Fantastic Four script

There will be questions about Fantastic Four for years to come: what happened, what could the film have been, what comes next? We don’t have all the answers now, but even as we hear some of the stories behind scenes that were cut from the film, there’s talk of early material that was trimmed long before the movie got to the production stage. At one point, the 2015 film featured not only Doctor Doom, but more of the FF’s classic villains, like Galactus and the Mole Man.

A breakdown of an early script draft is online, and while much of this draft was destined to be cut before the film got out of the development phase, it’s interesting to see what the early ambitions were for the movie. 

Birth.Movies.Death has a breakdown of one of the early drafts of the Fantastic Four script, and it included some great ideas. Take the following as only a suggestion of what could have happened, as this is clearly an early draft, far from being something that would have been shot.

  • More character development, which was probably the most significant omission from the final film. There are scenes showing the development of a real friendship between Reed Richards and Ben Grimm, which are very important. Ben helps Reed fend off bullies, establishing a relationship that will make later beats work, but when Reed devotes himself to his research at the Baxter Building, Ben is left alone, and eventually enlists in the army. (Echoing some of his comic book history as a Korean War veteran.)
  • Victor Von Doom sets up sort of a friendship with Reed Richards, but is also stealing his secrets to send home to Latveria.
  • Tim Blake Nelson’s character, who is named Dr. Allen in the final film, was originally Dr. Harvey Elder, aka the Mole Man, and he develops creatures that will become important to him later on, and dangerous to the other characters.
  • The area called Planet Zero in the final film is the Negative Zone, and it is dominated by a ruined city in which lives Galactus. An attack from Galactus is directly responsible for the team’s transformation into super-powered beings, which is a really interesting twist on the classic FF origin.
  • The time jump takes up four years, and puts Johnny Storm in the public eye as a (now fading) reality TV star. Sue Storm works at the Baxter Building, Ben Grimm works with the military, and as in the final film, Reed is in hiding. Here we see that Reed has built a robot assistant for himself — Herbie — aka H.E.R.B.I.E. (Humanoid Experimental Robot, B-type, Integrated Electronics), the character which replaced the Human Torch in one animated series. Oh, and and he’s designed the Fantasticar, too.

This is a point where the old script nearly converges with the eventual movie, as scenes were shot featuring the Fantasticar. There’s a great .GIF from ScreenCrush showing a bit of B-roll that features a version of the Fantasticar:

fantasticar-1

At this point in the final film we’re already pretty close to the end. But in the script there’s a lot more material to cover — a battle with one of the Mole Man’s creations that echoes the cover of Fantastic Four #1, more intrigue between Sue and Johnny and the team as a whole, and a plot that features more scenes from Galactus and the eventual Doctor Doom.

It’s probably futile to imagine how some of this script could have looked on screen because it seems to be an early draft that was never likely to be shot — it’s a starting point from which to refine the movie. But what does seem to be there is a playfulness that isn’t in the movie, and a greater fidelity to the comics. There’s actually a team, and a more powerful and active Sue Storm, some comedy, and a lot of action that puts each character’s powers to work.

You can read the full rundown at the original link, and wonder what Fox will do next.

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