For those out there who may not be die-hard comic book fans, the 2005 and 2007 incarnations of Marvel’s original super hero team, are what they’re most familiar with. The older movies stayed quite true to the comics, and were received differently by many, but stay in the mind of many as “the way things should be”. So when a reboot of the Fantastic Four was announced, the first pill for people to swallow was the inclusion of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm. That uproar was followed swiftly by people questioning the age of the rest of the cast, and the “new tone” of the film. Director Josh Trank boldly advertised a more “sci-fi” tone than that of a traditional super hero film, and the look of the first trailer definitely feels like the 2014 Godzilla flick, (which the 2005 Fantastic 4 film was more like the 1998 Godzilla). But all that “different” left people quite curious, and now we have some answers. Check the teaser below, and let us know what you think.
Simply put, this iteration of the super hero team is based on the ‘Ultimate Fantastic Four’, as apposed to the Earth-616 continuity. (I’ll explain what that means for the non-nerds). In the mid 2000’s Marvel decided to reboot many of their famous characters, (Spiderman, The X-Men, Fantastic Four etc.) much the way Hollywood has been rebooting movies faster than a crashed PC. In the ‘Ultimate’ version of Fantastic Four, the character are child prodigies, and are recruited by the government in exchange for funding their work. Their powers, abilities and back stories are a bit different from the “regular” versions that exist in what Marvel calls “Earth 616”, so when the movies were to be re-booted, Trank and crew just used the source material from the re-booted Marvel universe.
In the ‘Ultimate’ universe Reed is a child genius who displayed his curiosity from the day he was born. At the age of 11, following a demonstration of his research on the field of teleportation at a school science fair, Reed was recruited for a government program which sponsors young geniuses’ research. He continued his research at the government research facility located in Manhattan’s Baxter Building. At the age of 21 his research was realized as he and several others attempted to teleport organic material through an alternate plane of existence called the N-Zone. The experiment went awry giving Reed and several others super powers. His powers enable him to stretch his body parts to incredible lengths and endow him with enhanced durability.
Gifted physically as a youth, Ben Grimm is Reed’s best “and only” friend. When they were in school together, Ben would protect Reed from various bullies, including ones “three years younger”, and in exchange Reed would help Ben with his math homework. Ben moved on to college and was invited to watch Reed’s teleportation experiment. Grimm woke up as the Thing in Mexico City. The teleportation through the N-Zone gave him an orange rocky hide which boosts his strength and makes him nigh-invulnerable to physical damage and physiologically stressful conditions (such as a toxic breathing environment), and he no longer feels differences in temperature. However, despite Ben’s seeming happy-go-lucky disposition, the transformation has caused deep psychological trauma.
The eldest child of renowned scientist Franklin Storm, Sue Storm inherited her father’s genius at an early age. Since early childhood, she has been one of the prodigies studying and working at the Baxter Building, a midtown Manhattan government research lab. Following her father into physics, at age eight she built a sugar-power rocket and accidentally destroyed her father’s car, after which she changed her focus to “inner space” biology. After attending the Nevada desert testing of Reed’s N-Zone dimensional teleporter, and being transformed, she made the study of herself and her three partners her new life’s work. Sue spent months investigating their abilities and charting their powers while improving her own understanding of herself. She has deduced the nature of both Reed and Johnny’s changes, though her own powers remain unexplained and she is unable to penetrate Ben’s skin to determine any more detail than his internal fluid pressure. Sue continues to develop her control of her force fields, using them to create pressurized environments at the bottom of the sea, plugging her own throat to prevent swallowing poison gas, and creating “cushions” to catch falling people and objects. Damage to her force fields also causes her mental strain or, in extreme cases, to black out.
Susan Storm’s younger brother is a short-tempered teen, who is enamored with good-looking girls and has a rock-star attitude. Also a high school drop out, the obvious “cool factor” of his powers only serves to heighten these personality traits: Johnny’s powers engulf him in flames that enable him to fly and shoot fiery projectiles. This power sometimes has detrimental effects on his body, as Johnny burns, (or more accurately fuses), his own body-fat to provide his ‘fuel’, and every so often, he “hibernates” and sheds off the skin cells that protect him from his own flames, growing new ones. Regardless, he finds the idea of being a real superhero incredibly exciting and firmly intends to sign up with The Ultimates once he is old enough, rather than continue hanging around the Baxter Building with the “nerds and geeks”.
No one in the public knows exactly how much of the source material above will be portrayed in the new movie, nor do we know the relationship between Sue and Johnny since they’re obviously not biologically siblings. But all that said, take another look at the trailer, and all the “inconsistencies” people have been griping about should at least have a little more meaning.