Like Tim Burton’s Superman Lives or James Cameron’s Spider-Man, we will never see the true version of Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four. Among the many public problems the film has had in the last couple of weeks (see here, here, here, here, here and here), it was revealed by screenwriter Jeremy Slater that not much of his script was left in the final version. That version we eventually saw was re-written by Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past) at the behest of Fox who worried Slater’s script was too expensive. Well, the chaps over at Birth.Movies.Death got a hold of Slater’s original script – which had Galactus, Mole Man, Herbie the Robot, Fantasticar and Doctor Doom as a Latverian dictator.
Here’s the breakdown:
- As in the final film Reed goes to the Baxter Building as part of a science scholarship; there he meets Sue and Victor Von Doom.
- Victor takes the nerdy Reed to parties, where he meets and falls for Sue, but Victor’s not actually picking up girls at these shindigs – he is secretly feeding Reed’s research to spies from his homeland of Latveria.
- We meet Dr. Harvey Elder, who is creating artificial life in the biolab with Sue – the Moloids.
- The school refuses to let Reed and Victor use their Quantum Gate to enter the Negative Zone, so they break in with Ben Grimm (who is set up as an old friend and enforcer for Reed, though their relationship is strained) and Sue and Johnny stay behind to man the controls on this side of the portal.
- What they find is not the empty broken landscape of the film but rather an alien city. The city is full of skeletons, non-human things that have been killed in some cataclysm. As the team explores the ruins they come upon an amphitheater full of corpses and something else. Something huge, and something wearing battle armor with two blades coming out of either side of its helmet.
- The huge thing – Galactus, for those not in the know – chases the three explorers. He shoots Dark Matter out of his hands, enveloping and seemingly killing Victor. Reed and Ben make it to the module but it’s not working; on the other side of the portal Sue is working feverishly to fix the circuitry that won’t allow the module to return home. Galactus nears as Sue finally fixes the machine, and he blasts the module with Dark Matter – but the Dark Matter hits the Quantum Gate and there’s a reaction and the entire team – the two in the module and the two in the lab – are pelted with some kind of cosmic madness.
- The script jumps head four years. Johnny Storm is a reality TV star (though his ratings are falling), Sue is still in the Baxter Building with Dr. Elder (using her powers to help cancer paitents), Ben Grimm works for the military as a deadly asset, and Reed is hiding in Jakata. He has built himself a Herbie robot and he’s trying to sell his plans for the FantastiCar to Toyota.
- Dr. Elder wants Sue to come work on the Moloid program, but she won’t – she thinks it’ll be weaponised.
- As all of this is happening we cut to Latveria. Using the information Victor fed them, the Latverian government has created their own Quantum Gate. They send a team through and the module returns splattered in blood, containing only one occupant: a Victor Von Doom now made entirely of Dark Matter. He quickly dispatches everyone around him, using shape-changing abilities and shooting electrified razor wire from his hands. Within minutes he has slaughtered Latveria’s ruling elite and taken over the country.
- Back in the US Sue and Ben meet for pizza. Ben’s hiding in a trench coat and a fedora, and he’s telling Sue that he’s basically made his peace with being a monster. What he hates is that Reed abandoned him. Sue, it turns out, has been staying at the Baxter Building because she has been trying to cure Ben, using her cancer research.
- Reed is attacked by thugs called Shock Troopers using futuristic weapons of his own design. He figures this must be Victor and that he must be alive. He tries to call Sue, but gets no answer. He grabs Herbie and jumps in the FantastiCar to head back to the US.
- The Shock Troopers attack the Baxter Building. Johnny happens to be there with a camera crew, trying to get Sue to join him on the show to spike ratings. In the chaos that ensues Dr. Elder gets Moloid juice on him and is transformed into Mole Man, while Shock Troopers inject a Moloid with Dark Matter.
- The script says Sue is like an “Amazonian Warrior” and is just destroying Shock Troopers left and right.
- Reed shows up and the inject Moloid shoots out of the ground. Ben is nearby looking at puppies, and runs over to help.
- The team engage the giant Moloid, as seen on the cover of Fantastic Four number one, in a fight that is both exciting and humorous. Ben gets swallowed and tries to fight his way out; when he finally gets to the Moloids mouth he sees that Reed has slingshotted a bus at the creature and Johnny has set it on fire and it is heading right towards the mouth – and Ben.
- The rest of the script has the team coming together to go to Latveria, now the center of an international incident because Victor has built a giant Dark Energy cannon. He intends to use it to destroy Galactus; it seems that Victor’s only chance at survival in the Negative Zone was to act as Galactus’ herald and help him find a new world to eat – Earth. But Von Doom intends to destroy the Destroyer before that can happen.
- The final battle is in Latveria, but it is revealed the shapeshifting Doom there is just a kind of Doombot; Victor is actually physically attached to the planet in the Negative Zone and has sent tendrils of his being to Earth. The film ends with him trapped in the Negative Zone, the Fantastic Four telling the government Galactus is coming and the retooling of the Baxter Building as their home base and a school for smart kids who can help defeat the coming menace of Galactus.
BMD also mention that, “The team uses their powers in more ways in the script, and Sue especially gets a lot to do. She helps Reed escape from government captivity after the Moloid battle and she’s able to create a force shield that reduces wind resistance on the FantastiCar and allows it to reach incredible speeds. Reed uses his powers to become a living airbag in a crash, he survives a grenade attack, and in the end his biggest contribution to the final fight is Herbie.”
According to the website, Fox didn’t like the script because it was going to cost too much to make, and that it didn’t really fit with Trank’s “gritty and real” vision for the movie. BMD reckons it is the sort of script you could imagine Marvel Studios making, but not Fox.
Fantastic Four sees Josh Trank (Chronicle) directing a cast that includes Miles Teller (Whiplash) as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Kate Mara (House of Cards) as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) as Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, Jamie Bell (Nymphomaniac) as Ben Grimm/The Thing, Toby Kebbell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) as Doctor Doom, Reg E. Cathey (House of Cards) as Dr. Storm, and Tim Blake Nelson (The Incredible Hulk) as Harvey Elder/Mole Man. Listen to the Flickering Myth Podcast review of the movie using the player below: