Lost in all the hoopla about the X-Men and Spider-Man reboots? Let's talk about the other franchise that Marvel is resurrecting. Yes, Fantastic Four begins again, with a new producer, writer, and now a title.
Reports indicate that the reboot will be called Fantastic Four Reborn. This is partially based on Fox reserving the URL for www.fantasticfourreborn.com, which isn't exactly confirmation (studios tend to reserve the web addresses for a lot of potential titles), but it does give some indication of the direction the new film will likely take.
Much like the title Batman Begins tacitly made it clear that Christopher Nolan was going back to the start of the Batman mythos and completely erasing the four previous movies, Fantastic Four Reborn suggests an acknowledgment the franchise need a complete do-over after two movies that really didn't work. "Reborn" also evokes Marvel Comics events like Ed Brubaker's recent, well-received "Captain America Reborn" (and some other, earlier miniseries that weren't nearly so well received.)
The new Fantastic Four movie has quietly been picking up steam since it was announced last year. Akiva Goldsman was announced as the producer, whose genre credits include writing for Fringe, I, Robot, and, um, the Joel Schumacher Batman movies. (Let's just hope he's learned his lesson.) He's also producing the upcoming Jonah Hex movies.
When asked about the project late last year, original Johnny Storm portrayer Chris Evans said he doubted he would be involved, what with it being a reboot and all (which is now pretty much a certainty, considering he's the new Captain America). He did, however, applaud the efforts to make the new film a little darker and grittier than the rather cartoony first two Fantastic Four movies:
I think there's room to readjust the tone in "Fantastic Four" as it was for "Batman". You know, "Batman" took on a very cartoony feel towards the end and even in the beginning. It was a lighter movie, even though it was Tim Burton. It was still a lighter film and the newer Batman's have just been amazing, so I'm all for good filmmaking. If they can go make a good dark edgy "Fantastic Four" right on.
Since then, Michael Green has come on board to write the script. His previous work is mainly as a producer and writer on Smallville and Heroes, which I guess doesn't necessarily mean he can't still write a good screenplay. He also co-wrote the Green Lantern script and is now beginning work on the sequel.
Although the creative team doesn't have the most inspiring set of credits (it seems a bit perverse to ask the guy who wrote Batman & Robin to produce your gritty reboot, but that's just me), at least this prospective title does signal a recognition that a bold new direction needs to be taken to make Fantastic Four work on the screen.