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Why we didn’t see the Thing jump out of a plane
The hits just keep on coming for director Josh Trank’s thoroughly clobbered Fantastic Four reboot. On the heels of reports that Trank and his leading man, Miles Teller nearly came to blows on set, as well as news of the movie’s record second-week box office plunge, Entertainment Weekly has pieced together the story behind the film’s most famous deleted scene. Early trailers for the new FF outing teased a sequence where Jamie Bell’s big, burly Thing dive-bombs from an airplane Captain America-style (i.e. without a parachute) to get some clobbering done. But that set-piece is nowhere to be found in the theatrical version, giving critics and audiences fresh reason to complain that this iteration of Marvel’s First Family is all talk and no action.
According to EW, here’s what we were supposed to see had Trank had his way. In the director’s original timeline, the movie still took that awkward “One Year Later” leap right after Reed Richards (Teller), Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), Ben Grimm (Bell), return from their disastrous trip to Planet Zero, where they — along with Sue Storm (Kate Mara) — acquire their fantastic (or, for them, just plain horrifying) powers. Following the purposefully jarring time jump, Trank intended to plunge the audience straight into an action sequence with the Thing staging a daring late-night raid on a Chechen rebel camp on behalf of his new employer: the U.S. government.
Watch glimpses of the missing scene towards the end of this trailer:
Free-falling through the drop zone and then cratering into the soil, the Thing slowly, methodically rises and marches through wave after wave of gun-toting rebels, their bullets bouncing uselessly off his stony hide. (Brief glimpses of that moment are featured are also featured in the official FF trailer.) Realizing they’re defeated, the Chechens flee into the waiting arms of the Navy SEALs, while the grim Grimm is flown away from the battlefield aboard a chopper. It’s a scene that sounds straight out of a horror movie about an unstoppable monster — rather than a comic book adventure about a stalwart superhero — which squares with Trank’s previous comments that he approached the material as an opportunity to explore the kind of “body horror” practiced by the likes of David Cronenberg.
Despite complementing his overall vision for the film, EW’s reporting suggests that Trank wrestled with whether or not to include the sequence, ultimately choosing to drop it during pre-production. On the other hand, other sources insist that the embattled director always intended to film the scene — even creating a previsualization to illustrate how it would look and the effects work involved — but the studio overruled him due to budgetary concerns. In either event, the sequence was added back to the production calendar midway through the shoot after Fox grew concerned about the movie’s lack of clobbering time.
But by then, relations between the studio and Trank had reportedly grown so strained that the director wasn’t invited to participate. In his absence, the crew departed from the version of the scene as outlined in his previsualization and filmed it employing a hand-held method that clashed with the visual style Trank had established throughout the rest of the movie, and made the task of completing the visual effects more complicated. Fed up, Trank used his waning power to consign the entire scene to the cutting room floor, where it was later re-acquired by the separate team responsible for producing an action-packed trailer.
Who wants to start the petition to get this deleted scene (as well as the missing Fantasticar appearance) on the Blu-ray?