One of the biggest headscratchers surrounding the Fantastic Four reboot – aside from its quality – was the staggering amount of unused footage. Trailers, TV spots and featurettes showcased a quartet whose powers were demonstrated in ever-exciting ways, with one particular character’s appearance causing the most pre-release hype. The Thing. Witnessed leaping from great heights to suffering unstoppable carnage — the teasing had begun.
And that’s where it ended. None of the fantastic things in store for Jamie Bell’s mo-capped beast made their way into the movie. That brief trailer-closing scene as Thing drops from a fighter jet to infiltrate a terrorist camp? Cut due to budgetary restraints. That shot of Thing marching into gunfire? The same. Except now we’ve an idea of how that latter scene would have slotted into the overall movie, thanks to a scoop from EW.
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According to the site, the moment in the movie when the narrative leaps forward a year should have played quite differently. Once Reed departs the facility leaving Ben, Johnny, and Sue behind, the next scene was intended to jump to this fantastic (ahem) reveal of Grimm’s new form:
A Chechen rebel camp in the wee hours of the night. There’s no explanation for where we are, but there are soldiers speaking a foreign language, and they are loading up some heavy-duty weaponry.
Crews are filling truck beds with the gear, preparing to mobilize – then a siren goes off. Everyone freezes, and one by one they turn their faces to the sky. A stealth bomber whispers by overhead, and a large object falls from it, streaking through the air at great speed.
The object – a bomb, a missile? – collides with the earth in the center of the camp, sending debris is all directions. The soldiers take cover, then tentatively emerge and walk toward the crater, where there is a giant pile of orange boulders.
Slowly, the rocks begin to move on their own, becoming arms, legs, a torso, a head …
This rock-figure lumbers out of the smoke, and the soldiers level their weapons – then open fire.
As The Thing lurches into view, bullets spark and ping off his impenetrable exterior.
Rather than some elegant, balletic action sequence, The Thing moves slowly and deliberately. He’s in no hurry. The storytelling goal was to show the futility of firepower against him as he casually demolishes the terrorists. It’s a blue-collar kind of heroism.
When it becomes clear this rock-beast cannot be stopped, the surviving Chechen rebels make a run for it – and that’s when a hail of gunfire finishes them off.
From the shadows of the surrounding forest, a team of Navy SEALS emerge with their guns drawn and smoking. The cavalry has arrived, but the enemy has already been subdued.
EW’s sources differ over why this particular scene was excised from the theatrical cut. One group suggests that director Josh Trank himself decided to remove it after going back-and-forth on its inclusion. Another sect of intel tells a different story, that hews closer to Trank’s beef with Fox, implying that he did want it in but was forced to remove it when the budget was reduced. The glimpse in the trailer of Thing stomping into that hail of bullets was taken from a re-shoot ordered by Fox, that betrayed Trank’s early pre-visualization storyboards — so he axed it.
Without question, the behind-the-scenes travails of Fantastic Four are shaping up to be a far more compelling yarn than the actual film itself. Now the question is, how long until we get the inevitable documentary on its downfall?