Fox's Fantastic Four movie reboot has been a mystery throughout most of its production, but now that the first trailer for the film has been unveiled, both longtime fans and mainstream newcomers are beginning to take note (and offer opinion) about Chronicle director Josh Trank's new vision of Marvel's first family.
We've still seen precious little of the new Fantastic Four, but for those who know next to nothing about what this comic book is, and its long winding path through Hollywood, we've put together a quick and concise primer to bring you up to speed. We'll also go a step further to let you know what Trank's version will do differently - and just how much of that difference was inspired by the comics.
Who Are The Fantastic Four?
The Fantastic Four are a superhero team first launched in 1961 by Marvel Comics architect Stan Lee and his iconic artist partner Jack Kirby, as an answer to DC's Justice League (fun fact). Unlike so many other superhero teams, the Fantastic Four were a family unit consisting of brilliant inventor Reed Richards, his girlfriend Sue Storm, her hot-head brother Johnny, and Reed's college roommate and best friend, Ben Grimm. In years since, various other Marvel characters including Spider-Man, Wolverine, Ghost Rider, Hulk, Ant-Man II - among others - have all been rotated in and out of the F4 roster.
In the original origin story, a trip into space and an encounter with cosmic rays gave Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny superhuman abilities. In later tellings like the Ultimate Fantastic Four of the 2000s (which Trank's film is drawing on), the four (and nemesis Doctor Doom) gain their powers in a much different way.
The Ultimate Version
Judging from the Fantastic Four teaser trailer, the film will emulate the Ultimate Fantastic Four origin story: Reed Richards (Miles Teller) is a brilliant young prodigy working on inter-dimensional transportation; Sue Storm (Kate Mara) is a talented scientist who bonds with Reed, and is the daughter of legendary scientist Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey); Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell) is Reed's BFF, a jock who grew up protecting the brianiac from bullies; Johnny Storm is still a hot-headed wannabe rockstar; and Doom is an aristocratic and arrogant European colleague of Reed's.
When Reed's exploration of portals to the "N-Zone" dimension goes wrong, he, Sue, Johnny, Ben and Doom are left irrevocably altered, facing an existence with powers that are arguably just as debilitating and dangerous as they are empowering.
The Ultimate Fantastic Four comic started out much more grounded in modern sci-fi - going so far as to abandon a lot of the original's kitschy comic book-y elements (like the use of superhero code names) until later in the series' run. It also did a major overhaul on the character of Dr. Doom, which this film may also emulate, providing a new identity and origin story for the villain.
That's all to say: Trank's film seems to be following the Ultimate Fantastic Four's lead, but it should not be assumed that the filmmakers are just making up their own version; this is definitely the Ultimate Fantastic Four comic book being brought to life onscreen (albeit with a few tweaks).