The Fantastic Four reboot has come and gone, with the dismal fallout of its box office failure and subsequent backstage blowups garnering more coverage than the movie itself. Let us continue that trend, shall we? We aired our grievances earlier this month when we ran an eagle-eyed post calling out the scenes in the initial trailers cut from the final film. Now Entertainment Weekly has a scoop about one of the trailer’s more action-oriented sequences missing from the final cut.
The scene in question is at the end of the official trailer, and shows the Thing dropping out of a stealth bomber and completely crushing a humvee before emerging from the wreckage. The movie was conspicuously lacking action sequences, and this was positioned as the rare character moment for Ben Grimm. What happened?
EW’s Anthony Breznican caught up with more than a dozen people involved in the movie’s troubled production to piece together the scene. Fair warning, because I know no one has seen this movie and never will, but spoilers from here on out.
When Reed Richards goes rogue in the movie (after his escape from the government facility that kept the Fantastic Four hostage in order to harness their powers) we then see a title card that reads “One Year Later.” Boom, then the three remaining members of the group are seen in surveillance footage going on top-secret missions for the U.S. government. The time jump was a point of contention for people who thought it was a studio addition after ostensibly recutting director Josh Trank’s original footage, but Breznican’s sources say the title card was always planned with the Thing’s action sequence immediately following it.
The scene was to take place in a rebel Chechen camp in the middle of the night, with a large group of soldiers and artillery about to roll out. Enter: the Thing, from his thousand-foot skydive, collides with the truck below and appears from a cloud of debris for some clobberin’ time. The rebels shoot him, but plain ol’ machine gun bullets simply deflect off of him as he gets his clobberin’ on. Navy Seals bust out of a nearby forest as backup, but find that Grimm has finished the job himself.
The moment sees Grimm defeated and basically forced into government slavery after his best friend Reed Richards abandoned him. But instead of letting the big pile of rocks feel some emotions, the scene was left on the cutting room floor.
Breznican’s sources diverge on exactly why. Those closer to Twentieth Century Fox say Trank couldn’t figure out how to make the scene work before he eventually scrapped it. The Trank camp says studio hands mucked with the costly scene from the moment it was pre-visualized and later dropped it altogether when they trimmed the budget. Later the studio allegedly brought the scene back when they wanted to inject action into their flat superhero movie, but banned Trank from the set when it was finally shot.
Even though it’s impossible to tell who is at fault for the gigantic blockbuster mishap, the war between both sides will continue to rage at least until somebody puts out a director’s cut. At least then we’ll be able to see what, if anything, could have been salvaged from this fantastically fascinating mess.