Anghus Houvouras with a call to #ReleaseTheTrankCut…
In 2017 Justice League was released into theaters. ‘Released’ like a synthetic virus engineered to numb your senses and lull you into a state of catatonia. Ever since Joss Whedon took a dull hatchet to Zack Snyder’s original gonzo vision for Justice League, fans have been clamoring to see ‘The Snyder Cut’ of the movie.
We’ve gotten glimpses into what Snyder’s original vision thanks to a steady stream of behind the scenes images and endless conversations about the topic. The internet’s appetite for the Snyder Cut and every mention of it has become an obsession for fans eager to see the original version of Justice League.
Justice League isn’t the only superhero movie with a compromised theatrical release. In 2015 Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot was released, but only after 20th Century Fox molested his original vision and released a heavily re-shot version of his Cronenberg-inspired take on Marvel’s super-powered foursome. The reviews were brutal and the audience reaction anaemic. Trank briefly tweeted about his cut of Fantastic Four just before release:
I’ve always been curious about Trank’s version of Fantastic Four. Did it lean more heavily into the body-horror elements? What did the final act look like before the studio turned it into another laser-beam in the sky, world-ending scenario taken right out of the generic superhero trope trunk. I’m not willing to say that Trank’s Fantastic Four was a good movie. I did, however, see the potential for the direction he was interested in exploring. Surely his original vision for the film is better than the hacked-to-death version dumped into theaters like a rotting carcass.
Based on my research, which involved typing words into a Google search bar, I’m fairly certain there’s a near-completed version of ‘The Trank Cut’ of Fantastic Four. And I believe it’s time to use the power of social media to start a campaign designed to force 20th Century Fox aka Disney to #ReleaseTheTrankCut.
This fire requires fuel. First up, we’re going to need out-of-focus behind the scenes images from people who worked on the film. The kind that give you a context-free look into elements not included in the theatrical release and allow websites to wildly speculate for months about what exactly we’re looking at. Next, we’re going to need production art from the original script. We’ve already seen snippets of this online, but in order to make #ReleaseTheTrankCut a thing, we need a steady trickle. Something that can grab the zeitgeist for a couple of hours while people wait for the next bit of information regarding the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Josh Trank also needs to get involved. Not directly, mind you. He just needs to work in the random social media post about #TheTrankCut without ever saying anything. A screen-capture of the original edit here. A storyboard or pre-vis screenshot there. The key to any good fan movement isn’t just laying out the entire story of the differences, but laying out a trail of breadcrumbs for fans to follow. To quote Sarah McLaughlin, it’s all about ‘Building a mystery’. The mystery of the unreleased version will always be more interesting than the actual movie itself.
If things really take off, we can start an IndieGoGo campaign and put up some posters and billboards at the 2020 San Diego Comic-Con to let people know how serious we are. We can print T-shirts with the #ReleaseTheTrankCut logo and act incredibly sanctimonious about how we want to preserve the artistic vision of filmmakers right before we attend a panel in Hall H for whatever bland superhero adaptation is being hawked. Then we can throw a party and get blackout drunk to recreate what the experience of watching the theatrical release of Justice League and Fantastic Four felt like.
You’re a film fan. It’s your responsibility to declare your superiority to others by acknowledging perceived artist injustices. So get online and get crackin’.