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How The ‘Fantastic Four’ Reboot Might Be Changing Canon, And Why That’s A Good Thing

How The 'Fantastic Four' Reboot Might Be Changing Canon, And Why That's A Good Thing

Poor Josh Trank has had to answer a sea of rumors in putting together his vision for “The Fantastic Four.” The scrutiny is understandable: this is a property that has been adapted into film twice already (three times if you count a basically-unreleased early ’90s incarnation), each time failing to impress the hardcore fans. And Fox, eager to kick-start the series to keep it from reverting back to Marvel, have been keeping things close to the vest, refusing to disclose any story details for a film that’s a little over a year away, and about to begin production. But if this latest casting notice is anything to go by, Fox is playing fast and loose with the series. And why not?

Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell and Michael B. Jordan are the names that have been mentioned as the likely stars of this new version, which emerges in July 2015. And that’s miles away from any familiar incarnation the fans are familiar with. As the Invisible Woman, Mara seems like an inoffensive choice. But Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic has always been a deadly serious genius, usually depicted in his late thirties to forties, with a gray streak in his hair. Teller, a comedic presence in films like “That Awkward Moment” and “21 And Over,” is in his mid-twenties, and always profiled as a young Vince Vaughn. Bell is leagues separated from the usual incarnation of Ben Grimm as a larger, more physical force, a grumbly Jewish bruiser from Yancey Street. And Jordan, well… the Human Torch is black, fans. You’ve got to come to terms with that.

That last wrinkle actually matters, given that Jordan’s Johnny Storm is actually meant to be a sibling to Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman. It’s unclear how this is going to be explained, though it’s a talking point amongst fans because “The Fantastic Four” don’t wear the title of Marvel’s First Family without reason. As Marvel’s most beloved married couple, Richards and Sue Storm treat Johnny like the little brother, while Grimm has always been a caretaker to the Richards and Storm relationship as a peer, and best friend, to Reed.

Part of how this was communicated was through subtle age differences, with Reed being the paternal type and Johnny the young hothead.  This carried over to the movies, which attempted to recreate that dynamic. But this new cast is uniformly young, and in fact Teller is the youngest of the crew by days. This is just part of a radical re-invention, and if you believe the internet (don’t believe the internet!), we’d be getting the Fantastic Four as test subjects, a female Dr. Doom, basically cats and dogs living together and mass hysteria ruling the land.

Of course, take a seat, take a deep breath, and tell this to yourself: it doesn’t matter. Despite what the studios have believed since the early ’00s, comic books are a different medium, and the stories and themes could stand to change a little. Fox’s two “Fantastic Four” films were clumsy, silly family entertainments, lightweight pictures that, for the most part, captured the camaraderie and comedic spirit of the team, if not the scope of their adventures. Ultimately, they were disposable. So why not try something different? This isn’t “Hamlet,” this is “The Fantastic Four.” And the Bard’s work has been altered a lot more often anyway.

“The Fantastic Four” legacy stretches over fifty years, and while there have been several decorated runs, the great stories are few and far between, and often beholden to the comic medium, due to either outlandish imagination or a dependence on other heroes that may not reside underneath Fox’s umbrella. In other words, you’re going to need to monkey with the formula a bit if you want to make this work as a movie. Fox likely still looks at this as a “superhero” series, a mistake the earlier movies made, but looking back to the earlier comics, these are science fiction characters. And science fiction characters are malleable, not stuck to one genre or another.

The “Fantastic Four” debuted in 1961 as Marvel’s first relevant superheroes of the post-war age. Under the Timely imprint, Marvel had debuted heroes like Namor and Captain America in the forties, but their hero universe had grown dormant while DC had thrived on the back of Superman and the Justice League. Essentially, there were no rules, and the Fantastic Four’s casual infighting and monster brawls set the stage for Marvel’s wave that included the Hulk, the X-Men and Spider-Man. Basically, there was no template, there was no pattern for success, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee simply set out to create a “team book.”

