Is This Four 'Fantastic'?1 of 12After months of increasingly agitated fans and swirling rumors about a production in trouble, the first teaser trailer for Josh Trank's upcoming Fantastic Four movie hit the web, and it paints a much different picture of the film than muckraking and rumor-mongering have lead us to expect.
Clocking in at just under two minutes, the trailer more than makes up for the relative lack of press by cramming in more clues, nods, and story bits than we could reasonably examine here, not to mention what we believe is the "Easter Egg" hinted at by Trank in the trailer's accompanying interview at Collider.
Still, with so much to unpack, we thought it best to take our usual route and highlight some of the most important and intriguing bits of the teaser. So, without further ado, we present Ten Things Worth Noticing in the Fantastic Four Trailer!
Science Heroes2 of 12One thing that is immediately noticeable about Trank's vision is how unlike a traditional superhero movie it feels. Many of the FF's traditional guideposts are in place - their powers, their personalities - but this trailer portrays Reed, Ben, Sue, and Johnny as "science heroes," not superheroes.
This idea of "science heroes" is totally fitting with the original vision of the Fantastic Four. Although they helped revive the superhero genre and created the Marvel Age, the FF have always been about exploration and innovation more than simply fighting crime or righting wrongs.
Fantastic Four: Origins3 of 12While the superhero origin story may be falling out of favor, Trank's Fantastic Four looks to veer far more solidly into sci-fi territory, possibly making a retelling of the team's beginnings more palatable to origin-weary audiences. But the trailer doesn't just show how these characters become heroes, it also gives brief background info on our four leads.
Interspersed with shots of our heroes exploring an unknown location and developing their powers are scenes of a young Ben and Reed doing experiments in a garage marked "Grimm Salvage," along with Johnny working on a souped-up car, Ben playing baseball, and Sue working in some kind of government facility.
Negative Zone4 of 12According to writer Simon Kinberg, the idea of the Fantasic Four traveling to "another dimension" was "part of our earliest conversations." This confirms the evident idea that the machine prominently featured in the trailer is some kind of teleportation device. But, when asked directly whether this other dimension was the Negative Zone, Kinberg and Trank refused to confirm or deny.
Home to many of the FF's major baddies, including Blastaar and Annihilus, the hostile environment of the Negative Zone is one of the core aspects of FF lore. There's also the fact that a portal to the Negative Zone is exactly what granted the Ultimate Fantastic Four their powers, a comic cited by Kinberg and Trank as a major influence.
Sacrifice5 of 12There's a line in Reg E. Cathy's voiceover that says, "With every new discovery, there is risk. There is sacrifice. And there are consequences." Interspersed with this line are shots of Ben escaping from a rocky cocoon, Johnny flaming on, and more. It's one of the darkest moments of the trailer, portraying the characters' powers as consequences rather than gifts.
Interestingly, there's also a shot of Sue cradling Johnny's head in the location we're assuming is the Negative Zone. This could be a nod to Fantastic Four #600, where Johnny died fighting back Annihilus in the Negative Zone. It's probably way too early in the franchise to kill off a main character, but the tease could be an homage to that story. And, to be fair, it's not like Johnny was really dead then, either.
We Have the Power6 of 12With a somewhat more grounded science fiction approach to the material, it's easy to fear that the FF's powers would be lost or downplayed in the execution. But that doesn't seem to be the case here - far from it, in fact. Each of the Fantastic Four gets a moment to show off, even subtly, their unique gifts.
Along with several shots of Johnny bursting into flames, we all see him torching Sue Storm as she summons up a force field. There's also that shot of Ben Grimm breaking from what appears to be an earth-y cocoon, and of course, that brief glimpse of Reed desperately stretching off camera. With so much "super" on display, it seems that this is less Trank's attempt to distance himself from the superhero genre, and more his stab at slashing it with science fiction.
Location, Location, Location7 of 12Several interesting locations are on display in this trailer. Aside from the aforementioned Negative Zone, there are some significant Earthly locations visited throughout the trailer -- and we're not just talking Grimm Salvage. On a smaller scale, much of the action seems to take place in a lab or science facility, possibly one owned or operated by the military. We have shots of several action scenes taking place in one particular hallway.
But on a larger scale, there are several shots of the New York skyline, one of which defines an area around 5th Ave. and 58th street as the epicenter of some kind of blast. While this is a few blocks off of the Baxter Building's comic book location, this may in fact be the Fantastic Four's headquarters making its appearance.
Further, there's a shot of Sue Storm watching some location markers appear on a digital map. Most importantly, we see a blip somewhere in Europe that seems to align pretty closely with the fictional location of Latveria, home of the FF's arch-enemy Dr. Doom. But also on that map are two locations in Africa, one of which seems to line up almost exactly with Wakanda, home of the Black Panther, according to comics. Could this be the Easter Egg Trank mentioned keen-eyed fans would spot in the trailer? As far as we know, Black Panther's movie rights are retained exclusively by Marvel, but the character and his homeland did debut in the Fantastic Four comic series.
Six Figures8 of 12We know our heroes are the Fantastic Four. So... Why are there six of them in this shot? It's easy to assume that one of these characters is Doom, but who is the sixth? Also complicating the matter are Josh Trank's comments about the black suits - the second ones we see in the trailer - which Trank has confirmed are "containment suits" designed to contain their powers.
Does this mean that six people gained powers from the Negative Zone? Or is Trank's language simply making the timeline confusing? One thing is for sure, the containment suits play directly into Trank's more sci-fi influenced vision of the team. And while it seems like they'll get more specialized suits at some point, they'll be foregoing their classic blue uniforms entirely if what we see on the trailer is the extent of things.
Doom9 of 12The biggest hole in this trailer seems to be the lack of the FF's primary nemesis, Dr. Doom. While actor Toby Kebbell had a lot to say about Doom's role in the film some time ago, very little of what he says lines up with the tidbits shown in this trailer. Not sure what we're talking about? We'll break down the clues.
As we've established, six figures enter the machine in black suits. We can assume Reed, Sue, Ben, and Johnny are among them, along with Doom, and a sixth person. We also see a shot of someone laying on the ground, their suit destroyed, crawling towards the camera. Later, we see a figure - presumably Doom - walking down a hallway repelling gunfire. And finally, there's that scene of a man laying in a hospital bed, clad in a mask, and what appears to be an ashen version of one of the containment suits.
Assuming each of these pieces do in fact build to Doom, the picture being painted doesn't exactly point to a disgruntled blogger.
Discovery10 of 12If there is a prevailing theme to this trailer, it is one of discovery and exploration, of science which breaks boundaries and changes the world. And what more fitting theme is there for the Fantastic Four, a team which made its name by setting trends and developing ideas that are still driving comics to this day?
As for how this idea relates to the relative darkness of much of the trailer, Simon Kinberg had this to say, "“It has to stem from a grounded experience. You can’t have bad without good, you can’t have right without wrong, you can’t have fantastic without mundane. You need to experience all that to really earn the title of the film, ‘Fantastic Four’.”
Answers?11 of 12In one of the trailer's final shots, Reed stands over a figure in a hospital bed - we're assuming it's Doom, thanks to the mask on his face, and the look of the room compared to Ben's transformation chamber - while the figure warns Reed to "Be ready for what's coming." And when Reed asks what's coming, the figure says, cryptically, "The answers."
The answers to which questions? It's a fitting way to end this teaser, with a bit of mystery and suspense. But what this points to, overall, is a deeper conspiracy at play in the Fantastic Four movie. Will the government play a role in the team's transformation? Could the accident that causes the team's changes have had a more sinister cause?
Like Reed, we'll just have to wait and see.
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