The new Fantastic Four teaser trailer premiered today, and though this summer superhero film hasn’t created the same frenzy as the next Avengers movie, it does give us a glimpse at a new generation of heroes. The trailer promises to tell the origins story of a group of space explorers who have a responsibility to “discover” and “build” for future generations. In short, it tells us very little about what to expect in August.
Still, here’s what we do know:
It’s covering the Fantastic Four origin story
Based on the trailer, audiences can expect this movie to tell us (again) how a group of astronauts became a crime-fighting team.
In the original Stan Lee and Jack Kirby comic books, four characters — Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Sue Storm (the Invisible Woman), Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) and Ben Grimm (the Thing) — travel to space in a rocket, where they encounter cosmic rays that give them superpowers. In an interview with Yahoo, director Josh Trank (Chronicle) and writer/producer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past) said that they took this origins tale and updated it with the new possibilities of interdimensional travel. (Hence why this trailer looks so much like the one for Interstellar.)
Perhaps the most important aspect of the comic books, to which Trank and Kinberg say they will stay faithful in the film, is that the Fantastic Four group is a tight-knit group. Sue and Johnny Storm are brother and sister in the comics, and Reed Richards and Ben Grimm are long-time friends of theirs. (Sue and Reed eventually marry.) Unlike the Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy or even X-Men, the entire group acts like a loving, bickering, realistic family: They have a history together before they get their powers, and must learn to evolve together.
It’s a reboot
Didn’t we already have two Fantastic Four movies starring the guy who now plays Captain America? Yes, we did. But Fox decided to reboot the franchise because this is the era of the superhero film — and also because the original films were pretty terrible.
But unlike those Amazing Spider-Man reboots, Fox is promising a tonal departure from the mid-’00s Fantastic Four films. This take looks much darker and more dramatic than its predecessors, more like a sci-fi film based on a comic book than a Guardians of the Galaxy-style romp. (They even put glasses on Miles Teller to make him look smart!)
Despite unsubstantiated rumors that there’s been trouble on set, Fox has already given the franchise a vote of confidence by greenlighting a sequel before the trailer for the first even premiered. Fans are hoping that this Fantastic Four will be improved by its intriguing cast. (No offense, Chris Evans!) Which brings us to the most important point…
It has an interesting, young cast
Fantastic Four will feature some of the most buzzed-about new talent in Hollywood.
Reed Richards / Mr. Fantastic
Miles Teller will lead the team as Mr. Fantastic, who can stretch his body into incredible lengths. Teller earned critical buzz for his performance in the Oscar-nominated Whiplash this year, as well as 2013’s The Spectacular Now. Teller has a knack for playing a sympathetic jerk in those movies, as well as in That Awkard Moment and the Divergent series. He’ll likely bring some of that self-important scumminess to the role of Reed Richards, who’s a genius and frequently acts cold and aloof to his fellow heroes.
Susan Storm / Invisible Woman
Kate Mara is set to play Sue Storm, who can make herself invisible. Though she’s starred in Shooter, 127 Hours and American Horror Story, Mara is probably best known for her turn as the ethically compromised journalist Zoe Barnes on Netflix’s House of Cards with Kevin Spacey. Mara signed on to Fantastic Four and several other action films after she was unceremoniously dispatched from Cards. She also stars in Captive opposite David Oyelowo, Ridley Scott’s The Martian and Man Down with Shia LaBeouf this year.
Johnny Storm / Human Torch
Casting Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm is perhaps the best indication that this version of The Fantastic Four is taking itself very seriously. Though Jordan has indulged his lighter side in That Awkward Moment (also opposite Teller), he’s proven that he has serious acting chops as Wallace in The Wire, Vince in Friday Night Lights, Alex in Parenthood and — of course — Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station, a role which many critics argued should have earned him an Oscar nod. In the 2005 and 2007 versions of Fantastic Four, Chris Evans played the Human Torch — whose power is catching fire — for laughs, but it’s hard to imagine Jordan as the comic relief in this new film.
Ben Grimm / The Thing
Remember the kid from Billy Elliot? Now he’s all grown up and turned into The Thing. Jamie Bell (King Kong, Nymphomaniac) plays a former college football star and friend of Reed Richards who becomes a NASA astronaut. He’s turned into a rocky creature and must find ways to cope with his new appearance (which, unlike the other three characters, he cannot hide). The filmmakers used motion-capture technology to film Bell in the role.
Victor Domashev / Doom
Though he doesn’t appear in the trailer, the Fantastic Four’s nemesis, Doctor Doom, has been the most controversial character leading up to the film’s release. In an interview with Collider, actor Toby Kebbell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) revealed that his character’s name has been changed from Victor Von Doom to Victor Domashev, and he goes by the name “Doom” on blogs. Yep, the original mad scientist/evil villain is now a programmer/blogger — a change that has fans up in arms. In the comics, Doom declares himself ruler for life in his homeland of Latveria and plots to take over the world weekly. Making him a blogger feels like something of a demotion.