The most surprising omission was an action sequence featuring the Thing (Jamie Bell) being dropped bomb-style from an airplane onto a military base. The action sequence was used in nearly every trailer for the film, usually as the big climactic shot — and it’s nowhere to be seen in the film. Entertainment Weekly got to the bottom of this mystery by interviewing a dozen unnamed sources involved in the film’s production. They tried to find out what this Thing scene was all about — and what happened to it. Mild spoilers for the film’s second act lurk ahead.
In the finished “Fantastic Four,” there’s a time jump in the middle of the film following the team’s mission to Planet Zero and the discovery of their powers. A year has passed, as a title card indicates, but apparently a major action scene was supposed to take place during that excised year. While the jump ahead in time was always part of the film, director Josh Trank originally wanted to cut from the traumatic origin story and straight into an action scene, with the film revealing after the fact that Ben, Sue and Johnny had become “unofficial super-soldiers” working for the United States.
Entertainment Weekly has a detailed breakdown of what this action scene was supposed to entail; the setting was night at a Chechen rebel camp as soldiers load up trucks with weapons. A stealth bomber flies overhead, dropping Ben Grimm (as seen in every trailer). The crash sends debris flying everywhere and leaves a pile of orange boulders at the bottom of a crater; those boulders slowly reform into the figure of The Thing.
Grimm then takes on enemy fire in a scene that sounds reminiscent of the debut of the first, clunky Iron Man armor in Tony Stark’s debut film. The scene would show Thing taking out soldiers slowly and deliberately. When they realize firing weapons at the rock monster is futile, the soldiers turn and run away — and are then gunned down by Navy SEALs. Thing then gives the American troops a nod, indicating to viewers that he’s working alongside them.
The reasons as to why it was cut from the film vary; sources closer to Fox say that Trank himself wasn’t sure if he needed the scene and eventually decided to cut it. Trank’s supporters say the scene was cut due to the budget constraints placed on the film near the start of production. Then, when Fox realized they had a comic book movie with little action in it, they decided to increase the budget to get the scene done — but minus Trank behind the camera. The crew that shot the scene did so in a handheld style, which didn’t match up with any of the planned digital effects or the rest of the film. This, according to those sources, caused Trank to axe the scene.
“Fantastic Four” is in theaters now.
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