When looking at the massive popularity of comic book movies now, it’s likely that this would never have happened if not for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies. While there had been successful superhero movies before 2002’s Spider-Man, this is the movie that proved the genre had a massive audience and a lot of potential.
Spider-Man 2 is still regarded as one of the best superhero movies of all time, but Spider-Man 3 was a letdown and ultimately ended the franchise. However, before the character was rebooted, there were plans for Raimi to return for Spider-Man 4. Here’s what you didn’t know about the canceled project.
10 Sam Raimi Wanted To Make Amends For Spider-Man 3
While some have suggested Spider-Man 3 is not really as bad as its reputation suggests, it’s hard to say it is at all close to the first two films. Raimi himself was not a fan of the final film, even calling it “awful” at times.
However, Raimi wasn’t ready to walk away from the franchise after that disappointment. He saw Spider-Man 4 as an opportunity to end on a high note. He endeavored to make his best film yet and please any fans who may have been let down by the third movie.
9 James Vanderbilt Was Hired To Write
Along with Raimi passionate about returning to the franchise, Spider-Man 4 also had another exciting talent linked to the project. James Vanderbilt was announced as the writer for the film, having just come off writing David Fincher’s true crim masterpiece Zodiac.
Very little is known about what the actual story would have been for the fourth film, but Vanderbilt’s name was enough to get fans excited about a worthy sequel.
8 The Main Cast Was Expected To Return
As much as Tom Holland is very popular as the MCU’s Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire deserves a lot of credit for his performance as the titular hero in Raimi’s films. Not surprisingly, with Raimi returning for a fourth film, Maguire was onboard as well.
Kirsten Dunst was also set to return as Mary Jane while there were also rumors that Bryce Dallas Howard might return as Gwen Stacy. While Maguire never got a chance to don the famous mask again for Spider-Man 4, he may get to in the MCU.
7 The Vulture Was The Main Villain
Long before Michael Keaton brought Vulture to the big screen in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Raimi tapped him to appear in Spider-Man 4. Despite the character being one of Spidey’s oldest foes, Raimi was worried an old man in a flying suit would seem corny, so he sought to make him a truly formidable enemy.
Not only had the villain been chosen, by Raimi was already in the process of casting the role as well. He had initially planned on having Ben Kingsley play the part but later settled on John Malkovich.
6 Anne Hathaway Was Cast
Another new member of the cast who had already been established was Anne Hathaway. The actor was already on her way to becoming a star with starring roles in films like The Devil Wears Prada and an Oscar nomination for Rachel Getting Married.
Hathaway was cast as Felicia Hardy in the new film. Interestingly, though Felecia is the anti-hero Black Cat in the comics, she would instead be the Vultress, a female Vulture sidekick. Ironically, Hathaway would eventually go on to play Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises.
5 The Film Was Storyboarded
Few fans realize just how far the film got into pre-production stages before getting canceled. Raimi had already hired Jeffrey Henderson to create storyboards for the film.
Henderson has stated publicly his disappointment with the project being canceled as said that they had some fun things planned. Henderson even released several of the completed storyboards which show sequences such as an aerial fight between Vulture and Spider-Man as well as an opening sequence teasing a fun villain cameo.
4 Mysterio Was Going To Appear
The most exciting of the concept art Henderson released involved an early sequence in which Spider-Man bring Mysterio to justice. Through the drawings, it is clear that when Mysterio’s famous dome helmet is removed, he is revealed to be Bruce Campbell.
Campbell, a close friend of Sam Raimi, had appeared in all three previous Spider-Man movies in small cameos. However, fans theorized that Campbell was actually playing the same character who would be revealed to be Mysterio. As it turns out, that theory was dead right.
3 Even More Villains
One of the biggest complaints about Spider-Man 3 was that it tried to sandwich in so many villains, making the movie something of a mess. However, this apparently didn’t scare Raimi off of featuring several bad guys in Spider-Man 4.
Along with Vulture, Vultress, and Mysterio, there were going to be cameos from several other villains. An opening montage was planned to show Spidey taking down the likes of Rhino, Prowler, and Shocker.
2 Raimi Walked Away
As Raimi wanted to ensure that this Spider-Man film was not the same disappointment Spider-Man 3 turned out to be, he felt a lot of pressure in getting it right. Unfortunately, as the film progressed, it became clear to him that things weren’t going to work out as he wanted.
Raimi felt that the script was not at a place he wanted. With a tight schedule, they were faced with the decision to either continue with a compromised project or just walk away. He chose to do the latter.
1 The Reboot Was Already Planned
While it was Raimi who had ultimately left the project which led to its cancelation, it sounds like Spider-Man 4 had as much behind-the-scenes drama as Spider-Man 3. The main obstacle being that Sony was already planning to reboot the franchise.
James Vanderbilt was hired by Raimi to write Spider-Man 4, but he ended up writing The Amazing Spider-Man for Sony. Reportedly, Sony made it known they planned to reboot the franchise no matter what happened with Spider-Man 4 and Raimi eventually told the studio they might as well go ahead with those plans since that is what they really want.
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