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An aspect of 2015's Fantastic Four that I found quite interesting was their attempt to explain some of the gang's largely arbitrary superpowers in a more coherent way. While their 2005 incarnation had them be subjected to some cosmic energy cloud, the new movie derives their powers from the energy present on some cross-dimensional planet. But it tried to give some more or less reasonable (or at least focussed) explanations for some of their powers.

  • It has Victor von Doom being thrown right into the very energy of Planet Zero and thus becoming to some degree one with it and able to control it.

The others, or rather Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm in particular, are subjected to that energy to a lesser degree but coherent to their actual powers and seem to get merged with their environment while transporting back to earth (in a bit of an transporter accident reminiscent of The Fly):

  • Ben can't close his door and it fills with rocks, leading to the rock-like Thing.
  • Johnnny's chamber gets blasted by flames, leading to the autoigniting Human Torch.
  • But with Sue it's already a bit more vague. When she gets blown away by some kind of energy wave from the transporter, I could imagine her having something to do with energy or rather electromagnetic radiation. Is this deduction correct so far or was this explained a little more elaborately in the movie?

But the source of Reed's stretching power is quite a bit less clear to me. There isn't anything in his transporter cell during the transportation to suggest such a mutation, but when he awakes on earth he can already stretch himself. So what exactly was the source of Reed Richard's stretching powers? Did I miss anything and it actually was explained a little clearer in the movie? Or was there maybe even some scene in the script that clarifies this a bit more but ultimately got deleted? Or does the source material provide some additional hints as to how this worked?

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No, the specific reason why those characters got their powers is never explained.

The movie is primarily based off of the Ultimate Fantastic Four back-story, where energy from the N-Zone gives the characters their usual powers. However, the comics make no attempt to "justify" which powers are given to which characters, so we can only rely on what we see on-screen for that.

Unfortunately, it's not entirely clear why the Planet Zero energy gave Ben and Johnny the powers it did, so it's hard to extrapolate from that to Sue and Reed. However, the most likely explanation is that the power assignment was due to some sort of mental influence. In order words:

  • The last thing Johnny was thinking about before the Planet Zero energy hit him was the flames that flooded into his pod.
  • Similarly, the last thing Ben was thinking about were the rocks pouring into his pod.
  • At the moment the explosion happened, Sue was thinking about two things: first, how much trouble she was going to be in when her father "saw her" in the lab without permission, and second, how she was going to protect herself from the explosion she knew was coming.
  • Finally, Reed's only thought at the time was trying to "reach" Ben to protect him, even though Ben was too far away.

In other words, as the energy hit them, their mental state at the time somehow influenced the radiation's change to their bodies, molding their powers to fit whichever thought were foremost in their mind.

Even this explanation has some issues, in particular, why Sue got two powers, and why Reeds power developed from what he was thinking after the explosion. Unfortunately, there aren't really any hints or clues we can use to do any better than speculation, so we're stuck with it,

  • Interesting thoughts, even if quite a bit far-fetched. – Napoleon Wilson Sep 14 '15 at 20:05
  • I would have prefer they were just random but they were too obvious about Thing and Torch getting powers from stuff in their pod, which makes Sues in particular make no sense – KutuluMike Sep 14 '15 at 21:23
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    Reed was also reaching down to try and catch Victor before he fell and before the explosion. I'm not 100% sure, but I think that's the first time we see him 'stretch' - although it is a very small, subtle amount. – Dr R Dizzle Sep 15 '15 at 7:57

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