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Ant-Man director Peyton Reed opens up about his aborted, early 2000s Fantastic Four film

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Jul 12, 2018

Hot on the heels of last week's blockbuster opening of his latest Marvel entry Ant-Man and the Wasp, Peyton Reed is reminiscing about that time in the early 2000s he almost made a Fantastic Four film.

As fans of the MCU know, the comedy director's vision never came to fruition. After a year spent developing the movie, Reed (who once wrote Universal's Back to the Future ride) left the project in 2003 due to creative differences with 20th Century Fox, which ultimately tapped Tim Story to make what would become 2005's commercially successful but critically savaged Fantastic Four.

Fantastic Four 2005

That comic book flick, which starred Jessica Alba and Chris Evans, who would later, of course, go on to play Captain America, earned a mere 27 percent on Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer and was followed by a middling sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer that subsequently killed the franchise.

Now after the box office success of his two Ant-Man installments, Reed recounted for the AV Club a conversation he had with Avengers director Joss Whedon about his vision for the super squad.

"The basic idea for that [movie] – which felt exciting to me at the time, and I think part of the reason I said that to Joss – was creating a set of superheroes with no secret identities," the filmmaker said.

Reed elaborated that his take was adventurous for its time in that it would have shown Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, The Thing and their fictitious home base, the Baxter Building, as "part of the fabric of New York" just like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building (Separately, he also told The Hollywood Reporter he had hoped to stage some major daytime fight sequences on Manhattan streets – another thing The Avengers ended up doing).

"These are things that really weren't done quite as much in 2003 and now they're kind of – they seem really passé," he added.

The helmer revealed he would have taken a different structural tact as well that wound up anticipating Whedon's approach to The Avengers.

"At one point we were toying with A Hard Day’s Night structure, where you skipped entirely over the origin stuff and just present them in full, Fantastic Four mode, but I have to say a lot of the stuff we talked about back then, you know, was Fantastic Four as dysfunctional family, and The Avengers did a great job of that," said Reed. "And there’s a lot of that DNA, I think, in the Ant-Man movies that really is about family, and heroes who have very intimate relationships with each other."

Perhaps after 2015's disastrous Fantastic Four reboot and with Disney potentially acquiring 20th Century Fox's film properties, including the fab four, Reed may yet try his luck putting a new spin on the story of Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, Johnny and Susan Storm after all.