Ponder this: after a particularly eventful day at work, you wake up with super strength, seeming invulnerability. Over time, you become one fourth of a famous superhero team known The catch? You're made of rocks and have no ability to change back into your regular, human form. Would you sacrifice your flesh and bone to be a superhero, or would you do anything you could to change back? In Fantastic Four, Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell), finds himself facing this very question after a voyage through universes transforms him into The Thing — essentially a giant human rock. So does Ben ever get cured in Fantastic Four?
In the movie, he's totally stuck. Thankfully, he's not alone in his transformation: Reed Richards (Miles Teller) becomes Mr. Fantastic, with the ability to stretch his limbs; Sue Storm (Kate Mara) becomes the Invisible Woman, and her powers are pretty self explanatory; Johnny Storm (Michael B Jordan) can set his whole body on fire and becomes the Human Torch. The only difference between Ben and the rest of the Fantastic Four is that, unlike them, he can't turn his power off.
"I think Ben gets the worst of it, if I'm honest. I think I have the worst affliction. You know, I'm literally a rock with eyes. ...Your life is forever changed. All those plans...all that stuff, gone. Your life as a normal individual is gone," Bell told ScreenSlam in an interview.
In the film, fans see Ben in both his human form and his superhero rock form, but what isn't clear is whether or not Ben will ever get to change back after the credits roll. One thing's for sure: that dilemma is one of the defining conflicts in the Fantastic Four canon. In the comic books, Ben is constantly struggling to come to terms with his new biological form. In fact, his desperate search for a "cure" threatens to tear apart the Fantastic Four multiple times, as well as his relationship with Reed, who tries and fails to change Ben back. Throughout the long run of the Fantastic Four comics, Ben has successfully reverted back to his human form multiple times — sometimes for long stretches of time, other times for mere seconds. Eventually, there was even a story arc that allowed Ben to change at will, but his psychological blocks made it almost impossible, and the storyline was short-lived.
Ben's conflicting identities were explored heavily in 2005's Fantastic Four, in which Michael Chiklis portrayed Ben Grimm/The Thing. Even though the film ended with Ben sticking to his rock form, the sequel allowed him to revert back to his human for a brief scene. It's unclear whether or not fans will get to see Bell's face as Ben Grimm in the reboot's sequel, 2017's Fantastic Four 2. Speaking with Interview magazine, Bell only teased that it was possible that he would step out from the motion-capture used to create The Thing in future films.
"There is potential. There's stuff in the comic books where Miles Teller's character, Reed Richards, develops technology where he can be changed back. My question, to filmmakers and to audiences around the world, is would they want that? It's unlikely. But it's possible," he joked.
To answer your question, Mr. Bell: yes, we would want that. We would want that very much.
Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy (3)