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Before Marvel brokered a deal with Sony to bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and before Sony delivered two lacklustre The Amazing Spider-Man movies, there was Sam Raimi’s trilogy. Its first two entries are celebrated as some of the finest superhero outings of all time, faithfully recreating the excitement and wonder of the webhead’s comic book adventures. Then came Spider-Man 3. Yeah, remember Tobey Maguire’s emo Peter Parker? Needless to say, Sony opted to not pursue a fourth film from Raimi and co., for fear of another repeat.
That’s not to say it wasn’t in development. Raimi and Maguire were ready to roll for a third sequel and John Malkovich was assigned the fan-favorite baddie role as The Vulture. Details were tentative, but in comparison to its predecessor, Spider-Man 4 looked promising.
While we never got the chance to see the finished product of Raimi’s vision, one of the movie’s storyboard artists, writer and illustrator, Jeffrey Henderson, recently posted online a glut of his concept art for the unfinished film. We’ve got to admit after glancing through these early work-ups, some of the ideas introduced could have made the whole world forget about the botched Spider-Man 3.
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Interestingly enough, it also confirms the presence of The Vulture and another villain we had no idea was due to appear: Mysterio. One of the best ‘boards includes Spider-Man walking the baddie into a police station and unmasking him, which kinda makes you wonder how a movie might continue with an identifiable villain wandering around.
During a follow-up with i09, Henderson addressed this matter. Dropping a few choice plot kernels, he revealed that plans were to open the movie with a fun, villain-centric beginning starting with “a montage of C and D- list villains that we knew would never be used as main antagonists: Mysterio, the Shocker, the Prowler, the old school-onesie-wearing version of the Rhino, maybe even the Stilt Man, etc.”
While it’s a damn shame these ideas never materialised onscreen, we’ve got to consider the alternative. Imagine for a second if Sony had pushed forward with its already-established Spidey universe and given us Spider-Man 4: we might not have Tom Holland’s version.