Now, it seems likely that there are some folks out there who loved 2015's Fantastic Four, and who thought that its slow-paced, mildly incoherent running time was an hour and forty minutes well spent... but if they're out there, they've sure been keeping quiet up until now. After all, unlike the recently released Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - both of which received a critical mauling, yet were loved by some fans - it often seems as though no-one liked Fantastic Four.
As it turns out, though, that was almost very much not the case. Y'see:
The Fantastic Four Movie We Almost Saw Last Year Sounds Incredible
Or, at least, the one envisioned by the film's original screenwriter, Jeremy Slater, who recently revealed to ScreenCrush that his version of the script was almost entirely different to the one we eventually saw on the big screen. All that 'hanging around the Baxter Foundation' stuff was still there, but it only took up the first act of the movie, and was, in Slater's words:
"A sort of Hogwarts for nerds: a school filled with young geniuses zipping around on prototype hoverboards and experimenting with anti-gravity and teleportation and artificial lifeforms."
What's more, the 'Four - plus Doom - would still have been sent through a portal, but it would have sent them to The Negative Zone - an iconic setting from the comic-books - where they would have faced off against classic Fantastic Four foe Annihilus. The thing is, though...
The Movie Would Have Gotten Way Crazier From There
Y'see, according to Slater:
"In addition to Annihilus and the Negative Zone, we had Doctor Doom declaring war against the civilized world, the Mole Man unleashing a 60 foot genetically-engineered monster in downtown Manhattan, a commando raid on the Baxter Foundation, a Saving Private Ryan-style finale pitting our heroes against an army of Doombots in war-torn Latveria, and a post-credit teaser featuring Galactus and the Silver Surfer destroying an entire planet. We had monsters and aliens and Fantasticars and a cute spherical H.E.R.B.I.E. robot that was basically BB-8 two years before BB-8 ever existed."
Or, in other words, it would have been like watching the first fifty or so issues of the original Fantastic Four comic-books mashed together into one gloriously insane movie. Heck, the very idea of combining Annihilus (who according to Slater would have essentially been "a pissed-off cybernetic T-Rex")...
...Harvey 'Mole Man' Elder...
...and an army of Doombots...
...not to mention a sneak peek at Galactus and the Silver Surfer...
...is so gloriously 'comic-book-y' that it's actually mildly devastating that it didn't ultimately make it to the screen. Which, of course, raises the big question:
Just Why Didn't We See That Version Of The Movie?
Well, as Slater points out:
"...If you think all of that sounds great...well, yeah, we did, too. The problem was, it would have also been massively, MASSIVELY expensive."
Y'see, after spending six months on his initial script, Slater had no further contact with the film's director Josh Trank or the studio - with only one line of dialog from his version ending up in the final movie (Reed saying "don't blow up" while testing out his home-made teleporter). The studio, meanwhile, was opting for a far more low-budget approach - which ultimately led to the Fantastic Four we saw on our screens last year. Slater, though, is far from bitter, offering up a pretty darned important point:
"Would you spend $300 million on a Fantastic Four film?... Particularly after the previous two films left a fairly bad taste in audiences’ mouths?... It’s understandable that everyone involved would take steps to minimize their risk as much as possible. Unfortunately, those steps probably compromised the film to a fatal degree."
Or, in other words?
We Probably Won't See The Fantastic Four Movie Of Our Dreams Until It's Financially Worth Someone Making It
After all, superhero movies don't exist for the validation of our childhood dreams - or even to prompt us to enjoy ourselves. Instead, they're purely commercial entities - designed with one purpose in mind: To make money. Whether that's through immediate box office takings, ancillary merchandising, or even just the establishing of a brand that will eventually make money, they're always designed with profitability in mind. Even Fantastic Four - which many suspect was a calculated gamble on Fox's part, largely designed to keep the film rights to the team from lapsing and returning to Marvel - was ultimately designed with future income in mind.
Want to know more about the Fantastic Four's future? Check out:
Is A Fantastic Four Sequel On The Cards?
Could 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Send The Fantastic Four To Marvel Studios?
Miles Teller Would Do 'Fantastic Four' Sequel, But Marvel May Not Want Him
A Fantastic Four movie with a $300 million budget, though - one that it would be by no means guaranteed to make back, especially once marketing costs were taken into account? No studio executive is - as things stand - going to see that as a solid investment. And, as such, we're unlikely to see a truly 'big-budget' Fantastic Four film anytime soon...
Unless, of course, Tony Stark (or one of his rich buddies) decides to fund it...
What do you reckon , though?
Would you have liked to have seen the 'alternate' version of last year's Fantastic Four?