reed richards powers

One little bit of ad copy can have a huge effect on a fanbase. For years, the precise nature of the stretching powers enjoyed (or endured) by Reed Richards has always been one of those things that Marvel Comics were able to explain away with a little jargon-laced pseudo-science. It didn’t really matter precisely how he stretched, for the most part, but it was fun to talk about.

Today, people had less fun talking about the details of the new Fantastic Four movie thanks to a sentence on the film’s official website. That line suggested that Mr. Fantastic’s powers are quite different in the film. But writer/producer Simon Kinberg has spoken up to say that things really aren’t changed, and to insist on one thing: “Reed Richards stretches in this movie.”

According to a blurb on the official site, via Badass Digest, it seems that Reed Richards can’t actually stretch his own body — he can “warp space around him.” To onlookers that makes his body appear to be stretching, though it’s really a space/time trick. Or something like that, anyway.

reed-richards-powers

That led to fans wondering if things are different, or if it’s just the explanation underneath what we see that is changed.

HitFix spoke to Simon Kinberg, who says this all comes down to an effort to come up with a slightly different bit of pseudo-science to explain the character’s stretchy form.

The intent was to try to explain the power with some sort of scientific explanation, but as you pointed out, most of his powers defy what we know about physics. The upshot of it is that he stretches in his movie. That is his power. That’s the simplest explanation.

Kinberg claims he doesn’t even know exactly where the description came from, saying “There are so many materials on movies like this, and not all of it comes from the same source.”

Discussing the fact that we’ve already seen Richards stretching in footage from the film, which should have rendered most of this dust-up moot, the producer says,

And there will be more as more materials come out, certainly. I would say that it is among the harder visual effects to render in a way that feels real and visceral and physical, like we want the powers to feel. But, yeah. He stretches. That’s what he does.

There’s more from Kinberg at HitFix, including a couple comments about the film’s score, which is being written by Philip Glass.

Fantastic Four opens on August 7, 2015.

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