As was well documented over the weekend, Fantastic Four had a rather tumultuous production period. Word varies over whether the fault lies with director Josh Trank or 20th Century Fox, but what’s ultimately clear is that the finished production isn’t necessarily what anyone set out to make. Extensive reshoots took place in order to alter the film after they wrapped principal photography, and while reshoots are a common occurrence on any big budget blockbuster, the sheer amount of new scenes in Fantastic Four is pretty staggering. And you don’t have to trust someone’s word as to which scenes are new; Kate Mara’s highly noticeable wig acts as a signpost pointing viewers to scenes or sequences that were shot after the fact, including a great deal of the third act.
This morning, some behind-the-scenes video from Fox surfaced that revealed some significant scenes and plot points that aren’t in the movie—including the Fantasticar—but when I left the theater after seeing the film, I kept thinking back to the trailers and promotional materials. There seemed to be quite a few scenes and shots that were teased as part of the marketing that never made it into the final cut.
While it’s not uncommon for deleted scenes to appear in trailers and such, Fantastic Four is a unique case because A. So much has been made about what was and wasn’t changed in the edit, and B. The impact of the scenes appearing in trailers that don’t show up in the film is significant.
With that said, let’s take a look at some of the key shots of note:
So this is one of the big ones. This sequence was the “money shot” at the end of nearly every trailer and TV spot for the film…and yet it’s not in the movie. It appears to be a sequence showing The Thing on one of his military missions, and it likely would’ve been one of the major action beats of the film. It’s unclear why it was dropped, but Fox no doubt spent a fair amount of visual effects money on generating The Thing alone, so there must’ve been a serious reason to cut it.
Another big one: Reed met with Victor when he returned from Planet Zero! This is kind of huge. In the finished film, Victor essentially begins his death and destruction tour as soon as he gets back. But in this scene, which is in the first trailer, we hear Doom say, “Be ready for what’s coming,” to which Reed replies, “What is coming?”, then Victor says, “The answers.” This entire exchange and interaction is gone from the finished film, and it would’ve certainly helped the movie’s case if the relationship between Victor and Reed anyone had been further fleshed out. I am fascinated by how this all tied together originally.
The majority of the action stuff on Planet Zero appears to have been completed in reshoots as evidenced by Mara’s wig, but here’s a shot from the original ending. It’s emotional and looks to be a quiet moment between Sue and Johnny, which again might have been nice since their relationship doesn’t get very much attention in the finished film. Moreover, the movie’s third act feels breezy and nonchalant. This looks like it has serious emotional stakes.
And here are a couple of shots of what look to be backstories for Johnny and Ben. One of the movie’s big issues is that we don’t really know much about any of the characters. It’s possible more time spent with them before the accident—especially Ben—could have given them the emotional payoff the film is clearly looking for. Or it’s also possible this stuff just wasn’t very interesting and was bogging the movie down.
Will we ever get to see this footage in an actual cut of the film, or as deleted scenes? It sounds unlikely. For now, they’ll have to live as brief glimpses in the three official trailers that were released, which you can watch below.