The Internet can be a great source of information, particularly for tidbits on every upcoming movie, TV show, and comic book in existence, but that doesn’t mean you should believe every little thing you read.
Case in point: a casting call website recently posted the supposed plot details of the new “Fantastic Four” reboot Fox is planning…
“‘The Fantastic Four’ will tell the story of two very young friends, Reed Richards and Ben Grimm. After an event transforms the boys, they find themselves empowered with bizarre new abilities. Reed becomes a scientific genius who can stretch, twist and re-shape his body to inhuman proportions. Ben becomes a monstrous, craggy humanoid with orange, rock-like skin and super strength. However, the two end up being owned by the government and used as weapons. But after they mature, two others with powers come into the picture – Sue Storm ‘The Invisible Girl’ and Johnny Storm ‘The Human Torch.’”
This little paragraph sent comic nerds into a frenzy, largely criticizing how far from the original source material this story strays. As if fans didn’t suffer enough through Fox’s first two mediocre attempts in 2005 and 2007, now we have to deal with this? Well, apparently not.
Director and co-writer Josh Trank, famous for his 2012 box office hit “Chronicle,” quickly shot down the rumor on Twitter, though other big changes to the comics seem to be sticking – Michael B. Jordan, who starred in “Chronicle,” may be cast as the Human Torch, according to much more reliable sources, making him the first African American Johnny Storm. Considering he is Sue’s brother, will they be changing her race as well?
I’ll wait for some official confirmation before I go ahead and debate this decision (though I must say it worked well for Michael Clarke Duncan as the Kingpin in “Daredevil”), and as other casting rumors swirl, I have to simply walk away from my computer, as tempting as it is to start ranting and raving every time a new piece of information leaks out. Frankly, I’m much more excited about “Doomed: The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s ‘The Fantastic Four,’” a forthcoming documentary about the famous B-movie director’s low budget FF movie that never saw the light of day (except on the Internet and overpriced bootlegs at comic cons). Why? Because sometimes the story behind the scenes ends up being more interesting than the polished scenes on screen.
Maybe that’s why I am one of those geeks who has to have the latest update on every superhero movie as it nears completion. If a movie is good, why was it good, and if it’s bad, what went wrong? The story of this new reboot has been an interesting one so far – now they want Josh Gad from “Frozen” to play the Thing? Nah, Trank shot that one down too. The “what ifs” and “could have beens” fuel these in-depth discussions of how those sacred texts we call comics should be handled, though most people do not take into account budgets, investors, production issues, egos, and a million other things that go into a film before it’s released. If you’ve ever questioned any decision in any final product you’ve ever watched, take note that at least a dozen people had a hand in that choice at any given time. And have you ever read any fan fiction? Maybe the “experts” don’t always know best.
In the end, people will believe what they want to believe. As Trank takes on his second (potential) blockbuster at only 29 years old, I feel bad that he’s going to endure heat for every single bit of information released about this project when, judging by other filmmakers who work with Fox, he has much bigger obstacles ahead than pleasing fanboys. I admit, I was pretty peeved when I read that synopsis the other day, but then I realized that we’re at least another year away from its scheduled release and anything – and I do mean anything – can happen in between.
At one point in time, Tom Cruise was rumored to be Marvel’s top pick to play Iron Man. We dodged that bullet (or maybe deflected it, in this case), and Trank is likely dodging many more at the moment. Let’s not add to that mess with our own projectiles. Instead, let’s just wait for a trailer and hope for the best. In our upright armchair position, that’s about all we can do.
-Rich Howells is a lifelong Marvel Comics collector, wannabe Jedi master, and cult film fan. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.