Twentieth Century Fox is rumored to be developing a Fantastic Four reboot with a more kid-friendly take following the response to their 2015 film. The last incarnation of the Fantastic Four was an unmitigated disaster for 20th Century Fox. There were rampant rumors of problems on set with director Josh Trank, the entire final act was rewritten, and it featured a tone so far removed from the source material that the film barely resembled its comic book counterpart.
Many fans had hoped the dismal returns and poor box office take would make Fox work with Marvel Studios in the same vein as Sony has with Spider-Man. Or failing that, letting the rights lapse so Marvel could reclaim the property. While Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says there are no plans to work with Fox for a Fantastic Four reboot and Fox producer Simon Kinberg says he’s unsure if the franchise will continue, odds are that Fox will want to take another crack at the property.
According to a source close to Bleeding Cool, Fox is not only looking ahead at rebooting the franchise but that there is already a draft of the screenplay floating around. Rumor has it that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter author Seth Grahame-Smith has penned a script that would focus on Reed Richards’ and Susan Storm’s children Franklin and Valeria.
The report also says that the Thing and the Human Torch will be along for the journey. It makes no mention of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman’s fate, however. It is possible that they are also in the film but the rumor makes it sound like the pair is most likely missing or dead. There is also the possibility that the film may not be a reboot at all. Since it wouldn’t be another origin film, there’s no reason that Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell couldn’t just reprise their roles and they would still be under contract.
Tonally, the new film will be more kid friendly and resemble The Incredibles rather than the bleak Cronenberg-like body horror of Trank’s Fantastic Four. It sounds like the studio is swinging back to something far more reminiscent of Tim Story’s Fantastic Four films from the mid 2000s. Like the Trank-helmed film, Story’s take on Marvel’s first family also didn’t fare that well with audiences but they were at least modest successes at the box office.
This rumor should be taken with a grain of salt. Kinberg has said that Fox learned their lesson about moving ahead too quickly before really thinking the project through. It should be noted that Jeremy Slater’s original screenplay of Trank’s movie involved Doombots, a 60-foot monster in Manhattan, and hinted at Galactus so even if the report is true, Grahame-Smith’s screenplay could go through a similar transformation — or be tossed out entirely. Having said that, the studio will need to produce a film before 2022 or the rights to the franchise will revert to Marvel. Fox may want to get the next iteration right, but there is a ticking clock to the project.