The news that a screenplay goes through multiple drafts is nothing new. Screenwriting is already hard, but when writing a big screen action superhero movie, there are so many channels to go through and people to answer to, it’s an almost impossible mine field to navigate.
So the thought that the most recent Fantastic Four film, out from Fox Studios in 2015, went through over twenty drafts and still came out the way it did should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone. However, the screenwriter, Jeremy Slater, is now talking about his personal drafts of the script and what he had originally included and, honestly, it sounds exactly like the film all us Marvel fans were hoping for.
As he tells Screen Crush, his screenplay opened the exact same way as the film, seeing Reed Richards (Miles Teller) and Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) as children, with Reed eventually recruited by the Baxter Foundation. The Baxter Foundation was originally seen as “a sort of Hogwarts for nerds: a school filled with young geniuses zipping around on prototype hover boards and experimenting with anti-gravity and teleportation and artificial lifeforms.”
Reed then goes on to have a friendship with a young Victor Von Doom, a “damaged young Latverian scientist” and he “slowly seduced Reed into bending the rules,” which was not good for his relationship with Ben Grimm.
However, it goes even crazier than THAT —
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. 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.
Massively expensive MIGHT be a bit of an understatement on that. Honestly, while it sounds like a pretty incredible film, it also sounds like a bit of a mess. There’s just too much going on! However, it seems likely that they would have done more of a montage for all of that to see the formation and growth of the Fantastic Four, keeping either Annhilus or Doom’s War as the central fight for the film.
In any event, this version certainly sounds brighter and with more Cold War Era Can-Do positivity, so it makes total sense that Josh Trank, the film’s director, would want to completely rewrite that to fit more into his tone, which also could have been a great film, if Fox had trusted their director to do his job.
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