Whether you liked it or hated it, I think we can all unanimously agree that Fox's recent The Fantastic Four was a behind-the-scenes fiasco! From the reported negative behavior of the director, Josh Trank, to Fox cutting tons of scenes out of the final version of the film, Fantastic Four has a BTS story dramatic enough for a Lifetime unauthorized biopic!
While the film was poorly received, it certainly made its mark on cinema history. Years from now, we'll still be asking questions we may never get the answer to. One such unanswerable question is one that asks: What was the film originally supposed to be?
There's been a mix of rumors, allegations and confirmations regarding the original version of the Fantastic Four film. Josh Trank supposedly had an entire different vision for the film, one that Fox changed. Whether or not this is true has yet to be officially confirmed, but there's no doubt that a lot of stuff was cut from the final version.
Scenes, whole sequences and even characters are missing from the film. This evident by the first trailer for the film, which is nearly full of scenes that never made it into the final cut. But if a recent report is to be believed, there was a lot more than just a few scenes missing; there were whole characters!
Presumably, an early draft of the script has been revealed. This draft, written before the revisions made by writer/producer Simon Kinberg, features a first act similar to the final film—but the similarities stop there!
The early draft features an entirely different story, one full of characters and settings that didn't make it into the final draft. What sort of things were left out? Let's take a look!
Here's a character that everybody was expecting to see in the final cut. Tim Blake Nelson was cast as Harvey Elder, a.k.a Mole Man, and it was assumed that he would be playing the character in the film.
Harvel Elder is a longtime villain of the Fantastic Four, appearing in the superhero team's very first issue in 1961. In the comics, Harvey was an odd-looking, poor-sighted scientist who gained an intense hatred for the world due to constant bullying and ridicule.
After falling into a pit containing the Valley of Diamonds - a blindingly bright diamond cavern - Elder completely lost his eyesight, gaining a radar sense in return. After this traumatic ordeal, Harvey renamed himself Mole Man, and made himself ruler of a large underground kingdom known as Subterranea.
The character of Mole Man is absent from the final version of the film, but Tim Blake Nelson is not. In the film, Nelson plays Harvey Allen, a seedy government official with the intention of profiting off of Reed's dimensional teleporter.
Admittedly, his role as a sinister government official is similar to his original role as Harvey Elder. It's possible that we could see Allen become Mole Man in a future film; but due to spoilerific reasons, it's very unlikely.
In the early draft, Elder would have worked with Sue Storm on an artificial life experiment. While she thinks that the experiment is a beneficial way to better mankind, he obviously only wants to profit from it and use it as a weapon. Eventually, he gets a bit of the experiment on him, causing him to transform into Mole Man.
What dangerous experiment is this? Well, if you're familiar with the history of Mole Man, you already know...
Yes, the Moloids! For those who don't know, Moloids are a species of subterranean, human-like creatures who serve and protect Mole Man. They were created by the Deviants, a species themselves created by the cosmic Celestials.
Much like their blind master however, the film drastically changed their origins. Since the Deviants (presumably) don't exist in the Fantastic Four film universe, the Moloids were changed from that of a sub-species, to a genetic experiment.
This isn't really that big of a change, as they still have their relation and devotion to Mole Man. As for their Gollum-like appearance, it's unknown how they were supposed to look in the film. But the Moloids themselves weren't the biggest thing in the film. In fact, it was one particular Moloid the really shined brighter than the others.
It wouldn't be a science experiment without it ending with the creation of a giant, terrifying monster! That's exactly what happens when a group of thugs known as Shock Troopers - presumably working for Doctor Doom - inject one of the Moloids with Dark Matter (don't worry, we'll talk more about that later on). The matter mutates the Moloid, causing it to grow larger and large in size!
It escapes into the city, where the Fantastic Four battle it, in a scene similar to the cover of Fantastic Four #1. This would've been such an awesome homage to the team's beginnings! The Thing is swallowed by the creature, and is forced to make his way out. Meanwhile, Reed slingshots a bus on fire - courtesy of Johnny Storm - directly at the creature; accidentally flinging it at The Thing as well...
While the giant Moloid certainly wasn't the main villain of the film, it seems that his scene was one of the most important. The reference to the Fantastic Four's first fight was obviously meant to indicate in the film that this was their first time working as a team.
The giant Moloid wasn't the only gigantic F4 villain to be cut out of the film however.
The Negative Zone And Galactus!!
