With 2002’s original Spider-Man movie followed by the lauded 2004 sequel, it should've been easy for Spider-Man 3 to be one of the greatest superhero movies ever - but it all went so wrong.
Sony’s villainverse may be suiting up Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock in Venom, but let’s not forget that Spider-Man 3 actually brought an expanded version of Peter Parker’s rogue’s gallery to our screens a decade earlier.
Setting up a much larger Raimiverse, Spider-Man 3 was never meant to be the end of the line. Hoewever, a slamming from critics to Spider-Man 4, 5, and 6 being canceled and audiences being introduced into the equally unimpressive Marc Webb era with The Amazing Spider-Man.
Along with an all-star cast of Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco, newcomers like Thomas Haden Church, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Topher Grace had all the potential to deliver an epic conclusion to Raimi’s first Spider-Man trilogy.
We can only imagine what Raimi would’ve done with the future of the series, or where he could’ve taken loose ends like Dylan Barker’s Lizard, promises of Vulture/Vultress, or even a possible Sinister Six spin-off movie.
Instead, Spider-Man 3 boasts the dubious honor of being Raimi’s final Spider-Man movie. With this in mind, here are 15 Shocking Things You Didn’t Know About The Terrible Spider-Man 3.
15 It Was Almost split into Two Movies
It isn’t unusual these days for movies to split themselves in two (The Hobbit made it to three), and Spider-Man 3 was also no exception. Noting that the threequel had too much to pack into one installment, screenwriter Alvin Sargent had toyed with making it a two-parter.
Ivan Raimi had written the first treatment in just two months after the runaway success of Spider-Man 2. Sandman was the villain, the Uncle Ben's killer plot was revisited, and there was the steamy triangle between MJ, Peter, and Harry. So, when Sam Raimi was persuaded to also include Venom, it was nearly enough to make Spider-Man 3 and 3.5.
Perhaps if the team had gone with their gut, Spider-Man 3 wouldn’t have been bogged down in the villain overkill of Venom, Green Goblin, and Sandman all battling each other and screen time. Also, with two movies, fans would’ve been assured more character development for the likes of Eddie Brock and Gwen Stacy. The gloopy symbiote is getting a whole film to himself thanks to Hardy, so it’s not like the source material wasn’t there.
14 Topher Grace Couldn't Use The Toilet
While most modern movies tinker with a hero’s costume through the use of CGI and stick them in those ridiculous mo-cap suits, it seems 2007 was still lumbered with tight-fitting spandex. So, if you have ever wondered how you go to the toilet in a Spidey suit, the answer is - you don’t!
Topher Grace may have spent the first half of the film as cocky photographer Eddie Brock, but as Peter shed his symbiote add-on and it found a new host, Brock became full-on comic book Venom. As he sported the crawling alien suit and a slinky black number, it seems that the costume designers didn’t create Venom with Grace’s comfort in mind.
Unable to get out of the suit for bathroom breaks, Grace reportedly refused to drink any liquid before filming his Venom scenes in fear of accidents. No word on how Maguire coped with three whole movies, but maybe he just went with the option of a nappy?
13 Bryce Dallas Howard Performed Her Stunts While Pregnant
Before she was taking on dinosaurs in Jurassic World, Bryce Dallas Howard joined Sony for the long-awaited part of Gwen Stacy. Swapping her natural red for Stacy’s signature platinum blonde, Howard was a welcome addition as Spider-Man’s legendary love.
Although movie Gwen managed to outlive her comic book counterpart and made it out of the Raimiverse alive,that didn’t stop her time in the trilogy being filled with all the drama you would expect. Howard decided that she would perform her own stunts in Spider-Man 3, including some pretty daring crane work while harnessed five stories in the air.
However, Bryce revealed she had later discovered she was pregnant at the time of filming her Stacy stunts. Her father (Ron Howard) also revealed that Bryce was injured on set when a desk hit her while falling out the window. Thankfully, baby Theo doesn’t seem to have been affected by the incident.
12 Venom's Noise Is A Tasmanian Devil
Movies famously get creative with unusual sounds to make iconic noise. Whether it be an old film projector for the hum of a lightsaber or a whale’s blowhole for a T-Rex in Jurassic Park, we’ve heard them all. But did you know that the noise of Venom in Spider-Man 3 was actually a Tasmanian devil?
Raimi wanted his version of the symbiote to have more of a personality, but how do you decide what an intergalactic menace should sound like? In the end, the crew settled on the ravenous roars of a hungry Tasmanian devil.
The Venom noise was most noticeable when things came to a head and Peter confronted his demonic new friend in the church. With the bells ringing, the symbiote separated from Parker and let out screams of pain - courtesy of the Australian animal.
