With Josh Trank's "Fantastic Four" reboot now scheduled for a March 6, 2015 release date, things seem to be proceeding full steam ahead for Marvel's First Family. But one of the questions the filmmakers will have to wrestle with is the matter of the antagonists the FF will face in this new take on the venerable franchise.
While Doctor Doom is usually the first name that springs to mind when it comes to enemies of the Fantastic Four, he was used extensively in both of the Tim Story-directed features, and we also got Galactus (sort of) in "Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer". That certainly doesn't preclude either of them from playing a role in this new film, but the minds behind the movie may want to add a new threat to the mix that audiences haven't seen on the big-screen before, much as the "Amazing Spider-Man" reboot introduced the Lizard.
With that in mind, we're going to run down a list of five possibilities for Fantastic Four villains who could be introduced in the new film.
The hardcore comics fans among you may protest this possibility, pointing out that the Chitauri, a version of the Skrulls from Marvel's Ultimate line of comics, have already appeared as one of the major antagonists of the "Avengers" film. However, that incarnation of the Chitauri shared neither the appearance of the classic Skrulls nor the shape-shifting abilities that are their trademark, leaving the Skrulls a concept still open to exploration. The Skrulls are very much a part of the Fantastic Four's background, having made their debut in just the second issue of "Fantastic Four" back in 1962, using their metamorphic powers to infiltrate and set Earth up for conquest. If Fox wants them in the film, it's likely that their close ties to the Fantastic Four group of characters will make them available, regardless of Marvel Studios' plans for the Chitauri.
The Frightful Four
It's hard to go wrong when you've got a team designed from the get-go to be the heroes' opposite numbers. Traditionally led by Bentley Whitman, AKA the Wizard, a brilliant but egotistical inventor determined to prove his superiority to Reed Richards, the Frightful Four's roster has changed many times over the years, which could afford the filmmakers flexibility in character choices. Some of this terrifying team's mainstays have included The Trapster, A.K.A. Peter Petruski, A.K.A. Paste Pot Pete, a classic Marvel villain who's just the right amount of silly with his gimmick of super-gluing heroes in order to incapacitate them, and Medusa, a member of the Inhuman Royal Family who possesses prehensile hair (on her head), and really isn't such a bad lady-- she just became amnesiac and fell in with the wrong crowd. One frequent Frightful Four follower who almost certainly won't be appearing in an FF film anytime soon is Sandman, whom Sony has the rights to as part of the Spider-Man character group.
The Mole Man
Before you guffaw, consider the possibilities the Mole Man affords. He's ultimately a tragic, Phantom of the Opera-like figure; cast out from normal society due to his freakish looks, and driven underground where he becomes more than slightly unbalanced. He has also achieves mastery of a vast subterranean empire, an army of mole people known colloquially as Moloids, and gigantic monsters at his command that would put Godzilla to shame. With a little tweaking, he could pose a very serious threat to the Fantastic Four in their new film. Surface worlders, tremble!
We've talked about Annihilus a number of times here in Galaxy Guide, mostly in the context of his invasion of our dimension which came to be known as the Annihilation War. But it was Reed Richards who first discovered Annihilus' home dimension, the Negative Zone, in the pages of the 1966's "Fantastic Four" #51, and eventually met Annihilus himself in 1968's "Fantastic Four Annual" #6. Annihilus is a truly demented villain, having one singular obsession—the extermination of all other life in existence, seeing that as the only way to secure his own. His cosmic control rod, a near limitless source of energy, gives him the power to achieve his goals, and if that weren't enough to make him a compelling villain, he's also got an appropriately creepy look, shrouded in insectoid armor with a pair of bat-like wings sprouting from his shoulders. But Annihilus' greatest secret lies inside that armor; rather than the fearsome conqueror he portrays to all, he is in fact a small, hyper-evolved insect with delusions of grandeur, and a paranoia that masks how small and pathetic he truly is.
The Puppet Master
How can you defeat a foe who can turn you against the ones you love? The Puppet Master's ability to shape miniatures of the Fantastic Four and manipulate them to make the real heroes do his bidding makes him one of their most challenging and disturbing enemies. He also has a complex relationship with the FF, as he is both the step-father of the Thing's girlfriend, Alicia Masters, as well as the man responsible for blinding her and killing her father, in an accident born of his petty jealousy. At times, he seems to sincerely care for Alicia, but this hasn't stopped his conflicts with the FF; indeed, he came to fiercely resent the Thing's romantic interest in his step-daughter. There are certain elements of the character that would probably have to be updated were he to make it into the movies; his somewhat cartoonish appearance would probably have to be toned down, and modern audiences would likely not accept "radioactive clay" as an explanation for his ability to create the controlling figures. Still, the fundamentals of the Puppet Master's character could add another interesting dimension to any new "Fantastic Four" film.
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