It took 20th Century Fox over a decade, and despite three separate attempts to make it work, the studio just couldn't crack the Fantastic Four franchise. The latest misstep came in 2015 when director Josh Trank attempted to tackle the property in a widely lambasted film plagued with behind the scenes controversy. But it almost didn't go down that way, according to screenwriter Zack Stentz.
While appearing on Kevin Smith's Fatman Beyond podcast, Stentz revealed that he was originally brought on to handle the script for Trank's movie, but that Trank himself had no idea Stentz was involved.
"The other thing that's never going to happen is the version that [Ashley Miller] and I did of the Fantastic Four," Stentz said on the show. "Josh Trank, who ended up doing the Fantastic Four that we saw in the theaters, we were supposed to be writing the script for him but nobody told him that we were doing it. So, when he officially signed on he was like, 'Why are you imposing these other writers on me? I want to use my own writer. I wanna do my own script.' And he did his version instead."
Stentz added, "It was one of those hammer blows to our career at the time, even though we had gotten paid, because I was so freakin' proud of that script. It was how the Fantastic Four were almost the Fantastic Five except a young man named Victor von Doom was just too damaged and f---ed up to be part of them. It was a script I was very proud of. Josh Trank didn't wanna do it."
Stentz went on to explain that he and Trank have since buried the hatchet over the writer's negative comments. He also revealed that he wrote a secret project for Fox, a crossover of many of their popular Marvel characters including Deadpool, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and Daredevil.
"[Ashley Miller] and I, when we were working at Fox and we were working on X-Men: First Class, we did a secret movie for them that, I can't tell you what the plot was, but I can tell you that it used all of the characters, all of the Marvel characters that Fox had at the time in 2011. It used the X-Men. It used the Fantastic Four. It used Daredevil. It used Deadpool. Daredevil was still at Fox at the time. We almost had Paul Greengrass directing it which would've been so cool but he had another project to do instead. It didn't end up going but it was a script I was really proud of and it would've been really good."
It sounds like Fox had a lot of promising projects in the work, but for some reason couldn't put the right pieces together.
Stentz' latest movie Rim of the World is now playing on Netflix.