Exactly 20 years and three days after his first Spider-Man movie hit theaters in 2002, Sam Raimi is returning to the Marvel Universe next week with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. So naturally, this is as good a time as any to revisit Spider-Man 4. Specifically, what happened behind the scenes during pre-production that led Sony to cancel the film and start fresh with the Amazing Spider-Man series. Scant details about the unmade fourth installment have resurfaced over the last 10+ years. Now, Raimi is offering new insight into what he originally had planned for Spidey’s big-screen future.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Raimi once again explained how the divided response to Spider-Man 3 pressured him to deliver a sequel that was as good (if not better) than the first two films, both of which still hold up as some of the best superhero movies ever made. Several screenwriters (including James Vanderbilt, Gary Ross, and David Lindsay-Abaire) took a pass at the script. Unfortunately, Raimi was unable to get the story to a point where he could confidently meet Sony’s pre-ordained start date for the film. But he did have a pretty good idea of which new characters he wanted to introduce. And that included a more significant role for one of his oldest friends.
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“I miss the really great cameo we had designed for Bruce Campbell,” said Raimi. “[Mysterio] was one of the possibilities. We had other things in mind, too, but that was one of them. And I missed Kraven the Hunter. We were going to work that character into the next Spider-Man; I always wanted to see Kraven fight Spider-Man on the big screen. I thought that would be really unique. He’s the ultimate hunter, and Spider-Man is like the most agile trickster of the skies. And I wanted to see Peter continue forward as a human being.”
Much of Spider-Man 3’s criticism focused on Raimi’s handling of Eddie Brock/Venom, a character who, by Raimi’s own admission, he wasn’t super familiar with. So using classic villains like Mysterio and Kraven was probably the right way to go. But interestingly, Raimi doesn’t mention how John Malkovich was reportedly cast as the Vulture in Spider-Man 4 prior to its cancellation. Leaked storyboard artwork eventually confirmed the winged supervillain’s role in the sequel. Regardless, Adrian Toomes wasn’t destined to appear onscreen until Michael Keaton brought him to life in Spider-Man: Homecoming opposite Tom Holland’s Peter Parker.
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Raimi also addressed Tobey Maguire’s return as the friendly neighborhood webslinger alongside Holland and Andrew Garfield in last year’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. Not surprisingly, Maguire’s appearance generated newfound interest in Raimi’s films. It also prompted scores of fans to demand another sequel to his original trilogy. And as luck would have it, Raimi sounds willing to give it a shot.
“If there was a great story there, I think it’d be … my love for the characters hasn’t diminished one iota,” added Raimi. “It would be the same things that would stop me now that stopped me then: ‘Does Tobey want to do it? Is there an emotional arc for him? Is there a great conflict for this character? And is there a worthy villain that fits into the theme of the piece?’ There’s a lot of questions that would have to be answered. If those could be answered, then I’d love to.”
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theater on May 6.
Would you like to see Raimi make another Spider-Man film? Let us know in the comment section below!
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