Last year’s “Fantastic Four” left a sour taste in most fans’ mouths. It’s muddied story, grim tone and bland action seemed starkly out of place in what often is one of Marvel’s more lighthearted comic book titles. Part of this was most likely due to the countless script revisions undertaken during the film’s production, as evidenced by recounts from multiple sources. Jeremy Slater (“Death Note,” “The Lazarus Effect”) the first screenwriter hired to pen “Fantastic Four,” recently opened up to Screen Crush about his original draft of the movie. This first script included a much larger scope and even some additional iconic villains.
According to Slater, the Fantastic Four would have come across Annihilus, Marvel’s original ruler of the Negative Zone — a locale that was renamed “Planet Zero” in the final film. The writer described his version of Annihilus as a “pissed-off cybernetic T-Rex” that would seemingly kill Victor von Doom during the heroes’ first journey to the new dimension. Reed Richards and his crew would then get blasted with radiation on their return home, giving them their famous powers.
Doom would eventually return from the Negative Zone, “having killed Annihilus and reshaped his Control Rod into a sort of living body armor,” notes Slater in the interview.
As is widely rumored, Slater’s take on the franchise would have included “lots of humor, lots of heart, lots of spectacle,” as opposed to Josh Trank’s final, darker draft. The final act would also have also packed in Mole Man, a 60-foot genetically-modified monster attacking Manhattan, a raid on the Baxter Building and “a ‘Saving Private Ryan’-style finale pitting our heroes against an army of Doombots in war-torn Latveria.” If that weren’t enough, a post-credits scene would have also teased Galactus and the Silver Surfer destroying a planet.
Of course, all of this was missing from the final film, but Slater said he understood why.
“Would you spend $300 million on a Fantastic Four film?” he asked. “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.”
In the end, audiences got the “Fantastic Four” film they saw, and while Trank and Miles Teller both said they’re open to revisiting the franchise, it seems unlikely that we’ll be seeing Slater’s — or anyone else’s — take on the title anytime soon.
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