The bottomless well of Fantastic Four gossip just keeps on springing leaks: Today’s juicy details involve one of Josh Trank’s deleted scenes that controversially got cut from the final film. But it wasn’t just more awkward flirting between Kata Mara and Miles Teller that Fox allegedly axed; it was an entire action scene involving Jamie Bell’s the Thing, who ended up with less screen time than his three Fantastic colleagues. That wasn’t always the plan: EW, speaking with a dozen sources who worked on the film, describes a blockbuster brawl involving the Thing moments after the catastrophe on Planet Zero. In the scene, the blast sends him flying toward a Chechen rebel camp (because why not), where they mistake the pile of rocks for a bomb or missile and open fire once he lands. That’s where the bulk of Bell’s clobberin’ time was supposed to occur:
Rather than some elegant, balletic action sequence, The Thing moves slowly and deliberately. He’s in no hurry. The storytelling goal was to show the futility of firepower against him as he casually demolishes the terrorists. It’s a blue-collar kind of heroism.
When it becomes clear this rock-beast cannot be stopped, the surviving Chechen rebels make a run for it – and that’s when a hail of gunfire finishes them off.
From the shadows of the surrounding forest, a team of Navy SEALS emerge with their guns drawn and smoking. The cavalry has arrived, but the enemy has already been subdued.
The film would then have shifted to a bird’s-eye view of the camp, an aerial shot showing waves of American soldiers flooding in to secure the base. Just when it appears the American soldiers may be ready to clash with the rock monster, The Thing gives them a solemn nod, and they clear a path. He lumbers past them, almost sadly, a heartsick warrior. Then he boards a large helicopter and is lifted away.
Instead of this sequence, the version of the film playing in theaters now transitions from the accident to an army medical facility, and then jumps ahead one year later, after Reed Richards escapes — all in a matter of about ten minutes. There’s no telling whether or not Trank’s action scene would’ve been a better segue, but at least now we have an idea why the second half of the film feels so rushed. As for why it got cut, depending on which source you ask, it was either because Trank changed his mind or because Fox slashed the budget. Ultimately, they say, it was Trank who made the final decision to scrap it.
Hilariously, footage from the missing scene still made it into at least one of the film’s trailers. If you skip to the 2:09 mark in the trailer below, you’ll actually see the Thing getting fired at during a scene that isn’t in the movie. May the hot goss never end!