‘Fantastic Four’ obviously flopped, but as we all know, it was terribly embattled behind-the-scenes as lack of communication among other factors derailed the film and among the reasons that may have cursed the project was budget. Apparently, Fox Studios didn’t give director Josh Trank any budgetary limitations in the beginning, therefore the initial script, from Jeremy Slater, shot for the moon. Scratch that, BEYOND the moon and would have introduced the Devourer of Worlds Galactus.
Galactus was kind of used in 2007’s Tim Story-directed ‘Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,’ but it was more closely based on the ‘Ultimate’ version and appeared as an ominous cloud in space. Slater’s version would have hewed closer to the purple-clad giant designed by Jack Kirby in the classic comics from the 1960s and he would have been the major threat in the movie.
But that’s not all! In the original script, Doctor Doom would have fallen more in line with how he is depicted in the comics. He begins as a Latverian agent secretly working for his government as a covert agent working with Reed and the rest before they become Fantastic. Once again, however, Doom becomes super powered and uses his new abilities to take over his homeland’s government.
In the final movie, Tim Blake Nelson played Dr. Allen, but the original script called for him to adopt a comic based role, the Mole Man. And all three villains would have tied together in the final conflict.
Here are some highlights from the initial script:
- 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.
- In the script the Quantum Gate is very much that – a rip in space through which a module is passed on a big hydraulic arm.
- 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 ahead four years. Johnny Storm is a reality show star, although his show is dipping in the ratings. Sue is still at the Baxter Building, and she’s using her invisibility powers to look inside of patients suffering from serious cancers. Dr. Elder wants her to come work on the Moloid program, but Sue won’t – she thinks it’ll be weaponized.
- 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.
- At the same time thugs – called Shock Troopers in the script – assault the Baxter Building. 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.
- Sue and Johnny stop the Shock Troopers when Reed shows up too late to warn them. But not too late to see that injected Moloid, now giant, burst out of the ground. Ben, who happens to be nearby looking at puppies in a pet shop window, hears the commotion and runs over. 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.
- 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.
Ultimately, Fox balked at the investment that this movie would have required to bring all that CGI to life and brought in Simon Kinberg to strip the script down to something manageable on the budget which wound up being about $122 million. Now it seems like Fox will be lucky if they make that back on this turkey.
Would a larger budget to allow for a more comic-based story have helped entice viewers? Or is ‘Fantastic Four’ just not that marketable a concept? The first two attempts did okay, but weren’t blockbusters or particularly well-liked and the comic book hasn’t been a great seller in ages. This team ushered in the Marvel Universe, but is it time to let the other, more consistently popular characters have the spotlight?
Source: Comic Book Movie