Sometimes, simple can be a good thing. Doctor Doom is one of the greatest villains in all the Marvel Universe, because as a character, he’s exactly what’s promised on the tin. He is a doctor who will bring you your doom. He is evil because he considers himself superior to the entire human race, and doesn’t mind expressing this by trying to rule it every once and a while.
He’s the perfect match for a science-based team like the Fantastic Four, because he’s formidable in what they specialize in—science—as well as what they cannot accept: magic. This is something Mark Waid and the late Mike Wieringo masterfully illustrated in their classic (and highly recommended) Fantastic Four story “Unthinkable.”
Next summer’s Fantastic Four film doesn’t seem to want anything to do with that. In an interview with Collider, actor Toby Kebbel, who’s playing Doom in the forthcoming remake, dropped a pretty big bomb as to the nature of his character.
“He’s Victor Domashev, not Victor Von Doom in our story,” says Kebbel. “The Doom in ours—I’m a programmer. Very anti-social programmer. And on blogging sites I’m ‘Doom.’”
It’s a strange take, but one that’s very much aligned with what Kebbel calls the very “realistic” and “lo-fi” vision that director Josh Trank is bringing to the franchise. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with adaptations that stray from the source material (even Marvel Studios is rather liberal in their adaptations), it’s hard to not be concerned that something might be lost in translation here. Trank might be on to something, but the Fantastic Four are all about diving headfirst into the unknown, exploring the strange and unbelievable, solving the impossible with their minds and hearts.
Why would you want to ground the fantastic with something so mundane as realism?