Here's why a fantastic animatronic Green Goblin mask built for Sam Raimi's Spider-Man wasn't used. Given the number of movies that have involved the character in the last fifteen years, it's hard to remember a time Spider-Man was trapped in development hell. B-movie specialists Cannon (Superman IV: The Quest For Peace) spent a good chunk of the 1980s developing a Spider-Man movie, with one draft getting into body horror territory as Peter Parker actually turned into an eight-legged spider creature. The project would later wind up with James Cameron, who wrote a detailed outline that included villains Electro and Sandman.
Comic book properties suddenly became a hot ticket following the success of X-Men and Sam Raimi was hired to direct 2002's Spider-Man. The movie was an origin story that pit Peter (Tobey Maguire) against Willem Dafoe's Norman Osborn/Green Goblin. It was a huge hit with Spider-Man 2 quickly following in 2004. The sequel showed the strain on Peter as he balanced being the webslinger while trying to live a normal life, and facing off against Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina). The sequel is considered the strongest of Raimi's trilogy, while 2007's Spider-Man 3 is ranked the weakest. The film was overloaded with characters and subplots, with Raimi famously forced to included fan-favorite Venom despite a dislike for the character. While a fourth movie entered pre-production, Raimi later walked away following dissatisfaction with the script.
Willem Dafoe was a lot of fun in the original Spider-Man and hammed up a storm playing the Green Goblin side of Norman Osborn. One element that received criticism was the villain's costume, which consisted of green armor and an underwhelming mask. While Dafoe's performance managed to shine through, it was a definite deviation from the character's comic look. It proved even more disappointing when test footage appeared from effect artists Amalgamated Dynamics of the original Green Goblin mask, which would have seen Norman transform into his alter-ego.
This mask was seriously eerie and displayed an impressive range of articulation, and blows the final version of the Green Goblin mask out of the water. This Green Goblin look leans into Raimi's horror roots, but one concern was the mask was going to be too creepy for younger viewers. Raimi opted to scrap this mask before William Dafoe was even cast, and while the articulated mask is extremely impressive, it was noted as being very difficult to wear and required a lot of time to apply.
This led to the final Green Goblin mask used in Spider-Man. Another unused element from the film was Peter building web-shooters. Maguire can be seen with a web-shooter in an early teaser, but the final version opted to have his web-slinging abilities be organic instead.