Today In Superhero Movie History: Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN 4 Was Supposed To Be Released On May 6, 2011

Today In Superhero Movie History: Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN 4 Was Supposed To Be Released On May 6, 2011

Before Sony Pictures decided to reboot the Spider-Man franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man, a fourth instalment of Sam Raimi's series was on the way, and it was set to be released 9 years ago today...

Sam Raimi's first two Spider-Man movies were met with overwhelmingly positive reviews from fans and critics alike, and despite the mostly lukewarm reaction to the divisive third instalment, it was successful enough for Sony Pictures to move forward with a fourth movie. Announced on March 12th, 2009, Spider-Man 4 was set to swing into theaters on May 6th, 2011, four years after the web-slinger battled Sandman, Venom, and...Harry Osborn dressed in gear that looked suspiciously like what a snowboarder might wear. However, as you'll obviously be all too aware, it never happened. 

Development on the movie actually began in 2008, and with Raimi once again on board to direct, James Vanderbilt, David Lindsay-Abaire, and Gary Ross all took cracks at the screenplay. At the same time, there were rumours that the filmmaker had been enlisted to shoot Spider-Man 4, 5, and 6 in one go, something he adamantly denied.

Little was revealed about the story (we didn't see anywhere near as many plot leaks online back then as we do now), but concept art which has surfaced in the years that have followed confirmed that Bruce Campbell was set to make a cameo appearance as Mysterio, while Raimi himself has mentioned plans to finally show Dr. Curt Connors transforming into The Lizard. In late 2009, though, we learned that John Malkovich was in talks to play The Vulture, while Anne Hathaway had signed on as Black Cat. However, in a sign that Spider-Man 4 was once again going to take liberties with the source material, we heard that the actress was actually going to take on the role of "Vulturess." 

Ultimately, rumoured disagreements between Raimi and producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach derailed the project, and it was clearly going to struggle to meet that planned release date. The filmmaker, meanwhile, "hated" each draft of the screenplay, and the plug was finally pulled by the studio in early 2010.

The filmmaker has chosen his words carefully in the years which have followed, describing it as an "amicable" and "undramatic" end for the movie, and explaining that, "I was very unhappy with Spider-Man 3, and I wanted to make Spider-Man 4 to end on a very high note, the best Spider-Man of them all. But I couldn't get the script together in time." Interestingly, he revealed at the time that Sony was planning a reboot while he was developing his movie, so that likely put a lot of pressure on him as well.

Eventually, the franchise was indeed rebooted with The Amazing Spider-Man, a 2012 movie starring Andrew Garfield which promised an "Untold Story" and failed to deliver one. The sequel was panned, and Sony Pictures ultimately turned to Marvel Studios for help, a decision that led to Spider-Man: Homecoming. As for Raimi, he went on to work on a number of features, including Drag Me to Hell and Oz the Great and Powerful, but he's next set to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a film fans are hoping could include a nod to his Spider-Man roots...

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