How Spider-Man 4 Cancellation Paved the Way for Peter Parker’s MCU Future

In today’s edition of “what if?” alternate superhero history, we look back at what could have been as Sam Raimi’s Spider-man 4 would have hit theaters exactly a decade ago. Following the financial success of Spider-Man 3, the plan was to have Raimi direct another installment with Tobey Maguire reprising his role as Peter Parker once more. That didn’t happen.

Instead, we got The Amazing Spider-Man reboot with Andrew Garfield, which ultimately paved the way, eventually for Spidey to make his way to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This sequel not happening, oddly enough, probably made a bigger impact than the movie itself would have made.

RELATED: Playing Spider-Man Again Is Something Andrew Garfield Will Never Say Never To

Let’s rewind the clock. On March 12, 2009, the official Sony Pictures Twitter account stated, “Sony Pictures to release Spider-Man 4 on May 6, 2011.” Considering Spider-Man 3 made just shy of $900 million at the box office in 2007, this seemed like a wise choice. Mind you, Iron Man had just come out in 2008. The idea of a superhero cinematic universe wasn’t really on anyone’s mind just yet.

Unfortunately, Sony had a release date they wanted to hit and Sam Raimi as pre-production rolled on, didn’t feel that he could maintain the creative integrity of the project while trying to make that date. So, on January 11, 2010, it was officially announced that Sony would opt for a reboot instead. At the time, Raimi said the following.

“Working on the Spider-Man movies was the experience of a lifetime for me. While we were looking forward to doing a fourth one together, the studio and Marvel have a unique opportunity to take the franchise in a new direction, and I know they will do a terrific job.”

James Vanderbilt wrote the screenplay for what would become The Amazing Spider-Man, taking its title from the Marvel Comics series that brought the superhero to life in the 60s. Andrew Garfiled was cast as Peter Parker with Mark Webb in the director’s chair. Emma Stone was also tapped to play Gwen Stacy, which offered something different since Kirsten Dunst had portrayed Mary Jane Watson in Sam Raimi’s trilogy. The movie, released in 2012, made a respectable $757 million at the box office, paving the way for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014. Against heavily mixed reviews, the sequel earned just $708 million.

After some bizarre considerations were made behind the scenes, such as an Aunt May solo movie (yes, really), a bombshell deal was made with Disney and Marvel Studios. Spider-Man made his way to the MCU, with Tom Holland playing Peter Parker beginning in 2016 with Captain America: Civil War. That has worked out quite well so far, with Spider-Man: No Way Home due in theaters this December.

But what would have Spider-Man 4 looked like? We’ve heard bits and pieces over the years. Vulture was expected to be the villain with John Malkovich said to be considered for the role. All we can do is wonder. The good news is, rumor has it Tobey Maguire and possibly Andrew Garfield are going to appear in No Way Home, as the Marvel multiverse is about to be explored in the MCU. We’ll see if that truly comes to pass. For now, you can check out the original announcement from the Sony Pictures Twitter account and ponder what might have been.