Sam Raimi says fans tried to get him fired from first ‘Spider-Man’ movie

There are many reasons to be excited for the incoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but one of the biggest for Marvel fans is the fact it comes from director Sam Raimi, making this his first superhero movie since the conclusion of the Spider-Man trilogy in 2007. Those films stand as some (well, at least two) of the most popular entries in the genre, so Raimi is something of a comic book movie legend.

And yet it wasn’t always this way. As the first Spider-Man reaches its 20th anniversary, Raimi spoke to Variety as part of a retrospective on the 2002 blockbuster and opened up about the amount of backlash his hiring received back in the day. Especially over his controversial decision to give Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker organic webshooters instead of the comics-accurate artificial ones.

The filmmaker recalled that the blowback was so intense that fans tried to get him fired. As Raimi put it:

“I don’t think that the fans thought I was the right person to direct Spider-Man in general. And then the organic web shooters — when the fans found out I was going that way, they tried to have me removed from the picture.”

Raimi went on to admit that he was well aware of the negative opinions from some corners, which wasn’t the best introduction to the Marvel fandom he could’ve had.

“I was aware of it, and it wasn’t a good thing for me,” he explained. “I didn’t have a great experience of the fans.”

Thankfully, once people got to see the film it became clear just how much Raimi understood and loved Spider-Man and his world, regardless of the organic webbing retcon. Not that this was even his idea. As Variety piece reaffirms, it was actually a concept left over from an earlier version of the movie that was to be helmed by Avatar‘s James Cameron, who envisioned it as a (kinda gross) metaphor for puberty.

Fast forward 20 years, however, and that’s all water under the bridge — there’s even a lot of nostalgia these days for Spider-Man 3. Here’s hoping Sam Raimi can deliver another classic offering to rival Spider-Man ’02 with Doctor Strange 2, which opens next week on May 6.