The story of Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man may not be over just yet. At least, not if Marvel is teasing what fans think they might be. That's right: the scrapped sequel Spider-Man 4 may finally become a reality... just not as a movie, but a comic book. Believe us, it's more likely than anyone would've believed until now.
This isn't the kind of theory or speculation that would normally hold any water, since Marvel Studios has a new Spider-Man delighting audiences, and a sequel in Spider-Man: Far From Home on the way. But it was Marvel Comics who first dropped the explicit 'Spider-Man 4' tease on unsuspecting fans first, and thanks to more social media posts--which may have given away more than they should have--the likely answer has come into focus. After Tobey Maguire recently said he'd play a superhero again, some may have dreamed of seeing him reprise his role. But what if Marvel made Spider-Man 4 a reality in the form of a new comic series, modeled after the movie characters, instead?
[Update: Marvel was actually teasing a five-issue Spider-Man comic from J.J. Abrams and his son, Henry.]
For the Marvel fans who missed the tease, it comes directly from Marvel's official Twitter account. Nothing but a single image was posted, revealing the number 4 woven out of a spider's web--a fairly clear allusion to the planned-but-canceled Spider-Man 4. As if anticipating the confusion such a clue would cause, the caption accompanying the image simply reads: "#MarvelComics".
After Marvel's Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski quoting the tweet with the added claim that "No one is going to see this one coming...", artist Alex Ross helped narrow it down. Ross posted artwork of Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in recreated moments from their Spider-Man films, also with the caption "SpiderMan4." The Tweet was soon deleted, but no further hints were really needed to form the most obvious theory: the story of Spider-Man 4, the infamous, unmade movie finally finished... in comic form.
These days, there are sure to be many MCU fans who never actually saw the first Spider-Man films, or ever knew that a Spider-Man 4 was planned with Maguire and Kirsten Dunst set to return. Raimi explained in a 2013 interview with Vulture that his scrapped Spider-Man 4 wasn't a case of hurt feelings, creative differences, or studio pressure. And while he did intend to include several supervillains, including John Malkovich's Vulture, and Anne Hathaway's Black Cat, the overall goal was always to deliver his best Spidey story to date, after being just as disappointed with Spider-Man 3 as fans:
It really was the most amicable and undramatic of breakups: It was simply that we had a deadline and I couldn’t get the story to work on a level that I wanted it to work. 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, due to my own failings, and I said to Sony, 'I don’t want to make a movie that is less than great, so I think we shouldn’t make this picture. Go ahead with your reboot, which you’ve been planning anyway.' And [Sony co-chairman] Amy Pascal said, 'Thank you. Thank you for not wasting the studio’s money, and I appreciate your candor.' So we left on the best of terms, both of us trying to do the best thing for fans, the good name of Spider-Man, and Sony Studios.
Since the biggest hurdle to Raimi and Marvel Comics teaming up to make the story a reality would be hard feelings, bruised egos, or a grudge, the amicable ending is fantastic news. It's not the first sign of Marvel looking back fondly, either. Even the makers of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse have confirmed that they had, at one time, hoped to have Tobey Maguire appear as Spider-Man--alongside Tom Holland and Andrew Garfield, acknowledging the movie incarnations of Peter Parker as well as the comic book versions. And the success of the animated movie immediately had the producer of the original Maguire trilogy saying he wants Sam Raimi to make an animated Spider-Man movie, too.
Making Spider-Man 4 into a feature film, even in animated form, would make for a massive investment. But adapting it into a comic book? That's completely possible. And it would also be the outcome to make all these tease make perfect sense. But until official word arrives, Spidey fans will just have to hope along with the rest of us.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019