One phrase we can all relate to at one point (or many points) in our lives is the phrase “what could’ve been“. For a studio like 20th Century Fox, they’re suffering major financial losses for a what could’ve been successful third attempt at making a Fantastic Four film. I say that because a detailed summary of the original script for the film (currently in theaters) has made its way online.
Devin Faraci over at Birth.Movies.Death has a entire rundown on an early draft of the film, which is totally different than the current film. Written by Jeremy Slater, who was brought on board to pen the script, prior to Josh Trank signing on. Soon after, Simon Kinberg was brought it for re-writes with Trank, possibly due to the budget adjustment and the studio cutting out major sets. Chances are you probably know the rest of the story.
The folks at Collider wrote up highlights of that script, which I’d like to share with those who’ve seen the film. This contains spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen Fantastic Four.
From a script by Jeremy Slater
- Reed and Ben are friends from a young age, just like in the finished film, but the script emphasizes the fact that Ben acts as Reed’s enforcer, which explains why he wants to bring him along on the ride to the other dimension.
- Reed still goes to the Baxter Building as part of a scholarship, but he meets and falls for Sue Storm. Victor also takes Reed around to parties, but is secretly feeding Reed’s research to spies from his Latverian homeland.
- Sue and Johnny’s father doesn’t factor into the initial script. Instead, the school refuses to allow Reed and Victor to use the “Quantum Gate” so they go to it alone at night. Sue and Johnny stay behind and man the portal from Earth while Reed, Victor, and Ben make the trip, with Reed promising Ben he can be the first human to step foot on the other side. Once they’ve made it, Doom shoves Ben aside and ensures he’s the first human to walk on this unknown planet.
- The “Negative Zone”, as it’s called, isn’t an empty wasteland, but is instead an alien civilization in ruins full of skeletons. They stumble upon one living thing: Galactus. The villain shoots Dark Matter out of his hands, enveloping and seemingly killing Doom. The others just barely make the return trip home, but Dark Matter is shot into the Quantum Gate, transforming the quartet.
- At this point the script hews close to the film, as it hinges on the body horror aspect of the immediate aftermath before jumping ahead four years in time.
- After the time jump, Johnny is a reality TV show star, Sue is still working at the Baxter Building doing research into cancer treatment—and secretly trying to cure Ben—and Ben is a deadly asset for the military. Reed is in hiding in Jakarta, blaming himself for the accident. But he’s also built a Herbie robot and is trying to sell the FantastiCar to Toyota.
- In Latveria, the spies have completed their own Quantum Gate, but it heralds the arrival of a Victor Von Doom made entirely of Dark Matter. He subsequently takes over the country and begins a reign of terror.
- One of the big action sequences is the Fantastic Four battling a giant Moloid in New York City, with humorous beats such as Ben being swallowed by the creature. Dr. Elder gets Moloid juice on him and becomes Mole Man.
- The film concludes with a giant battle in Latveria against the shapeshifting Doom, who ultimately ends up being trapped in the Negative Zone as the Fantastic Four warn the government that Galactus is coming, setting up the sequel.
Like many others, I agree this would’ve made for a more expensive film, but also a more entertaining one. Had the last two points actually made it into the final film, would’ve doubled the amount of action. Taking Sue and Johnny’s father out of the script gives more time between the four main characters, which would’ve helped the chemistry issues between them. Its somewhat depressing when looking at how much of a mess this film ended up being.
This is suppose to be the “Golden Age” of comic book films, but Fantastic Four is a reminder that not every film with a Marvel label means box office success. The quality of films in this genre continues to grow, and audiences don’t want to be sent back 10 years ago.
Lastly, I’ll just mention once again that if Fox does continue to move forward with their proposed connected universe between X-Men and Fantastic Four, they need to bring back Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Toby Kebbell, and Jamie Bell. Give them another shot by putting them together with the X-Men and push back that announced sequel a couple years.
Anyways, what from this original script would you have liked to seen in the final film? Also, if you haven’t seen the B-Roll footage released recently, you can see it below.