The Amazing Spider-Man series was launched to great fanfare in 2012, promising a fresh take on the character and his mythology. The first film was supposed to tell the “Untold Story” surrounding Peter Parker and his parents, but the final version deleted most of this backstory, so it essentially became a remake of the Sam Raimi original.
Then The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was supposed to kick off a bunch of sequels and spin-offs, but a negative critical reaction saw it become the lowest grossing franchise entry to date. The proposed follow-ups were cancelled when Sony inked a deal to bring the character into the MCU with Captain America: Civil War, and The Amazing Spider-Man series met a swift demise.
While the movies weren’t exactly terrible, they were both plagued with issues, from choppy storytelling to weak villains. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone provided them with heart, but when the series was canned, the majority of fans responded with relief instead of sadness.
Still, Sony had plans for at least four more movies, with scripts and directors set in place. It’s interesting looking back and reading up on the insane concepts the studio considered, but in the end, it’s probably a good thing the reset button was pushed again. Regardless, here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Cancelled Amazing Spider-Man Sequels.
15. Gwen Stacy Would Have Been Resurrected As Spider-Woman
Gwen Stacy‘s fate is well-known to fans of the comics, and her potential death in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was teased months in advance. While the movie had plenty of issues, the relationship between Peter and Gwen wasn’t one of them, so her eventual demise was pretty emotional; the “web hand” moment was kind of dumb, though.
Her death appeared to be permanent by the end of the movie, acting as another painful reminder to Peter that being a hero comes at a high cost. However, it appears a big part of The Amazing Spider-Man 3 involved Peter discovering a formula that could bring people back to life, so he uses it bring Gwen back.
This change would have – somehow – given Gwen spider powers too, leading to her becoming Spider-Woman, who in the comics is an alternate universe version of Gwen. Sony had plans for a solo movie with an unnamed female hero around this time, so it’s not hard to conclude that perhaps Spider-Gwen was being set up for her own adventure.
14. Captain Stacy Would Have Come Back Too
Peter has no real luck when it comes to members of the Stacy family. The first movie ended with Gwen’s father Captain Stacy dying, and making Peter promise to leave her out of his life if he’s going to continue being a superhero.
Peter obviously broke that promise, so Captain Stacy appeared to him in ghostly visions in the sequel to give him disapproving looks. It was actually Denis Leary who first revealed plans for Peter to resurrect dead characters, stating in an interview that Peter would find a way to bring him back to life.
Fans weren’t sure if Leary was joking or not, but his claims have been backed up by subsequent reveals about the planned movie. While Peter is depicted as a boy genius, it feels like a leap from making his own web-shooters to bringing back the dead; plus, it undermines his character development in the first two movies if death no longer has any meaning,
13. Director Marc Webb Would Have Helmed The Third Movie, But Not The Fourth
Fans got a good laugh out of the announcement that Marc Webb would be taking on The Amazing Spider-Man series, considering his perfect surname and all. While Webb has shown he’s a capable director, it feels like he was more of a hired hand on the Spider-Man films, with Sony dictating how they should play out.
Webb has since spoken of his plans for the third entry and revealed that while he would have helmed The Amazing Spider-Man 3, he was looking to move on afterwards. He wanted to act as a creative consultant after the third movie and was helping set up the planned spin-offs, but he was eager to try his hand at other projects too.
Of course, he ultimately didn’t get the chance to helm another movie when Sony partnered with Marvel to reboot the character again. Webb has since reflected on the fun time he had making the movies, but acknowledged they’re tricky movies to get right.
12. Drew Goddard Was Attached To Direct The Sinister Six
Drew Goddard is such a big Spider-Man fan that when he was offered The Sinister Six, he immediately jumped ship from showrunner duties on Netflix’s Daredevil series. He wanted to make Sinister Six a movie that harkened back to the likes of The Dirty Dozen and The Wild Bunch, where even though the characters are villains, viewers can still root for them.
Various email exchanges Sony had with Goddard reveal big details about his plans for the film, and make it sound like it could have been one of the craziest comic book movies ever attempted. A big portion of the story would have taken place in The Savage Land, a hidden tropical region created by aliens in Antarctica.
The team would have been fighting dinosaurs, and the main villain probably would have been Gog, an alien who crashed landed there. The emails suggest this plotline wasn’t exactly a lock, since it sounded a little too outlandish.
11. J. Jonah Jameson Would Have Returned
J. Jonah Jameson is the cranky editor of The Daily Bugle, who hates Spider-Man with a passion while ironically hiring Peter as a photographer. The role was played by J.K. Simmons in the Sam Raimi trilogy, in one of the most perfect comic book movie castings fans could ever hope to see.