11 Kirsten Dunst's Screams Were Recycled
It wasn’t just Gwen Stacy who was a damsel in distress during Spider-Man 3. Kirsten Dunst was back and in peril as Mary Jane Watson. Some characters are known for the way they look, some are known for their witty one-liners, but MJ was known for three films of screaming as loud as she could.
After being kidnapped and battered by a many-tentacled terror, Spider-Man 3 was a whole new chapter of horror for MJ. Forced to face an alien symbiote, a jealous ex-boyfriend, and a walking sandcastle, you can see why the movie might need to use the odd MJ scream.
However, for whatever reason, all of MJ’s screams were actually recycled from Spider-Man 2. Maybe Dunst had a sore throat, or maybe she was just sick of screaming her head off all day every day.
10 Thomas Haden Church Broke Three Knuckles
After playing the villainous Lyle Van de Groot in George of the Jungle and his Academy Award-nominated performance in Sideways, Thomas Haden Church’s CV may look a little sparse up until Spider-Man 3. However, as secondary villain Flint Marko - aka Sandman - he gave a sympathetic performance that could've been a lot worse.
Although Marko and Parker eventually end on amicable terms (of sorts), most of the movie pits them against each other as villain and hero. One of Sandman’s more memorable scenes is his fight with Peter Parker in the New York subway. Did you know Church broke three knuckles while filming the segment?
As Marko swings a punch at Parker, he strikes a brick wall; however, for the purposes of movie magic, Church was meant to hit a foam insert. The SFX team hasn't yet put the fake brick in place, so when Raimi shouted action on the first take, Chruch spun around and punched the real brick. Who said being an actor was easy?
9 Venom Was Supposed To Come From Space
Do you remember those rumors that Daniel Espinosa’s Life was a prequel to the Tom Hardy Venom movie? Well, it seems that theorists may have plucked a forgotten idea from Spider-Man 3’s early days.
Raimi was going to bring back Daniel Gillies as John Jameson. Featured as MJ's love interest in Spider-Man 2, astronaut Jameson was last seen ditched at the altar when she went back to Peter. Presumably getting over his broken heart, Jameson would suit up for another mission to make his infamous editor daddy proud.
Spider-Man 3 would see John’s return to Earth, and the first half of the film was supposed to have the symbiote stowing away on Jameson's ship to head with him back to NYC.
It all sounds suitably John Carpenter-esque, but to save time (and money), the symbiote crashed to Earth in that tried-and-tested meteorite plot.
8 Scarlett Johansson And Elisha Cuthbert Were Considered For Gwen Stacy
The Raimiverse got a lot of its castings spot on, and it was hard not to like Bryce Dallas Howard as the potentially doomed Gwen Stacy. Most will agree that Howard managed to do the character justice. Sure, Howard may not be quite as memorable as the Emma Stone years - mainly because she had less to do - but who else could you imagine playing Gwen?
In early casting stages, it is reported that both Scarlett Johansson and Elisha Cuthbert were considered to play Ms. Stacy. Both would’ve certainly added something different to the part, but considering that Johansson went on to play Natasha Romanoff in the MCU, being Gwen might have changed her future - look at poor Topher Grace.
With the likes of Aunt May, Harry, and J.J. Jameson being heralded as amazing casting choices, Howard was no exception to the rule.
7 Raimi Didn't Want Venom
It is almost impossible to imagine what Spider-Man 3 would’ve been without Venom, but just like the whole "two movies" debacle, there was a time when the symbiote wasn’t due to appear at all.
Raimi's plate was already full with plans of Goblins and Sandman, but after some (not so) gentle persuasion from producer Avi Arad, Venom made the cut. Raimi hoped that audiences wouldn’t be able to guess Venom was coming to Spider-Man 3, but it didn’t really fool anyone. In some vain attempt to keep the plot of the movie a secret, Raimi continued to pretend that he hated Venom to the public.
Love or hate the inclusion of Venom, he was a character that fans had been waiting for since the first movie in 2002. It may not have been handled in the way that everyone would’ve liked, but like the love/hate relationship with marmite, Venom became an important part of Raimi’s cinematic history.
6 Production Began Before Spider-Man 2 Hit Cinemas
With Spider-Man 2 hoping to follow in its predecessor's footsteps, the studio greenlit production on a third movie before the second one even hit cinemas.
Spider-Man 2 was released in June 2004, while tentative work on No. 3 had already begun in March. Thankfully, Alfred Molina’s flailing tentacles and those dramatic train scenes meant that the sequel was a huge success, and fans couldn’t wait for another chapter. The Sony hype train went full speed ahead and set the next movie for May 2, 2007. Spider-Man 3's release date eventually shifted by just two days to May 4.
