Fantastic Four Jack Kirby

Fantastic Four plot rumors take strange legal twist

Contributed by
Feb 4, 2014, 4:33 PM EST

Remember that alleged storyline for the upcoming Fantastic Four movie that was denied by director Josh Trank? It's come back to life thanks to some possibly overzealous studio lawyers.

It was just under two weeks ago that a rumored synopsis of the Fantastic Four reboot -- one that drastically altered the team's origin story -- made the rounds online and sent fans into either screaming fits of rage or shock-induced catatonia. Director Josh Trank quickly took to Twitter to debunk the story, claiming unequivocally that the alleged storyline was "not anything close to the synopsis."

But a new wrinkle emerged today, with Comic Book Movie reporting that several websites were asked by the 20th Century Fox legal department to remove the synopsis. Now, if the leaked plotline were false, Fox would not have jurisdiction over it and the sites could keep it up ... but that also means the opposite could be true: Fox does have the right to ask the sites to remove the synopsis if, in fact, it is the real thing or close enough to it.

The British site Den Of Geek received a letter from the studio's attorneys stating, "These purported plot details provide important qualitative details about character, plot, setting and mood, thereby violating Fox's rights in the copyrights to the screenplay of the Fox Property." 

The letter added, "Further, the disclosure of purported plot details is harmful to Fox and to the filmmakers hard at work on the also spoils the theater experience for fans who do not want to know even the rough storyline beforehand." (Italics added for emphasis.)

Other sites apparently received the same notice (see the tweet below from Ain't It Cool News writer Eric "Quint" Vespe), although Blastr has yet to feel the wrath of Fox's legal eagles. But the fact that these letters have gone out had to raise the question of whether that purported storyline is real -- and just as we were finishing this story, Trank got on the phone with Badass Digest, denying the whole thing again and saying, "The only truth in that plot description is that there are four characters named Reed, Ben, Sue and Johnny" (the director apparently has no idea why Fox sent out those letters, either).

What do you think? Is Trank being honest. or do Fox's actions prove that the leaked storyline is at least partially accurate? And did the legal department just reveal their hand by demanding that the details be taken down?