J. Jonah didn’t appear in The Amazing Spider-Man series, though Peter sends him an email in the second movie. Plans were underway for the character to finally reappear in the third movie, and it seems likely that Simmons would have returned. During an interview with Howard Stern in early 2015, he confirmed discussions had happened, and implied his return was highly likely.
Sadly that never came to pass, because The Amazing Spider-Man series was scrapped shortly after. While it’s not impossible Simmons could return to the character someday, there could be a clause in his contract preventing him from working on Marvel projects while he’s playing Commissioner Gordon in the DCEU.
10. Harry Osborn Would Have Been The Main Villain Of The Third Movie
The second TASM film ended with Harry Osborn transformed into the Green Goblin, causing the death of Gwen Stacy and being sent to Ravencroft. The Gentleman appears to Harry – who has shifted back to his normal form – and they talk of assembling a team to take on Spider-Man.
This obviously was intended to set up the next movie, with Harry seeking revenge on Peter for not giving him a sample of his blood. There were reports the Spider Slayers would feature in the third movie too, so perhaps Harry was going to enlist Alistair Smythe to build some robots to take Spider-Man down.
With Harry’s father also returning to life (more on that in a bit) and characters like J. Jonah Jameson being re-introduced, it sounds like the third movie was in danger of being as overstuffed with subplots as the second one was. Some reports suggested Harry would be leading the Sinister Six in the group’s solo movie, but looking at Sony’s planned lineup, it seems that the Green Goblin wouldn’t have made an appearance.
9. Sony Emails Reveal Further Spin-Off Ideas
In 2014 Juan Capdet – the Executive Director of Creative Advertising at Screen Gems – emailed his proposal for further spin-offs to The Amazing Spider-Man series. He appears to be spitballing concepts, but some of them sound quite insane.
He proposed a midquel set between the first two films, where Gwen is still alive and Norman Osborn hires Kraven the hunter to track down Spider-Man, as (much like his son) he believes Spidey’s blood could cure him. Kraven eventually captures Spider-Man, but instead of curing Norman, the blood transforms him into the original Goblin. After a climactic fight, the Goblin gets away, leading to Norman’s frail condition in the second movie.
Caplet also pitched Spider-Man 2099 as their “Captain America-type franchise,” which would take place in a futuristic New York. It would have followed Miguel O’Hara fighting the evil Alchemax and Morlun, and the climax would have seen him sent back in time to set up a sequel. Other movies he pitched include Black Cat, Carnage, and Jackal, which would have dived deep into The Clone Saga.
8. Mary Jane Would Have Been Introduced In TASM 3
A big problem with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is that it had too many subplots and side characters, with plot threads left dangling for future movies to pick up on. It was a sloppy way to tell a story, and the movie’s uneven pacing made it clear that large chunks of the plot had been removed in the editing room.
One major deletion was the introduction of Mary Jane, played by actress Shailene Woodley. Mary Jane would have only had a few scenes, with her character being set up as Peter’s future love interest. In the end, the studio decided to remove the scenes and focus on Peter’s relationship with Gwen instead.
7. Norman Osborn Was “Guaranteed” To Return For Part Three
Norman Osborn’s appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man series was quite short-lived, since he dies of his illness shortly after being introduced in the second movie.
However, a major deleted scene revealed that Norman’s head is being kept at Oscorp, setting up his return in later movies. Actor Chris Cooper confirmed the second movie was planned as an intro to Norman, and that he was “guaranteed” a big role in the third movie. Maybe the same formula Peter uses to bring back Gwen and Captain Stacy would have resurrected Norman too; all they had to do was bring back Uncle Ben for the complete set.
Cooper has confirmed the head in a box scene was filmed, and that it probably would have been used as the opening of the third movie. It’s a shame that Cooper didn’t get to sink his teeth into the role properly, even if his planned return sounded insanely convoluted.
6. Goddard Badly Wanted Tom Hardy For Sandman
The recently announced Tom Hardy Venom movie has made (most) fans very happy, because in addition to Hardy being a great actor, the film is an R-rated blockbuster that’s said to be inspired by John Carpenter and David Cronenberg. But this isn’t the first time Hardy’s name has been connected with a Spider-Man spin-off.
The studio had a shortlist of actors they felt could do justice to the Sandman character, who was positioned as the comic relief of the Sinister Six. Actors like Joel Edgerton, Woody Harrelson, and even Danny McBride were considered, but Goddard really pictured Tom Hardy. He felt the actor perfectly embodied the chaotic, punk rock spirit of the character, citing his performance in Bronson.
The story apparently would have climaxed with Sandman rampaging through London like Godzilla, and Goddard pressed his point that Sony needed to go after Hardy. While Hardy would no doubt have crushed the role, Venom feels like a better fit.
