money following a famously difficult production, rumored reshoots, and a purported “come at me, bro” moment (That Awkward Moment, you might even call it) between director Josh Trank and actor Miles Teller. The film sits at 9 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and sequel plans have been delayed (Fox still holds the rights until 2022), while Josh Trank shouted ‘FLAME ON!’ at every bridge Fox has by tweeting then deleting, “A year ago I had a fantastic version of this. And it would’ve received great reviews. You’ll probably never see it. That’s reality, though.”
There may have been some truth to that, considering the many things that never made the theatrical cut, and Toby Kebbell (who played Doctor Doom) also confirmed it. To delve deeper into what went wrong with Fantastic Four, Screen Crush spoke with the writer of the early scripts, Jeremy Slater, for a lengthy post-mortem on this whole kerfuffle.
Slater is now working on Netflix’s Death Note movie adaptation and Fox’s “The Exorcist” TV series, but before all that he wrote a Fantastic Four script we definitely didn’t see, but it sounds awesome. He told Screen Crush he wrote ten to fifteen different drafts in six months before he was replaced, and his scripts had “lots of humor, lots of heart, lots of spectacle.” In his version, the Baxter Building was like “a sort of Hogwarts for nerds: a school filled with young geniuses zipping around on prototype hoverboards and experimenting with anti-gravity and teleportation and artificial lifeforms.”
While in the Negative Zone, the team runs afoul of Annihilus, described as “a pissed-off cybernetic T-Rex.” So yeah. Hoverboards, anti-gravity, Annihilus, already this movie is sounding so much better. But could it be even more of a dream come true for 12-year-old viewers? Apparently, yes:
“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.” (Via)
That’s a lot for one movie, but none of it made it to the final version of the script. Did anything survive to the final cut? Just one thing, according to Slater: the line of dialogue, “Don’t blow up.” Yes, that’s reportedly the only part they kept, and what we got instead was, well, whatever Fantastic Four was. That’s reality, though.