A Marvel Comics preview image has renewed interest in Sam Raimi’s cancelled Spider-Man 4.
The image, shared on the Marvel’s official twitter page, features a spider’s web with a number four in the center.
The image most likely alludes to a team-up comic between Spidey and the Fantastic Four, possibly to build interest now that Marvel has the film rights to these characters back in-house. However, some fans believe the image may be teasing a comic book adaptation of Sam Raimi’s cancelled Spider-Man 4.
The first two of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films, starring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker, are considered classics of the genre, credited with bringing comic book films back into mainstream pop-culture. The third film is well known for dropping the ball.
Spider-Man 4 was hoped to be a return to form, meant to spawn a new trilogy. Sadly, Raimi could not promise to deliver the film by Sony’s proposed release date without sacrificing quality, so the film was cancelled.
However, the film was quite deep into its planning stage before this cancellation occurred. Storyboards exist, and casting decisions had supposedly been made.
What would we have been in for if Spider-Man 4 reached theaters?
The Return Of Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst
Tobey Maguire, who played Peter Parker, and Kirsten Dunst as love interest Mary Jane Watson, were set to return. Rumours at the time suggested that both actors had signed on to appear in three more films. This supports Raimi’s idea of a full second trilogy.
Current Peter Parker actor Tom Holland has gained a slew of fans for his take on Spidey. Though going a slightly less traditional route, fans are also beginning to warm to Zendaya’s new take on MJ. However, Maguire and Dunst remain sentimental favorites for those who grew up with the Raimi films.
John Malkovich as The Vulture
In 2016, storyboards for Spider-Man 4 emerged. The storyboards had Spidey doing battle with the Vulture. John Malkovich was attached to the role. The Lizard was also considered, but at the time of cancellation, The Vulture was said to be the film’s main villain.
The Lizard appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man reboot, but The Vulture did not get another shot at the big screen until Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spidey’s first solo MCU adventure. There, he was played by Michael Keaton. Keaton will reprise the role in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Anne Hathaway as Felicia Hardy
At one point in development, Anne Hathaway had apparently signed on for a role, most likely Felicia Hardy.
While in comics Hardy is known as the thief/anti-hero Black Cat, the movie would have dubbed her ‘Vultress’. From this, we can assume that she would have been working with Malkovich’s Vulture. This character re-branding was probably done to avoid any unfavorable comparisons to DC’s Catwoman.
After Spider-Man 4 was cancelled, Hathaway went on to play Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. Felicia Hardy has yet to appear in a Spider-Man film, but with increasing popularity in recent years, and the character currently leading a solo comic title, we can probably expect to see her make her big screen debut sometime soon.
Bruce Campbell as Mysterio
Finally, Bruce Campbell, a frequent collaborator of director Sam Raimi, had been cast to play Mysterio.
One of the biggest complaints about Spider-Man 3 was the cluttered feel caused by trying to introduce too many villains at once. Raimi would have been unlikely to repeat such a mistake, so Campbell’s appearance as Mysterio would have been a small tease to set him up as the major villain of Spider-Man 5, had the full sequel trilogy gone ahead.
Mysterio is now set to make his big screen debut in Spider-Man: Far From Home, played by Jake Gyllenhal.
The chances that Marvel’s preview image has anything to do with Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 are, in reality, very small. However, the talk it has sparked proves that interest in the cancelled film is still high.
Time will tell whether Marvel or Sony choose to act on that interest.