Fox needs to do the same here. The Fantastic Four, in their popular form, had their shot. The characters origins, especially the space race elements, are products of the sixties – even Peyton Reed knew that when he was in line to direct the property more than a decade ago. Trank is the latest guy for the job, and it’s important that he not be too precious with the material. Let Invisible Woman and Human Torch be unrelated. Make The Thing gay. Maybe they get their powers by tripping and falling into toxic waste. Maybe Dr. Doom isn’t even a licensed doctor. We’ve had years and years of filmmakers treating comic book characters like gospel, but none are as glued to their four-color origins as the Fantastic Four. It’s about time Fox unglued them.

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I hope it’s good. Kingsman looks like a lot of fun so i’ll definitely be checking that out. Hashmov


Can’t wait for this movie, but the trailer must be good to get everyone to stop judging like it’s gonna be the next asm 2 at least.


Just watch trailer, it’s amazing.


This movie is gonna suck. For whatever reason Hollywood has decided to F the FF again…. whatever, I won't be seeing this horse manure. And if you think I'm racist, F you. Johnny Storm is a white boy. Let's cast the Black Panther as a white man, let's see how many of you people say anything then.


Guys an idiot. Lets make thing gay?? Might work for an episode of real world not comics idiot.


Are the producers and director hearing this?

Hey, assholes, leave the characters alone!

80s Kid

Can they do this? How much can they change before it becomes Libel? Surely defamation of characters would be something that Disney lawyers could sue for?

The way I understand it, is if I buy the rights to use a character in a work of fiction, i.e Superman, he would have to be Superman, with his powers and character otherwise I'd be be bringing the character into disrepute… If in my film I had superman rape and kill people while dressed like hitter, then DC could force me to destroy my film and character and sue me for libel.

I am pretty sure Fox can not change core bits of the fantastic four, race is ok, gender is ok where it doesn't play a major part of the characters, origin story… Now that's a odd one… If it's to different maybe Marvel can produce a cease and desist, for example making them mutants might be going to far.

I doubt very much the story will be that different to the original fantastic four… If it is I would not be at all surprised if Disney sue them and try to get the film cancelled.

Watch this space.


This is going to bomb. That sequel already planned for 2017 is never going to happen. Rules are broken and fans disappointed.

You can't cast a black man not to be racist in a white persons part just so you can get some color in the cast. I mean OMG Sue Storm and Johnny Storm are related. If you really needed to toss a color in the mix it should have been done with The Thing's roll.

This is going to bomb worse then the new Annie movie that is just a disgrace. Now we are looking to reboot everything to make every race feel included. I am not trying to be racist. You can't rewrite the stuff.


So many racist assholes on here. I remember a similar issue with alba being a Hispanic sue storm. Anyway, none of the casting for this film looks good, they look like they are going the wrong route. Let Alfonso Cuaron direct it…


Horrible casting, Pointless Race Politics(We simply MUST have a Black Guy in the Movie even though it makes 0 sense to race change Johnny!) and it looks horrid.

I wont be watching this trash that is spitting on the Fantastic Four's long history because they want to play Race Politics. Hopefully this movie fails and the rights return to Marvel.

FYI – I'm Filipino so in the US of A I'm a SUPER Minority, where's my pandering at the cost of destroying long established and iconic characters so I feel special?


I'm black and Hispanic and I will not under any circumstances watch this cluster fu@k of a movie. Sorry Johnny Storm is white, always has been white and always will be white. Let's keep the characters the races they are in the comics for Godsakes! Make a statement people and boycott this garbage movie.


This might be the worst comic book movie of all time.


This is not looking good. The actors are too young to carry the large roles. Jordan is the most notable. However, the problem is not the actors, if you look at the core. The problem lies in the cinematic universal setting. Until the Big 4 can engage with the current Marvel Universe that has established itself, this movie is just FOX trying to save its investments in comic book cinema. They probably know they will lose money, so they utilize actors that work on the cheap to cut down on too much of a loss. However, please FOX, swallow your pride and let them go home to be done properly. The X-MEN franchise is horrible and only getting worse. Let them go home so you can stop destroying their reputations.

another crybaby fan

If they keep this cast, this movie will rank right up there with the 1989 version of Punisher.
The HT casting choice is a slap in the face to fans…and such a weak attempt to be PC.
This is A "no" to see in the theater, a "maybe if there is nothing else" at the Red Box, and a definite no to add to my blu ray collection.