With Raimi planning a quadrilogy (and more), it’s lucky the studio didn’t repeat this tactic again for Spider-Man 4. Everyone knows that the critical performance of Spider-Man 3 eventually lead to a fourth movie being canned for the Garfield era reboot.
5 Harry's Lab Had Some Goblin Easter Eggs
Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy technically had two goblins, but who knows whether the future of the franchise planned to introduce fan-favorite Hobgoblin. He may not be as infamous as the big bad Green Goblin, but Hobgoblin created as an alternative for those sick of Norman Osborn’s miraculous resurrections.
While Hobgoblin was definitely not part of the villain overkill of Spider-Man 3, there was a hint of his potential in the Raimiverse. As the camera pans across Harry’s updated lab, you can spot several different Goblin masks. As well as his father’s mask, there is a silver and gold Hobgoblin mask pulled straight from the comics.
Raimi originally planned to turn Harry into the Hobgoblin instead of just recycling the first film’s villain, and the inclusion of the Hobgoblin mask teases that this was almost the case. Sadly, Harry took his father’s mantle to make it easier for audiences - but would it really have been that difficult to understand?
4 Joe Manganiello Returned As Flash Thompson
The MCU has introduced its own modern take on Flash Thompson with Tony Revolori, but back in the Sony days, Raimi went with a more classic high school jock version. Long before he stuck on an eyepatch and grabbed a katana to play Deathstroke, Joe Manganiello played Peter Parker's bully in Spider-Man.
Manganiello's Flash was the boyfriend of Mary Jane and part of that iconic cafeteria scene. However, at the end of the movie, MJ and Flash broke up after she rejected his marriage proposal. For a while, it looked like Raimi had forgotten about Flash, but after sitting out Spider-Man 2, Manganiello had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it return for the final chapter.
It was a silent cameo, but Flash was among the mourners at the end of the film for Harry’s funeral. It is unknown if he would’ve been back for Spider-Man 4 and beyond, but Manganiello would’ve been a great villainous Flash.
3 Sandman Took 3 Years To Perfect
If you were impressed how Spider-Man 3 brought Sandman to life from the page to the screen, you're not alone. While Marvel could do whatever an artist imagined in the comics, bringing this to a movie while looking realistic was a much bigger problem.
For the CGI elements, the SFX team worked tirelessly for three years to bring the state-of-the-art technology to life. Elsewhere, it wasn’t just a case of grabbing a bag of sand and throwing it in front of a camera, and several experiments were undertaken to see how sand moves. The team consulted sand sculptors, launched real sand at stuntmen, and even used an amputee boxer to give the illusion of Spider-Man punching through Marko’s chest.
As well as the computer effects, the crew used ground corn to give the practical effect of sand because of the way it showed up on camera. It was a lot more than just Haden Church just wearing a striped shirt and skulking around in a giant silo.
2 It was Cliff Robertson's Final Film
Everyone knows that only Uncle Ben and the Waynes have to stay dead in comic books, but even that didn’t stop Peter’s adoptive father popping up again in Spider-Man 3.
Fulfilling Uncle Ben’s fate and being gunned down in the first movie, legendary actor Cliff Robertson returned for the final movie.There was arguably no one better to deliver the iconic “with great power...” line.
The whole Uncle Ben retcon was just one of the movie’s biggest grievances, but it was great to have Robertson back on the set. Also, no matter what your opinion on the story change, Uncle Ben’s altered demise added a much deeper level to Flint Marko’s anti hero status.
After 74 years in Tinsel Town and roles in movies like Charly, Return to Earth, and Escape from L.A., Spider-Man 3 has the honor of being Robertson’s final film. Although he didn’t pass away until 2011 on his 88th birthday, Uncle Ben represents his retirement from acting.
1 It's The Spider-Man Movie Which Has Made The Most Money
History is littered with maligned movies that make a tonne at the box office *cough* Batman v Superman, and Spider-Man 3 was no exception.
Riding on the coattails of the first two movies, Raimi’s return alone was enough to shift some serious cinema tickets. While Spider-Man 3 was the most expensive superhero movie ever (at the time), it raked in the dollar signs for Sony.
In terms of the studio, Spider-Man 3 has only been beaten at the box office by 2012’s Skyfall. Eclipsing the Andrew Garfield movie, Spider-Man 3 is even ahead of Homecoming’s worldwide takings of $879,578,149. With a colossal $894,860,230, will any of Peter Parker’s adventures ever be able to topple Raimi’s controversial swansong?
With Homecoming’s critical reception miles ahead of Spider-Man 3, I don’t think the MCU will be losing any sleep over the original trilogy. However, this is one movie that left Sony laughing all the way to the bank. You can only imagine what a John Malkovich and Anne Hathaway-packed Spider-Man 4 would've brought in.
Do you have any other Spider-Man 3 trivia to share? Leave it in the comments!
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