The script for director Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 was finished, according to writer James Vanderbilt, before the project was canceled in 2010. Two decades ago, Raimi’s live-action Spider-Man film, starring Tobey Maguire, swung into theatres, forever altering superhero cinema.
Raimi went on to direct Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007) before Sony decided to abandon plans for Spider-Man 4 and reinvent the brand with Andrew Garfield in Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man (2012).
Following the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), Sony and Disney/Marvel Studios reached a contract to cast Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and bring him into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans are still speculating about what could have been.
Script of Spider-Man 4
While Spider-Man 3 paled in comparison to Spider-Man 2, the other’s strong box office numbers encouraged Sony to develop a fourth picture, which Raimi regarded as a chance to make up for the third film’s flaws. Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 began production in 2008, with everyone from Tobey Maguire to Kirsten Dunst and J.K. Simmons scheduled to reprise their roles. However, because of a series of narrative issues, the script was altered multiple times, leading Sony to cancel Spider-Man 4 in favor of The Amazing Spider-Man reboot.
Vanderbilt, who worked on The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel, talked about Spider-Man 4 during an exclusive Screen Rant interview promoting Scream. The script for Raimi’s fourth Spider-Man picture was finished, according to the writer, before it was canceled.
Read what he had to say below:
“Yeah so, Spider-Man 4, we had a full script sort of ready to go, and, as is sort of the case when you’re a working feature writer, they brought in some other great writers to punch it up. They changed some things, and I think about a year later, they got to a point where — and I don’t know why — but they got to a point where they decided that wasn’t the road they were going to go down.”
Much of the core plot of Spider-Man 4 has been revealed in the years since it was delayed. Picking up where Spider-Man 3 left off, the film would have seen Peter and Mary Jane try to mend their relationship while dealing with Harry Osborn’s death (James Franco). Dr. Curt Connors/Lizard would have been one of Spider-Man 4’s key villains, similarly to The Amazing Spider-Man, with Dylan Baker reprising his role from the previous films.
The film would’ve also featured legendary Spider-Man characters including Shocker, Rhino, Mysterio, Vulture, and Black Cat, according to concept art. This juggling of characters and plotlines never got to the point where Raimi and the studio were certain that they wouldn’t make the same mistakes as Spider-Man 3.