Today, a thought came to me. A scene popped into my mind, unbidden and out of nowhere. The very first scene of a good and proper Fantastic Four movie. And here it is.

Two men walk through a dark forest. We see only the back of them. One of them is leading the other, a machete in his hand, chopping branches down. He chops another and another until they reach the edge of the forest. The man looks out.

BRAM: There it is. There is the ruins.

The other man steps forward and looks out. We see his face — he looks like he’s in his late thirties, handsome, with aquiline nose. There is a smile on his lips. He is VICTOR.

BRAM: The ruins of Castle Doom.

We get a sweeping view of the castle ruins. It’s very European, but decrepit. The bridge is gone, but the water in the moat has dried up as well, so the two men take out rappelling gear from their backpacks and rappel down the moat on one end and up the other side. They step through the broken doors of the castle.

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BRAM: The people here have long memories, Victor. They do not trust this place. The old Baron who lived here, he was a great...how do you say it in English?

VICTOR: Leader?

BRAM: Tyrant. He was cruel to his people. The things he did. The rituals that he performed.

VICTOR: Tell me about them, Bram.

BRAM: I don’t know much. He had a consort among the Romani people. They say she was chovexani. Witch.

VICTOR: And do the Romani still live here?

BRAM: After the Baron was killed, many of them left.

VICTOR: You mean they were persecuted.

Bram shrugs. He does not care.

Together, they walk through the ruins of the castle until they reach an inner chamber. Inside, there is a giant statue of a man. We get a wide panning view of the statue until we see it’s face, covered with an IRON MASK.

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Suddenly, there is a shouting from outside. A great many voices. Bram and Victor turn around and then look at each other. Victor strides towards the entrance of the castle, towards the shouting. Bram rolls his eyes and follows.

Outside, there is a crowd of people, men and women. Some are holding stones, ready to throw. Victor strides outside into the sun, his hands raised in both surrender and defiance.

VICTOR: Please! Please, there is no need for this!

A woman steps forward from the crowd and spits at his feet.

WOMAN: We know who you are. We know why you are here. You are Doom.

Bram stops just behind Victor. He is ready for a fight.

VICTOR: Yes, that’s right. I am a Von Doom. This castle did belong to my father and his father before him. But I am not here to bring that back. I am not here to be a tyrant or even a ruler. I am here to bring you prosperity!

The townspeople are ready to throw their rocks. Bram removes a gun from his belt, but Victor waves a hand at him to put it away.

VICTOR: Please! I do not wish to be like my father. I do not wish to hurt you or see you come to harm. I only wish to raise this place up, to see it prosper with education! And technology! I came here to build schools! Do you know the power of education? With the right education and the right tools, one man can move the world.

WOMAN: You speak as if you know.

VICTOR: I do. I was not raised by my father. I was raised in places of learning and education. I did not seek to become a ruler, only a healer, a teacher. I am not a tyrant, I am a doctor.

WOMAN: Doctor? Doctor Doom?

Victor gives a polite nod.

VICTOR: Yes, that’s what you can call me.

He raises his hands up in the air again and yells to the crowd.

VICTOR: My people! Help me tear down this old castle and build a great place of learning instead! Help me bring education and technology here! Let us all stand on the world stage and let us show everyone just how great Latveria can be!

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The crowd drops their rocks and raises their fists. They are chanting now, just one word over and over again: Doom. Doom. Doom.

Victor raises his fist into the air with them and smiles.