Twentieth Century Fox released two Fantastic Four movies to very little fanfare in the 2000s. While both films made the movie studio a substantial amount of box office money, they were also pretty bad movies, as the film franchise took a hiatus in 2007. Fox decided to reboot the film series with a new movie in 2015. The possibility that Fantastic Four might crossover with the X-Men in a shared cinematic universe would lead the movie studio to endless options to maximize profits. It's clear with Fox's approach to the Fantastic Four that this superhero movie will be unlike anything we've seen in the past.
The movie studio hired Josh Trank to direct the new reboot. Trank dazzled genre fans and general audiences with the release of [Chronicle](movie:306438) in 2012. A low-budget found-footage film that re-imagined what could be done with the genre and the format. It's truly a special film, which garnered Trank good faith from Fox and Disney, who recently hired the young director to helm a Star Wars spinoff movie. Trank brought on an interesting cast for [The Fantastic Four](movie:34667) reboot, which also shows off the director's ambition with the property.
Miles Teller was cast to play Dr. Reed Richards, while Jamie Bell to play Ben Grimm AKA The Thing. Michael B. Jordan was also cast to play Johnny Storm, while Kate Mara is set to play his older sister Sue Storm.
Of course, Johnny and Sue Storm are brother and sister, but it's clear that Jordan is African-American, while Mara is Caucasian. I have absolutely no problem with Michael B. Jordan playing Johnny Storm. He's a great actor with charm to spare. Mara, on the other hand, is a bit problematic. Again, Johnny and Sue Storm are siblings, so why not cast Sue Storm as an African-American woman? If Trank wanted to change up the character of Johnny Storm, why not extend that to Sue Storm too? Maybe the story will feature Johnny and Sue Storm as adoptive siblings. Regardless, it really doesn't matter and I'm more than willing to give the Fantastic Four reboot the benefit of the doubt and wait to reserve judgment until I watch the film in 2015. That said, does it matter that the Fantastic Four movie's story isn't based on the comic books?
In an interview with Esquire Latin America (via The Playlist), Kate Mara spoke about the general blueprint of the new reboot film. Apparently, Fantastic Four will not be based on any published versions of the comic book. Mara explained:
“I’ve never been a fan of comics, I’ve never actually read one. I was going to for this movie but the director said it wasn’t necessary. Well, actually he told us that we shouldn’t do it because the plot won’t be based on any history of anything already published. So I chose to follow his instructions. The one fact is I am a fan of comic book movies, so it’s very exciting to be part of a movie like this.”
Let's take two approaches to this premise; one, Josh Trank faithfully adapts the comic book to the new film and audiences get an updated version of the first Fantastic Four movie and Rise of the Silver Surfer, or two, Trank uses the [The Fantastic Four](movie:34667) property to springboard a new and original story. So your options are, the same thing we've seen before, only updated, or something somewhat original. I don't know about you, but the latter sounds more interesting and ambitious.
From Trank's casting, we know that this reboot will not be the same paint-by-numbers movie we've seen time-and-time again. The cast is much younger than the original and clearly more diverse. It's also clear that Josh Trank wants to do something different and that should really be embraced. Of course, the margin of error is greater than the familiar, but if the director sticks the landing, then the reboot's potential for box office and critical success goes up greatly.
We've seen two movies based on the Fantastic Four origins story and the first appearance of the Silver Surfer already. Both movies didn't work, which is why Fox is rebooting the franchise. From J.J. Abrams' Star Trek to Casino Royale to Rise of the Planet of the Apes to Batman Begins, reboots have to have a radical shift to justify something new for general audiences. Part of the reason why The Amazing Spider-Man doesn't work as a reboot is that it feels so familiar. It wasn't enough of a fresh take on the character. It's clear that Fox and Trank want to try something different, so I'm completely okay with the new approach to the Fantastic Four, if that is the case.