Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four is very obviously the result of some serious studio meddling combined with a filmmaker whose vision simply did not align with those who gave him the job. It’s a complicated situation with a lot of rumors in play that haven’t been substantiated, and as much as I went into the film with an open mind, it’s a bad movie. Even Trank himself has distanced himself from the final movie, saying he had an earlier cut that was “fantastic” that we’ll likely never get to see.
One of the biggest complaints about the film is that there isn’t nearly enough action in it. Well, Entertainment Weekly spoke with a dozen people involved with the making of the film, and have pieced together what was supposed to happen in an action sequence that was featured in the trailer but ended up being cut from the film altogether. The scene involves The Thing skydiving into a military installation and fighting on behalf of the U.S. government about a year after the team first gets their powers. In the film, the fact that The Thing is a government weapon is showed briefly on a small bank of monitors, but the only time we really get to see him in action is in the truncated (and just straight-up awful) confrontation with Victor Von Doom at the very end of the movie.
Just after the cut to black when the group gets their powers, we were supposed to see The Thing dropped from a stealth bomber directly into a Chechan rebel camp. Then this happens:
As The Thing lurches into view, bullets spark and ping off his impenetrable exterior.
Rather than some elegant, balletic action sequence, The Thing moves slowly and deliberately. He’s in no hurry. The storytelling goal was to show the futility of firepower against him as he casually demolishes the terrorists. It’s a blue-collar kind of heroism.
When it becomes clear this rock-beast cannot be stopped, the surviving Chechen rebels make a run for it – and that’s when a hail of gunfire finishes them off.
From the shadows of the surrounding forest, a team of Navy SEALS emerge with their guns drawn and smoking. The cavalry has arrived, but the enemy has already been subdued.
The film would then have shifted to a bird’s-eye view of the camp, an aerial shot showing waves of American soldiers flooding in to secure the base. Just when it appears the American soldiers may be ready to clash with the rock monster, The Thing gives them a solemn nod, and they clear a path. He lumbers past them, almost sadly, a heartsick warrior. Then he boards a large helicopter and is lifted away.
Why, exactly, the scene was cut is up for debate. Sides are still being taken in the behind the scenes battle of making this movie, and there are opposing views about who is responsible for it being removed. You can read more about the gossipy “he said, she said” elements of the story at EW, but this is just another glimpse at the movie we were intended to see before, for whatever reason, the film was drastically altered for theatrical release.
Did you see the movie? Think this scene would have improved on the final product?