Vern Schillinger

Beat me to it!

Daniel Carver

Stupid Ni**ers!

George Bush

That's why I don't like you people.


I wonder how many white actors went up for the role of the Falcon in Captain America or Rhodey in Iron Man.


Stick a random smoogie in your movie to prove your diversity. How clever!


Didn't you get the memo? Only black folks are allowed to make jokes about race!


Richard Pryor played the Human Torch in real life..


Racism is to profitable (just ask the rhyming reverends Sharpton and Jackson) the truth of the matter is this country uses race to divide the ignorant middle class and poor into voting with the 1 percent who greedily take all the resources. A white man working 40 hours a week, stressing over bills has more in common with a black woman living in the ghetto than he has in common with another white man living in a gated community making 500 times his employees. But we are the sheeple fighting for scraps while the 1 percent laughs at our stupidity.


CT – your attempt at social commentary is retarded. The fact is simple, those things were said in jest to get a rise out of people like you. This is somewhat a free country, it's freedom of speech not freedom of popular speech. the fact is simple, this generation who believes they have a right to never be "offended" is backward, the N-word, C-word, f-word and R-word politics of giving words so much power is BS.

Now, as for others who hate on the net? maybe if people were more free to speak honestly about race in the real world they wouldn't have to vent online. You know how the news reports that a white man was beaten by 6 blacks screaming racial slurs and laughing as they kick his head and its just a battery, but the black guy beaten by a white man makes national news and his life is somehow more valuable as it's deemed a hate crime. talk honestly about race and let the chips fall where they may.

When 12 percent of the population makes up well over half the criminals in this country, my perceived "racism" isn't the problem.


The entire casting just seems wrong …Mara who played in the house of cards …her look is a not right for invisible woman as well (her face reminds me of a rodent). I think they are going to have a doozy on thier hands


to all the people who made racist comments your bigotry undermines your comments. the ff should be white. this is true. the rest of that shit that was said is ignorant and you only promote the ignorance that leads to adversity that affects us all in negative ways. i dont approve of some of the things black people say about the hate that white people have. but i see it on a regular basis on the web and the news. its a shame that in reality we haven't come as far as some people think. people like this sometimes makes me wonder are a lot of white people feeling this way. I have never felt any hate towards white people. but i am definitely weary of them after reading so many disparaging comments


Stupid! This is going to bomb!


Creative liscence, Hollywood has always looked at comics as being substandard writing. This movie reeks of "If we're going to loose the rights anyway let's scew it up so no one will use it." If you want to make a movie about 4 super powered people that band together then come up with one of your own. Don't pick something that is good and has well writen stories already and decide to only use a few pieces and change the rest. Yes the Bards words have been altered many times; some movies take his ideas and create something amazing and totaly new. (Star Wars). But here is the thing don't discount comics as only being funny books, those of us who grew up reading them learned to apprecate the writen word. These words were writen by skilled professionals who came up with ideas that had not been seen before and to this day still entertain young and old alike. The fantastic four may seem to need an update in some peoples eyes but I'll bet that in 25 years the new movie will be in the 5 dollar bin at Wal Mart and the original comic will still be sought after in both digital and paper form. With the latter exceding prices of $46,000, and why is this; because it was good and not just some Hollwood Knock off.


It should be pointed out that Stan Lee & Jack Kirby intended the members of the Fantastic Four to 1) be of widely differing ages (Reed and Ben are pushing 40, Sue 20, Johnny late teens), and 2) grow older as the comic continued.

So, while this reboot is going against 'canon', that's what the comic itself has been doing ever since Kirby left Marvel over 40 years ago.

Jon Pugh

How many screwed up tries do they get before they have to give their license back?

