Rich Johnston over at Bleeding Cool is quoting a “rather well-connected source” that FOX has fired Josh Trank off of the Fantastic Four reboot and has dumped Simon Kinberg’s script at the same time. The actors who have already been cast, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell, are not guaranteed their jobs and most likely will be recast.
Now, it would be prudent to point out that Johnston is Bleeding Cool’s comic book gossip monger and not their movie gossip monger (that would be Brendon Connelly). This doesn’t mean that the rumor isn’t true. After all, the folks at Marvel’s comic arm could be Johnston’s source. But it is a reason to doubt.
Another reason for doubt is that the shake-up happens just weeks before shooting should be starting. Johnston said filming was due to start in 6 months, which seems a bit too close to the film’s June 19,2015 release date for a film this effects heavy to be done right. Of course, I did theorize that another release date change was not out of the question back when the film was moved from March to June. But it seems likely shooting would have to begin in May or June, not September. That leaves no time fore a new crew to come in and start over from scratch.
What gives weight to this rumor is the fact that practically every bit of rumor and innuendo about the reboot that has come down the pike has been met with scorn and ridicule, be it Michael B. Jordan being cast as Johnny Storm, a plot synopsis that majorly changed the story from the comic book–a synopsis Trank denied was real but Fox made us take down anyway, Josh Gad being in the running for the Thing, or the possibility that Doctor Doom would be a woman. Each rumor was more incendiary that the one before it, so much so that the reboot has the smell of a trainwreck in the making.
And the grumbling was of the tenor that it could not just be written off as fanboy whining or casual racism (in the case of the uproar over Jordan’s casting). All the changes highlighted in these rumors had the air of Josh Trank trying to make the project his own. Depending on how many were true, and it seems a quite a bit of them were, it turned the reboot into a Fantastic Four film in name only. It was less Trank putting his personal stamp on it than him putting a more marketable name on an original property. Of course fans of the 50+ year property would be upset. And since Fox wants to make a franchise out the Fantastic Four so badly that it would rather let Daredevil go than let Marvel use any part of the franchise, the fact that the hardcore fanbase just wouldn’t let up on the complaints might cause the studio to take some sort of action.
However, I won’t truly believe this until I see the press releases saying Trank is gone, or, at the very least, the announcement that the film’s release has been delayed again. There are too many things at play for this to be 100% plausible. I’ll be hoping that it is true, but I won’t be holding my breath.