Fantastic Four and the chamber of sequels







People went crazy when the first trailer aired. It was bold. It was daring. It was the long awaited retribution for the previous disappointing movies. But then reality happened. Several re-shoots caused the movie to go over budget and the director was locked out of the final editing pass. This wasn’t exactly the best news to hear. By the time it hit projectors across the world, it was too late. Its fate has been sealed with an 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 27% rating on Metacritic. And yet Hollywood still wants a sequel?

The fall-out from this awful movie has gotten people asking questions. What is up with Sue Storm’s hair? Why was Doctor Doom so lame? But most important of all: If the studios ruined their first chance at a reboot, how much worse could they screw up a sophomore sequel? If you can’t find it in your heart to imagine any of these answers, don’t worry. It’s so easy; it practically plays out by itself…

Hollywood, CA. – A Studio Underling sits at a generic business type conference table. His skinny tie feels a bit tight on his fragile pencil like neck as he waits to discuss the new direction of the Fantastic Four sequel. He’s been in this type of meeting before. He knows what’s coming: a flurry of updates and changes threatening to disfigure his beloved project. The door swings open like the sharpening of an ax. It’s the Bigshot Executive moving fast to sit down. Common pleasantries cost too much time and time is after all money.

Bigshot Executive: We have some major changes. I understand you all have you own “artistic vision” or whatever and that’s fine. We just have to push this movie’s profitability up through the stratosphere. The first movie was a stinker and this is going to be the movie that will turn things around. I can feel it. We have done our market research and we think we have solved everything. People don’t want fun movies anymore. They want grit and emotion.

Studio Underling: Uhmm… okay but I believe we signed off on everything and we-

BE: Superheroes are all about emotion now. It’s not like before where you show a CGI dragon and everyone claps. We have to show some broken people really dealing with emotions. Something where superheroes think a lot and brood about life and stuff. They want every scene a different shade of cold blue, rain, introspection and one on one emotional conflict. Y’know. Drama.

SU: But sir, that been done way too much before. Besides, I don’t think we have space in the script for all of that confrontation.

BE: Blah! We have four superheroes in this movie right? That means four times the emotion. Everyone will love it. Maybe we could work in some daddy issues or domestic violence. And we need the characters always confronting each other for some real human drama. Like scenes in a dark room with just two people talking type drama. Think 24 but with superpowers!

SU: I don’t think we can actually look in to everyone’s personal history and resolve each one in the movie. That just seems like too much to me.

BE: Resolution? But the bad guy dies in the end. What other resolution do you need? Speaking of resolution, we need something for the kids. Something they can learn. We could make the new “With great power comes great responsibility” speech! Sports coaches will be quoting it for years. We could huddle up some rough neck minorities and teach them to love again through the power for teamwork. If it worked in the 90s then it can work again 20 years later.

SU: But you just said that it has to be gritty and real. Any life lesson you put in now next to all this unresolved conflict will just look hokey and cheesy.

BE: Yeah well it can be all of that. We should be making it about teamwork. Get it? Because they’re a team. The Avengers never said anything like that. Looks like were ahead of Marvel on this one!

SU: I’m sorry but we spend all this time trying to make things “gritty and real” like adding personal issues but then we nerf things and just say that teamwork saves the day? I’m sorry sir but that sounds like a mess.

BE: Quit overthinking these things. Trust the market research. As long as we keep them happy with stuff we know works, we will make a great sequel now all that origin story mess is out of the way.

SU: It just seems like too much. We won’t have enough time to make it seem like these people actually care about anything in particular. It just looks like they’re just taking things as they come.

BE: I know right? Typical teenagers but hey, nobody wants old action stars anymore. The kids like them young. It makes them more relatable and what not.

SU: Yeah but-

BE: Addiction!

SU: I’m sorry. What?

BE: That’s real drama right there. Real raw stuff. Maybe the Thing can pick up a habit. Look at that stony mug. You can tell just by the way he looks that he pops pills.

SU: But… I just…I….*sigh*…..Okay.

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