Dr. Doom is the primary villain of the Marvel Universe, with Magneto playing a close second. By licensing away these two properties, Marvel Studios, as a novice studio, ham-stringed themselves and has STILL made better movies than either FOX or Sony. They were able to because they respect the characters and write decent stories, and that's what it's all about. Sony has been able to make some tolerable Spiderman movies, because they've treated Peter Parker properly, keeping the things people like about him and his ensemble. The X-men have done ok (with the exception of 3) on the strength of Hugh's Wolverine and Sir Ian's Magneto and lip service to the mutant pantheon.

I don't even mind them reimagining things. The Ultimate FF was a nice restart for the team, but it kept the basis of their relationships intact. Mix it up too much and it won't be the FF.

Of course, no one has the balls to make the FF zombie movie. ;)

Bryan Oleman

I certainly have no problem with black actors but Johnny & Sue are brother and sister. Part of what makes the F4 work is dynamic of age and experience coupled with youth and exuberance. Unfortunately from what I know right now I see no way this film works. I'll likely wait for the DVD and not waist my cinema $$'s.


It Does Matter. These are several generations' modern myths. You can't retool these myths and expect people to just blow it off. I understand moviemakers wanting to make their own stories. I get that. They just need to go make some other movie with some other story. Leave the myths alone. The reason Avengers was so successful was because they respected the source characters and that world and packed it with stars. This movie will flop with this cast and no one is ever going to want to see an FF movie for another generation.

That's probably Fox's goal anyway. To piss all over the rights and screw Marvel over.


So Fox is bold enough to cast a black man as the Human Torch but not bold enough to commit to that decision and cast a black woman as Johnny Storm's sister.


Jesus, Marvel.

Just give Fox a couple hundred million dollars and buy back your property so you can do a GOOD version.

Fox is only going to ruin the brand even more.


Dr. Doom was an unlicensed doctor. He never finished college. Just sayin.


Black Panther is my favorite super-hero, if they made him white I would be livid. As a black man, I am not offended by people who want to keep the origins of their favorite heroes the same as the source material. I am more offended that, as someone who has experienced real racism, that non-issues like fans being annoyed at something like this are being portrayed as incidents of racism.


Well if it doesn't matter about their origins, and who they are and whether they're related or not or how they got their powers, why not just forget about doing a movie about Marvel's 'Fantastic Four' and just do a movie about four people who get super-powers and are learning to deal with those powers…like in 'Chronicle'…but with an additional super-powered person.


I am so deeply offended…. I guess I'll have to get over it and try to develop a sense of humor.


Is my 30 seconds up yet?


You did say all due respect, thats in the Geneva convention.


Statistically speaking they really don't need black heroes if they want to reflect reality they should make all the villains black.

All due respect.


"One of these guys is not like the others"

Maybe Johnny Storm could be played by Webster and be raised by Reed and Sue (who he calls mam)


Black people = the new garnishment. Sprinkle some here and there, bam. No more whining about racism! Notice all the new shows and movies with the "black friend" (except Tyler Perry where the whites are still the bad guys) god forbid you make a film with four white leads.


Will the movie have a KFC tie in?
Just sayin.

Lighten up Francis!


Now that the torch is black will the Things girlfriend revert to white? They blackwashed her in the first 2 films.


The human Torch was white until he was horribly burned. That explains it!


Too many white people must make some black alert! For the "poor black kids" who don't have many superhero role models I feel the same for the poor white kids who dont have many athletic role models. The NBA is too black. Fix it.


Why couldn't they make Thing black? That'd solve some of the horrid issues.


This is bullshit. I want my money back already.

