I think at this point it’s fair to say that last year’s Fantastic Four was a disappointment. Despite some vociferous defence from within the Nerdifi ranks, the film generally left a bad taste in the mouths of both critics and audiences. Sa bad, in fact, that Fox discretely removed the intended sequel from its upcoming schedule (along with the Gambit movie which we all knew wasn’t going to happen anyway).
I re-watched the film recently, and I think I might have been too generous when we reviewed it on the podcast.
One of the film’s biggest issue was that it clearly had no idea what to do with its antagonist Viktor
Dumaschev Von Doom. This got me thinking, that for whatever reason Dr Doom has been a tough nut for filmmakers to crack. Doom is without a doubt one of the best villains under the Marvel banner and rather than rush him out in the inevitable third reboot (because that’s what we’ll be getting whether the rights go back to Marvel or not), why not have another villain as the first film’s antagonist and take the time to get Doom absolutely right in a sequel?
If Marvel Studios or Fox or whoever decide to go that route I have some Fantastically Fiendish Foes to suggest!
Also known as Revka Scryos (as the name does sound a bit cheesy by today’s standards but, hey, if the Distinguished Competition can get away with Brainiac…) a resident of Sub-Atomica in the Microverse and mad scientist. In an effort to save his planet from overpopulation, Scryos decides to invade ours with the help of his Control Box which manipulates the emotions of those around him inducing mostly feelings of fear, doubt and hatred. He also has a giant (yet regular size to us) exo-skeleton that he controls from the inside, not unlike that tiny Perogi-chomping alien from Men In Black (1997). The Fantastic Four are, at their heart, explorers and adventurers; a facet barely touched upon in film thus far. How cool would it be to see them go on a ‘Fantastic Voyage’ to see worlds within worlds? If they choose to keep elements of Trank’s continuity, who’s to say Planet Zero wasn’t in the Microverse? (Although to be fair, in the MCU’s Ant-Man we’ve already been teased with the Microverse and we’ll likely see a version of it in its sequel).
I would love to see the FF face an adversary that can manipulate all of their emotions and bring all their resentment for each other to a boiling point. One of my favourite tropes of The First Family is the bickering between them.
As for his motivation it is righteous and yet his ends don’t justify the cruel means. Throw in a Napoleon Complex and you’ve quite a compelling antagonist.
A race of reptilian shape shifting aliens whose existence pre-dates our own by aeons. The Skrulls were a peaceful race until the more war-like Kree set off an intergalactic war. The rest is history.
One of their oldest foes in comics (indeed, because of rights issues they had to be substituted with the Chitauri in Marvels first Avengers movie), the Skrulls have continually tried to conquer Earth with equal parts strength and subterfuge.
In the crossover event “Secret Invasion” they came very close to absolute victory by infiltrating every echelon of world power; having replaced world leaders, military leaders and many superheroes the tag line was ‘Who do you trust?’ (Hubba, hubba hubba, money, money, money!)
If Fox took this premise and made a science fiction mystery thriller, X-Files kind of movie David Icke and the conspiracy theorists would go nuts for it!
This also creates opportunities to play on the conflict between the four by having he Skrulls impersonate them.
The Skrulls don’t have any innate superpowers themselves apart from shape-changing but they could, by the finale of the film, have stolen the FF’s genetic material and used it to empower K’lrt The Super Skrull, who has all their abilities and more. While you’re at it, why not throw in a love story between Lyja & Johnny for a bit inter-species action.
I love super villain team-ups and this is no different. Again, because of movie rights issues it would difficult to include the original line-up (including Sandman (Sony), Medusa (Marvel), The Leader (Universal/Marvel) & MODOK (Marvel)) of either group but mixed together you have some of the FF’s greatest enemies.
From Venom to Bizarro, who doesn’t love to see dark mirror-images of beloved Superheroes?
Imagine a rival think-tank their ousting the team from the Baxter Building. Maybe they are constantly coming up with superior ideas that they are in fact secretly stealing from the four and being heralded as visionaries while rushing them into production and inadvertently causing a planet level threat. Whatever the story, this would be my line up…
Wizard: A genius almost on par with Reed Richards but consumed by jealousy and is a master of manipulating gravitational fields.
Mad Thinker (male or female): Her computer-like mind makes her the foremost expert in robotics, to the extent that she can transfer her consciousness into android duplicates and her adept understanding of probabilities makes her almost precognitive.
Dragon Man: an Android designed by The Thinker to stand up to The Thing and look just as fearsome with super strength, flight and fire breathing abilities.
Red Ghost (male or female): A Russian geneticist with a fondness for the company of apes experiments on them and him/herself with the dimensional energies that gave the four their powers. Intangibility, magnetism, super strength & shape-shifting are the powers they receive.
The Fantastic Four is a bizarre and kooky comic with its very own brand of pseudo science and part of me thinks you need to steer into that skid.
This group would be a great way to do that.
The Living Death That Walks as he’s also known is a highly intelligent insect from The Negative Zone (which is where the F4 gained there powers in one iteration) who is obsessed with immortality. Annihilus uses his cosmic control rod and his army of ravenous insects The Annihilation Wave to destroy any and all life that might stand a chance of ending his.
I feel that would’ve been perfect for this reboot and he wouldn’t have had to speak just to give it that Ridley Scott’s Alien feel (as was the tone of Trank’s film, particularly in the Planet Zero sequences).
Such a threat would’ve given more time for the four to interact, and for the film to explore their characters while trying to figure out how to stop an invasion force that has destroyed countless planets (and enslaved Galactus himself). Again who’s to say Planet Zero isn’t part of The Negative Zone? This also keeps the explorer element in the film and for finale of the film they could all be sucked it the Annihilation Area much like the effect of a black hole while still trying to fight off Annihilus and escape.
That would be epic.
Honourable mentions: Diablo, Mole Man, Aaron the rogue watcher and Blastaar