Last year’s Fantastic Four film was a box office and critical disappointment, despite an up-and-coming director (Josh Trank) and a talented young cast (Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell). Those involved have offered differing opinions in the months since about what went wrong. In a new interview with ScreenCrush, screenwriter Jeremy Slater (one of three credited screenwriters on the finished film, along with Trank and producer Simon Kinberg) explains what might’ve gone right in his original vision for the film.
Slater’s concept started off similarly to the finished film, starting with a young Reed Richards and Ben Grimm and then showing Reed’s recruitment into the Baxter Foundation and his experiments at trying to reach an alternate dimension (though here it would’ve been called the Negative Zone, like in Marvel comics, rather than the final movie’s “Planet Zero”), which would ultimately grant the foursome their powers. But from there, Slater’s story would’ve gone much bigger and more colorful, featuring several Marvel characters who didn’t make the final movie.
“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,” Slater said. “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. And if you think all of that sounds great…well, yeah, we did, too. The problem was, it would have also been massively, MASSIVELY expensive.”
As of now, there seems to be no plan for an official sequel to Fantastic Four (though Teller recently expressed theoretical interest). In the meantime, fans can dream about what might’ve been.