Now how’s this for a surprise? A concept video from Sam Raimi’s unmade Spider-Man 4 has been released to the public – and gives us a taste of what could have been after the divisive release of 2007’s Spider-Man 3.
Concept artist and storyboarder David E. Duncan uploaded a fight to his Vimeo page between Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man and a Vulture – rumored to be played by John Malkovich – across New York’s skyscrapers.
Titled "Vulture Attacks Peter at Citicorp", the scene shows Vulture swooping in to grab Spidey before dropping him onto a glass roof. From there, Vulture unmasks a seriously-injured Spider-Man before Peter fights back and ends up forcing Vulture to retreat.
Even in animatic form, this fight scene goes seriously hard – and puts Peter through the wringer more than perhaps any other moment in the series. One sequence sees Vulture aim to stab Spider-Man repeatedly as a worried crowd look on below. In another, you can see shards of glass sticking out of the wallcrawler after being pummelled into the surface by the supervillain.
On his Vimeo page, Duncan revealed the potential reasons why Spider-Man 4 potentially didn’t get the green light.
"Studio politics, creative differences and bad internet reactions (to John Malkovich as Vulture) caused the plug to be pulled December of 2009, early in the prep stage," Duncan writes. "However, one month later, Sony moved forward with Andrew Garfield reboot."
While Spider-Man 3 was met with a mixed critical response, it still made close to $900m at the box office – a record for a superhero movie at the time. Work on Spider-Man 4, however, eventually didn’t get past the preliminary stages.
Sam Raimi, though, didn’t end up permanently on the outs with the superhero game. The Evil Dead director has been drafted in to helm the more horror-heavy Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as part of Marvel Phase 4.
We’re even getting another Spider-Man 3 – and potentially a Tobey Maguire return. Officially titled Spider-Man: No Way Home, the December release is likely dealing with a multiverse of comebacks, including Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus from the Sam Raimi trilogy. Who knows, maybe we’ll even catch a glimpse of another Vulture from another time…
Find out what else is coming to cinemas from the world of Marvel with our guide to new superhero movies.