5. Eddie Brock Would Have Shown Up In Part Three To Set Up Venom
Sony planned to make a solo Venom movie following the character’s panned appearance in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, with Deadpool scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick writing two drafts, and Gary Ross signed on to direct. That fell apart when Sam Raimi stepped away from the planned Spider-Man 4, leading to the franchise being rebooted completely.
Since Venom is one of Spider-Man’s most popular characters, it was only a matter of time before he came back to the franchise, so the plan was to introduce him in the third movie, which would set up a solo Venom adventure. Alex Kurtzman was set to direct, and Channing Tatum was the frontrunner for the role. In fact, Tatum emailed Sony himself because he claimed to have a fantastic idea for a Venom movie. Tatum didn’t say what his idea was, but he claimed to have looked through blogs and chat rooms to get the pulse of what fans were looking for.
4. Sony Seriously Considered Asking Sam Raimi Back
Before the days of TASM, Sam Raimi realized that Spider-Man 3 disappointed viewers, so he was determined that Spider-Man 4 would be the best of the series. After going through multiple drafts and meeting with actors, he still wasn’t happy with the scripts, so rather than go into production on something he wasn’t happy with, he walked away.
By all accounts, it was a mutual decision, but the Sony emails reveal that they were considering bringing him back to the series once again. They were thinking of his return in terms of Bryan Singer coming back to the X-Men series, with Raimi directing or overseeing a slate of web-slinging movies.
They had no set plans for what Raimi would actually do, but there was the suggestion that he could handle a trilogy based on Silver Age Spidey. It’s unknown if anyone actually suggested the idea to the director during this time, but it seems unlikely he would have been interested in returning if another actor besides Tobey Maguire was playing the title role.
3. Spider-Man Would Have Been Part Of The Sinister Six
The end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seemed to offer big hints as to which villains would appear in Sinister Six, and the film had already introduced the Green Goblin and The Rhino. It sounds like Goddard didn’t feel constrained by this setup though, with his proposed line-up featuring Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, The Black Cat, Sandman and The Vulture.
The final, most surprising member would have been Spider-Man himself. The character’s role in the film was kept vague when it was announced, but fans figured he’d feature somewhere. Goddard felt having Spidey involved would add a unique dynamic, and allow Sony to set up a relationship between Peter and Doc Ock before they became enemies in later movies.
Again, this wasn’t a lock, with Garfield’s involvement being in question. The actor originally signed on for three movies, and was keen to know if a potential Sinister Six movie counted on his contract. Sony emphasized that it didn’t, and that further – possibly expensive – negotiation was needed to get him onboard.
2. If Garfield Rejected Sinister Six, Goddard Had A Plan B
Since Garfield wasn’t a guarantee for the film, Goddard had to plan for the event that Spider-Man wouldn’t be a main character in the story after all. He suggested that Doctor Octopus had to be made the focus as the team’s leader, and they needed a genuine A-lister to attract viewers.
Since he’d just worked with him on The Martian, he felt Matt Damon would be a perfect fit for the role. The plan was to make Doc Ock a sympathetic scientist who is driven mad by the death of his wife, which slowly transforms him into a villain. Damon has a known allergy to comic book movies though – having previously turned down Daredevil and The Dark Knight – so he was also far from a lock.
Other candidates included George Clooney, Daniel Craig, Denzel Washington and Will Smith. It’s interesting to note that the latter star took the role of Deadshot in Suicide Squad, which Sony noted was a rival project during development, since it also featured a gang of villains teaming up.
1. Andrew Garfield May Have Been Fired For “Snubbing” Sony Boss
Even fans who had issues with The Amazing Spider-Man movies often admit that Andrew Garfield was a great web-slinger. While his Peter Parker was slightly too cool – seriously, who would bully him? – he brought genuine humanity to both Peter and Spidey.
From the outside, his eventual recasting made sense; Marvel wanted a clean slate following the mixed reception to The Amazing Spider-Man movies, and they wanted to bring on a younger actor. Later reports suggested that, behind the scenes, the story was a bit more complex.
It turns out that Garfield was supposed to be announced as the star of the third movie at a press event in Rio, where Sony chief Kaz Hirai and Garfield would appear together on stage. Garfield, however, was exhausted from traveling, so he skipped the event, which Sony felt was a move that embarrassed Hirai, so the announcement of Garfield’s return wasn’t made. Hirai apparently felt snubbed by this move, and from that point, he was reportedly eager to replace the actor.
When this question was put to Garfield later on, he refused to confirm his “firing”, only commenting that he never compromised himself for the sake of the role.
Do you know any other fun facts surrounding the future of The Amazing Spider-Man series that never was? Let us know in the comments.
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