John something

Really ? if you change it to much why even call it the Fantastic Four, the story had at its core 3 things, (1) Family: older Reed genius leader + Sue heart of the family the one who holds the family together. (2) brother sister relationship Sue and Johnny: hothead brother . (3) Thing: serious, brooding monster with a heart of gold who is the protector of the family but torn by what he is ? Making them all the same age is dumb… change for sake change . Look at Captain America, the kept the basic story and it did very well, same with the second Hulk. Don't mess with that. Almost everything else is open ( black Jonny white Sue ? Please one or the other, why not mixed race Sue and Johnny instead ? ) Looks like this will be a flop,

Trevor Green

Don't you love it when the troll writes the article instead of being one of the people commenting. This is not a Fantastic Four movie if they make these ridiculous changes. The lack of respect for the source matter is a loathsome product of Hollywood. The Fantastic Four has never had the movie it deserves, and it isn't because the characters are the wrong age or race or sexuality. It is because it just hasn't been given the respect it deserves. I applaud the last effort for trying to get there, but they messed up Galactus. Until we get the movie we have always deserved making Fantastic Four Babies is uncalled for. But I guess if you meet any of these people you have a chance to be their friends because you gave their decisions cover on your blog.


Why in the world does every white character in movies have to turn into a black character? It isn't racist or anything if you leave the character his/her original race. Fans grew up with a character being a certain race and have the expectations that a re-tell will stay somewhat based on the original. Somewhat is not introducing a well known character as a different race. Lemme guess Sue is actually the daughter of a rich couple who adopted a black Johhny for whatever reasons they had to make them feel like the not so rich? Gimme a break. I really get tired of seeing characters I followed as a child as a totally different race.

J.D. Lees

If you change everything, why call it the Fantastic Four? It's like Godzilla (1998); it neither looked nor acted like Godzilla, and the fans hated it. And you're right, it doesn't matter that the Torch is black (or Electro in ASM2). Me, I'm looking forward to the bio-pic of Martin Luther King Jr. as played by Jon Hamm, and Malcolm X as played by Jackie Chan. Hey, maybe the Black Panther will be in the FF flick, and Tina Fey could play him. Can't wait to see all the broadminded fans approve of that.


Sam, Fantastic Four is broken its the worst movies in the collection. But honestly i don't mind a black character but with a white sister? They better not ruin the relationships


Has anyone ever heard the term "if it's not broke don't fix it" which is pretty much what the Marvel, Marvel movies have been doing. They take the stories and they adapt them to fit the screen. There are no changes in character back stories or origins. They have just made film versions of the original stories. I refuse to see this movie tho. I have no issue with any actor in this group. I don't care that Johny Storm is black (in fact the idea that he is adopted i feel would strengthen the Johny/Susan relationship). But I do care that they are making them tweens. I will not be seeing this movie… ever….


Gabe, I've gotta say: this entire article just proves one thing – you are an idiot, and no one should listen to you. The Fantastic Four are fine AS THEY ARE and don't need any changing. They just need someone that respects them as characters, and that definitely isn't Fox or Josh Trank. And certainly not you.


Oh this is going to suck big time. Really a black human torch? I know we HAVE to have one but it just doesnt' fit in with the characters. I love the fans just have to get over it… LOL well since we are the ones that buy tickets to go see it I guess you'll have to get over the fact that your move is doomed from the start.


Will not be seeing this, it's more than not it's going to flop. The two recent one's were pretty dismal and this one more than likely will do the same, if not worse. Truthfully none of the selection for the cast jive they do not look or feel the part and Jordan cast as Johnny Storm, even if they were to say he is Sue's addopted brother or vice versa, is probably the worst liberty they are taking with this film, that and the butchery of continuity and purity to the story. Some comic adaptations can be tweek with casting choices, such as Michael Clark Duncan as The Kingpin in Daredevil, he was perfect for the character and the only redeeming content in that horrible film. If any company is trying to attract the black market consumers for comic adaptations why do they not go with a legitimate black superhero such as The Black Panther who is an amazing superhero with a fantastic mythos and legend to work with.


Daredevil and Elektra. 'Nuff said.


If this were any other film, pundits and comment trolls alike would be jumping on each other's heads to shout about how great a cast we've got. I'm excited just to see Miles Teller do something completely against type and play a smart guy, but we've got a cast of uniformly excellent actors. The internet can be quiet until the movie is released.


