With the recent death of Stan Lee, director Sam Raimi recalls the unmade Thor movie he wrote with the comic legend. Lee was most known for his work on Marvel comics, and creating several of the superheroes that have been adapted to the big screen. Raimi on the other hand, is a popular filmmaker known for directing films like the Evil Dead and Spider-Man trilogies.
Spider-Man is arguably Lee's most popular character, and Raimi began his Spider-Man trilogy in 2002 with Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker. The film received two sequels, both of which made a lot of money at the box office; however, Spider-Man 3 was panned by fans and critics. By the time Raimi released his first Spider-Man movie, the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was still six years away. When the MCU did begin, it started by releasing solo superhero movies, starting with Iron Man in 2008. The character Thor would be introduced in 2011, standing as the fourth film in Phase 1, but Thor almost got made back in 1991.
When talking to THR about his working relationship with Lee, Raimi revealed that Lee reached out to him after the film Darkman was released. Apparently, Lee enjoyed Raimi's Darkman and told the director that he wanted to work with him on a project. Raimi told Lee that he wanted to make a movie about the superhero Thor, and the two creative minds began to work on treatments for a film. They then took their idea to Fox in 1991 where they were told, "Absolutely no. Comic books don't make good movies".
At the time, there really were not a whole lot of superhero movies that had been released and been successful. Punisher had been released in 1989 starring Dolph Lundgren and Captain America had come out in 1990 starring Matt Salinger, but neither of them got good reviews. Likewise, all four of Christopher Reeves' Superman movies had been released, but the two most recent Superman outings at the time were less than well received. Tim Burton's Batman had also come out in 1989 and received an Oscar in 1990, but winning Academy Awards isn't common for superhero movies.
Needless to say, superhero movies weren't as popular in the 1990s as they are today. Superhero flicks are now often some of the most anticipated movies of the year and bring in a ton of money for their studios. Avengers: Infinity War for example, not only marked the 10 year anniversary of the MCU, but brought in $2 billion at the worldwide box office. Superhero movies are often very profitable ventures today, but it's easy to see why Fox would have been hesitant to make a Thor movie in 1991. That being said, it's nonetheless intriguing to imagine what Raimi and Lee could have done with the character.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019