Twentieth Century Fox is so confident in what they have with the reboot of the Fantastic Four movie franchise that they greenlit a sequel before the public had even seen a photo from the first movie. Now that the veil of secrecy on the superhero team's new origin story has been lifted, we can see concerns and skepticism about the project begin to fade away.
The first trailer for director Josh Trank's take on the Fantastic Four has finally been released, and with it, the first official poster, photos and some interviews from Trank himself and producer Simon Kinberg, who both helped co-write the Fantastic Four reboot with Jeremy Slater. Alongside the trailer debut, the pair spoke to a few publications about the project and what's revealed in the trailer, adding a lot of much-needed contest but maintaining a certain level of secrecy for good reason.
We've gathered the highlights of what they've along with our thoughts on the marketing assets released thus far, to compile a list of cool things we now know for certain about the new Fantastic Four and what it aims to bring to audiences.
1. This Is The Ultimate Fantastic Four
Josh Trank takes inspiration from the artwork by Bryan Hitch in The Ultimates - the Ultimate Marvel Comics version of The Avengers. The grounded approach, characters and origin story of his Fantastic Four movie reboot is based largely on the Ultimate Fantastic Four (read about the differences to the original team here). That means a new origin story, a younger team and even a different team dynamic.
Given that the Ultimate X-Men comics are also used as a source of inspiration for the X-Men films, it's easy to see potential future connections between the properties and why Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four co-creator Mark Millar was brought into the fold by the Twentieth Century Fox as a consultant on their own Marvel universe.
2. It's All About The New Generation
Josh Trank made his big break with the superhero found footage film Chronicle, which helped land him the Fantastic Four director's chair (and that of a Star Wars spinoff!). While Fantastic Four doesn't use found footage, it is embracing a similar theme. Simon Kinberg explains to Yahoo:
"We wanted to tell a generational story. We did it in Chronicle and we do it in this movie with it being about the next generation. It's one of the reasons we looked at The Ultimates as part of the inspiration because they are a younger Fantastic Four."
This helps differentiate this take on the property from the previous theatrical Fantastic Four films by the studio, and will hopefully help the brand avoid the same issues Sony is facing in rehashing the same material in The Amazing Spider-Man movies and not differentiating them enough from Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man trilogy.
3. Modernizing Is The Only Way
The amount of doubt and skepticism surround the Fantastic Four is exactly why it's being built and marketed the way it is (more on that later). The idea is to modernize the Fantastic Four and make them relevant again - to take elements of a comic that doesn't sell greatly, one that Marvel Comics is cancelling - and make it something different, interesting and viable as a film franchise that can compete in a crowded, big budget genre. The official Fantastic Four plot synopsis speaks for itself:
A contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy.
Josh Trank sold FF creator and Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee the same way he sold Twentieth Century Fox.
"I told [Stan Lee] why I wanted to do the Fantastic Four and he just genuinely loved the idea that somebody would be taking the Fantastic Four seriously like that and putting them into a modern space."
Pre-conceived notions on the story, characters of this new version of the Fantastic Four and casting don't matter. This is a new and modern version. There are reasons why Fox wanted to keep this property while letting Daredevil go back to Marvel and why it already has a sequel scheduled. You'll just have to wait and see if the plan works.
4. Grounded & Dramatic
Those dreaded marketing buzzwords "grounded" and "dark" have been overused since filmmakers, talent, media and fans began comparing anything and everything to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. Sure. Josh Trank's Fantastic Four will avoid the campiness and highly comedic route of the previous iteration, but when the creative team explains that they are going for "grounded and dramatic" that's how they constructed the story and cast the film.
Kinberg explains that they "wanted to be grounded and dramatic we went for the four best dramatic actors." And up until now, the cast was the only thing interested moviegoers had to go on in setting their expectations for a Fantastic Four reboot. Now that we know the "grounded" science fiction angle Trank is taking as well (more on this next), and we context for which to understand the tone of the Fantastic Four - a tone fans have been clamoring for from this property.
In the Ultimate Fantastic Four comics, the characters don't really use their codenames or refer to themselves as the "Fantastic Four." That might be the case in the film as well.
5. More Science In Science Fiction
Where Disney's Star Wars is more fantastical than sci-fi, and where Disney-Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is a superhero-esque adventure in space, Fantastic Four aims to keep its outlandish plot elements and settings grounded by science.
When the FF comic and characters were created in the '60s it was a time where the race to the moon was that next major scientific milestone and accomplishment for the world and that played into the origin story of the Fantastic Four characters. For a new generation, a new generation of heroes needs that new frontier to explore. This is where the Ultimate Fantastic Four inspiration comes into play with its inter-dimensional origin story (more on this later). For Trank, he "really wanted to see science in science fiction." Simon Kinberg:
"I remember from the beginning with this movie [Josh Trank] wanted to explore what that new frontier would look like and do a superhero movie that was as grounded in science and reality."
X-Men: Days of Future Past introduced time-travel into Fox's Marvel universe and Fantastic Four introduces the concept of multiple dimensions. Marvel Comics aficionados can piece together where this may be heading...