Won't be watching this, pirating this or supporting this. They've dropped the ball on the FF twice now and this newest version is down-right insulting to long time (30+ years) fans of the comic.


The whole point of making a movie is to bring it to life, not just animate the comic. To that effect, I'd sacrifice resemblance for performance. So the question "Could/should a black actor play a white character?" becomes "Could/should Michael B. Jordan play Johnny Storm?" which is more important to me at least at this point. I think he can easily and near-perfectly, so I'm having trouble mustering up energy to call for a white actor. And it kind of depresses me that if hypothetically a white actor who is not as good as Jordan got the part people would be less upset. That seems like a loss to me.

At this point, the intention of the studio doesn't really bother me either. They could have chosen him to target that demographic and that might be all they care about, but the question remains "Can he deliver?" I'd bet on him.

legend of zelda

Reboots are stupid. Since when do get second or third or fourth chances to do it right? Movie fans need to get some balls and tell Hollywood where they can put it.

Oliver Gogarty

"We’ve had years and years of filmmakers treating comic book characters like gospel…." Actually, it's only fairly recently that people who actually read the comic books and understood the appeal of the characters began making movies that were relatively faithful; prior to that it was either a dismal b-movie or something like Burton's Batman, which is really just goth Adam West by a man who sounds insulted if you insinuate he's ever read a comic book. (Frankly, I'd be surprised if Burton's ever read an entire script, but I digress.) This author gets it completely wrong: the problem with the previous two Fox Fantastic Four movies was that they didn't get it right, and didn't understand what made the books as revolutionary and long-lasting as they are. (And there aren't many good FF stories? I won't even address that.) I'm not saying a thing about this upcoming movie, because all I know is they youthified the characters, which won't necessarily be ruinous; but it does seem indicative that their attitude is similar to the author's, and, if so, Fox will have gotten it completely wrong twice.


There's this thing called adoption, in which parents can get custody of a child that they didn't give birth to – and in those instances, sometimes the child and the parent don't share the same skin tone. Either Johnny or Sue could be adopted. Simple as that. Who really gives a damn as long as the movie is good.


This is Stunt Casting, pure and simple. It's not about casting the right person for the role, it's about casting something that makes headlines and garners web hits when sites run it. And as long as they cast a black guy, they not only generate buzz but the entire Black Community will swallow the bait and go see it.
They don't care about making a faithful movie. They don't even care about making a GOOD movie. They care about making a buck and holding on to the character rights. Plain and simple.
It just shows how far they are willing to push things to keep the contracts in the hands of other studios and OUT of Marvel's hands. Crank out a crappy Spiderman movie, sure as long as it holds the rights! Same principle here. Crank out another crappy FF reboot so Marvel/Disney can't reclaim the rights.
Best way to say No to crap like this… DON'T GO SEE THE MOVIE.


Wrong. Just plain wrong. On so many levels. Who the hell hired this guy?


Johnny and Sue are in a relationship. Calling it. Love triangle inbound.


Basically, you say the comics-book is crap, and who are those idiots who keeps on reading it so it can be still exist after more than 50 years on a non-stop publication ?
Theses readers are so stupid and tasteless ! You all know so much better ! You can make a very much better work than the artist that keep it alive since 50 years.

Re-invent the Fantastic Four ? The movie seems to take it's inspiration from the Ultimate version of the comics-book. Version that try to modernize the Fantastic Four. And thats is very far to be the most acclaim or successful comic-book ever published. Because, in trying to make them young and hip and all, they miss what makes the hearth and the soul of the characters.

There are many "Dark" comics. Fantastic Four isn't. There are many "realist" comics. Fantastic Four isn't. It's the Fantastic (as it's say in the title) adventures of a family.

I've got the feeling that many only consider the movies that have been made and never even open the comics. Read a little.


The "usual" incarnation of Ben Grimm as Jewish… lol… Ben Grimm wasn't even identified as Jewish until 2002 (some forty years after his creation, and after years of participation in Christmas specials). Just shows that such changes are made all the time.

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