Chronicle director Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot is pretty much the red-headed step child of upcoming superhero movies, due largely to its controversial casting and alleged changes to the source material. Aside from an African-American version of the Human Torch (Michael B. Jordan), we’re also getting a British actor playing Ben Grimm/The Thing (Jamie Bell) and a second British actor (Toby Kebbell) is in talks to play the new Doctor Doom. Needless to say, fans have been apprehensive about the alternate approach to this Marvel comic book property.
However, while many things from Fantastic Four lore may look different in Trank’s reboot, we will reportedly be getting certain things in the film that will be more familiar to longtime Fantastic Four fans: namely, The Doombots.
Nerdist reports the exclusive rumor that Fantastic Four will include the Doombots (see the video below). However, like so many things with this reboot, the Doombots we could be getting might be slightly altered from the ones we know and love from comic books and cartoon series.
In the source material, Doombots are robot henchman (often replicas) of the real Doctor Doom – and like Doom, they are heavily armored and armed with an array of destructive weapons. Doctor Doom uses his Doombots as guards, militarized combat soldiers, diplomatic envoys, and occasionally as decoys to fool opponents or fake his own death. In short, Doombots are an easy way for a solitary villain to have an army behind him, providing plenty of targets for the F4 to pound on.
However, according to Nerdist, in the Trank’s film, The Doombots are going to be drones that Doom controls telekinetically. From that description alone, one can already see where further alterations to the source material could be made – and why fans may therefore be upset all over again that Trank’s film does not resemble their beloved (and familiar) Fantastic Four comic books.
“Drones” are a very specific word to employ when describing the new Doombots. The term suggests that instead of doppleganger robots, we’re going to be getting smaller flying machines; the notion that Doom could be controlling them telekinetically also suggests that the Doctor will have a set of powers fans may not readily associate with the character. Now it’s possible the Nerdist video host simply got the terminology wrong, because in the comics, Doom is “Technopathic,” possessing the ability to exert control over certain machines with his mind (used mostly to control the Doombots). Therefore, the movie reboot version of Doom would technically fall in line with the classic version, if he is able to still access this ability.
In other words: Doom mentally commanding a squad of robots is not something that Josh Trank would be making up for the reboot.
All in all, this is an easy rumor to believe. A team of superheroes needs more than one central villain to battle, so that the team battle dynamics (and the film’s action sequences) can be fully utilized and enjoyed on a blockbuster scale. Whether they’re replica robots or some other technological innovation, it would be cool to see Doctor Doom using nothing but his mind to engage in battle with the Fantastic Four, who would need all their powers and tricks to take on Doom’s army.
More to the point: seeing Doctor Doom seated in a chair with his hands pressed together, watching the F4 battling for their lives against his superior mind? That’s almost a perfect encapsulation of who this villain is. Julian McMahon’s version from the original film (complete with is Ultimate Universe transformation into living metal and hokey lightning powers) is something I’m all too happy to move past.
Fantastic Four will arrive in theaters on June 19, 2015, with Fantastic Four 2 set for release on July 14, 2017.