The Negative Zone is an alternate dimension that Reed and the rest of the Fantastic Four (along with Doom) travel to. It's here where they're granted their powers.The Negative Zone sort of makes an appearance in the final version of the film, as Planet Zero. While it's never really explained where Planet Zero is, it's very possible that it lies in the Negative Zone.
The early draft of the film had Reed, Ben and Doom landing on a Negative Zone-like planet as well, but the appearance of it is incredibly different from the final version. Instead of finding a barren, rocky wasteland, Reed and his friends discover an alien city!
Unfortunately, it looks to be a bit unoccupied, with only non-human skeletons remaining in place of the citizens of the planet. Now brace yourself, because this is where things get REALLY freaky! The final version of the film definitely had a horror aspect to it, with the scenes involving the team getting their powers being very suspenseful.
But the early draft featured a scene that would have no doubt been absolutely terrifying! The three explorers journey farther into the city, where they find an amphitheater full of more of the alien skeletons...with something else right in the middle of them. Galactus, the giant consumer of worlds!
Galactus is a humongous entity with a literal hunger for planets! He scours the universe, devouring every planet in his path. It seems that this was the case for the movie version of Galactus in the early draft.
He chases the three explorers, shooting Dark Matter out of his hands. The Dark Matter hits Victor, engulfing and seemingly killing him. Reed and Ben manage to make it back to their teleporting modules; but before they can escape, Galactus fires Dark Matter at them. This causes a reaction between the Dark Matter and the teleporters, causing Reed and the others -including Johnny and Sue, who were on the side of the portal - to get hit by the matter.
So it seems that they all get their powers directly from the planet eater himself. While Galactus is absent from the final version of the film, I wouldn't count him out just yet. Without giving away too much, the planet that they landed on, Planet Zero, acted very lifelike, almost as if it were its own entity. I'm not suggesting that Galactus is the planet, but like Doom, he might have a certain connection to it.
Speaking of Doom; while Victor did make it into the final cut, the early draft of the film had a very different version of the Latverian supervillain.
Doom— Herald Of Galactus?!
That's right, Doctor Doom was apparently going to be taking the role of Silver Surfer in the film! Now, before we get into that, let's take a look at the back story of Doom, as that was drastically changed as well.
Doom is still Latverian, like in the final version, but it's more apparent in the early draft, as he's still in touch with the Latverian people. Another thing more apparent is how much of a bad guy Victor von Doom is, as those people that Doom is so in touch with are Latverian spies!
In the final version of the film, Victor is a bit of a misunderstood character at first. He genuinely cares about the planet, and believes that people - specifically Harvey Allen and the government - are killing it with pollution and war. In the early version however, Victor is not hesitant to use deceitfulness and thievery to get what he wants.
He befriends Reed so that he can feed his research to the Latverian spies, and stays on the project so that he can copy it back in Latveria. Unfortunately, Victor's plans go south when he's engulfed in Dark Matter by Galactus. The matter transforms him into a energy-filled entity, and he becomes the herald of Galactus!
The herald's job is to find suitable planets for Galactus to feast on. The Silver Surfer was the original herald for Galactus in the comics, but it seems that Doom was meant to take his place in the film.
Of course, Doom doesn't plan to play second fiddle for very long! He escapes the Negative Zone thanks to the Latverian Government, who he quickly exterminates. With a whole country at his fingertips, Doom begins his plans to get rid of Galactus and take over the world.
He creates a Dark Energy cannon, which he plans to use to destroy Galactus. Luckily, the Fantastic Four manage to stop him! Although, perhaps it's more unlucky, seeing as how Doom was about to get rid of their biggest threat. This is made evident in the final scene, where the Fantastic Four tells the government that Galactus is coming. Guess you should have let Doom take care of that really quick huh?
The final scene also reveals that the Doom that the F4 defeated was actually a Doombot; the real Doom is still in the Negative Zone, physically attached to the alien planet.
So, that's it for the big parts of the early draft. It's clear that a ton of changes were made. But really, the biggest question is:
Was This Version A Better Film?
To be honest, I'm not so sure. While this version of the film certainly had a whole lot of cool characters, like Mole Man and Galactus, it honestly sounds kind of packed. Previous superhero films have tried to cram as much villains in one film as possible, and they've all failed (Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, etc.).
While having a ton of villains in one film isn't always a bad thing, it's a huge risk. These villains would work better on their own, as the single villain, rather than sharing the spotlight with the others. With Fox reportedly moving ahead with the Fantastic Four franchise, I'm hoping that some- if not all- of this cool early draft's ideas make it on to the big screen!
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