Why Was Spider-Man 4 Cancelled?

For the last two decades, superhero movies have been the most dominant genre at the box office. Thanks to the success of Bryan Singer’s X-Men in 2000, Hollywood was more willing to take a chance on comic book properties and three years later, director Sam Raim’s Spider-Man was introduced to the worldwide audiences with Tobey Maguire in the titular role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. As one of the most recognizable (and possibly the most popular) superhero characters in the world, the live-action adaptation helped catapult actors like Tobey Maguire, James Franco, Kirsten Dunst, and even J.K.Simmons to pop culture stardom; while becoming one of the biggest box-office draws with a gross return of $821.7 million.

Thanks to that financial milestone, Raimi got the green light from Sony to continue with two more sequels, Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3. The trilogy did so well that Raimi even had plans for a Spider-Man 4, but for some reason, it wasn’t able to make it off the drawing board. 

However, the news of a possible fourth Spider-Man instalment leaked and fans were still eager to see Tobey Maguire suit up again as the web-slinger; only to be disappointed when it was announced that Sony was bringing a reboot instead with British actor Andrew Garfield replacing Tobey Maguire in the iconic role. 

Garfield played the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Marc Webb’s 2012 The Amazing Spider-Man franchise for two films before Sony decided to reboot the character again with Tom Holland in the lead role. And the rest is pretty much history.

But although both Garfield and Holland were spectacular with their portrayals of the Marvel character, there is nothing quite like Raimi’s and Maguire’s take on the world of Spider-Man; leaving many fans to wonder why Sony never greenlit Raimi’s Spider-Man 4

The Raimi trilogy was at its peak at the time and Macguire was still young enough to play the character for one final hurrah, so what happened?

Why Was Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 Cancelled?

After it was announced that Spider-Man 4 was not being made, many fans and critics attributed the decision to Sony’s unhappiness with the audiences mixed reception of Spider-Man 3; even though the film’s final box office numbers were solid at $894.9 million. Others assumed that Tobey Macguire was simply ready to hang up the Spidey suit and move on to other projects. 

But the truth is, it was actually Sam Raimi who nixed the potential fourth film. According to HITC, Spider-Man 4 was cancelled because Sam Raimi wasn’t satisfied with the way the project was shaping up. He even went on the record explaining that he couldn’t quite land on a script he was happy with, so he and Sony agreed it was best to abandon the film.

During the development process, it is reported that Raimi had intentions of introducing The Vulture–which would have been played by John Malkovich–as Spider-Man 4‘s villain. He even considered Ben Kingsley for the role, but then Sony ultimately decided not to go with the character altogether. Good thing too, because then it would have been weird to see Kingsley years later as the fake Mandarin in Iron Man 3 after watching him play The Vulture; the same way that it was slightly weird to watch Chris Evans play Johnny Storm in The Fantastic Four films and then turn around and see him as Captain America in the MCU. 

Instead, Sony wanted to introduce The Lizard in Spider-Man 4, but it seems that as development on the script was progressing, Raimi no longer felt comfortable that he could deliver the same amount of success as his first two instalments. So he made a hard choice.

Speaking to Collider Magazine, Raimi expanded on why he decided to scrap the fourth instalment:

“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.”

“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’,” Raimi went on to add. “Go ahead with your reboot, which you’ve been planning anyway.”

And Sony did just that. A script for The Amazing Spider-Man was written by James Vanderbilt, and in 2012, the film was released with Andrew Garfield as the new Spider-Man.

Had Raimi’s film made it to the production stage, Spider-Man 4 would have been released on May 6th 2011; which would have made this year its 10th anniversary if it had been released.

Earlier this year, fans took to Twitter to commemorate the occasion and express their thoughts on the fourth instalment that never happened. 

However, if any of the rumors are true, fans may see Raimi and Maguire’s version of Peter Parker one last time in the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home; scheduled to hit theaters next month.

Though the film will mainly be focused on Tom Holland–as it is possibly his final film in the Sony/Disney partnership–there’s a good chance that fans will get to see Maguire suit up one last time. With Jamie Foxx returning as Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man, William Dafoe reprising his role as the Green Goblin, and Alfred Molina back as Doctor Octopus from  Raimi’s original Spider-Man trilogy, it’s almost a guarantee that fans will see Maguire make an appearance in some capacity.

Andrew Garfield is also expected to return as Marc Webb’s Peter Parker; however, the actor continues to deny any involvement with the film. Of course, we’ve been duped by Marvel actors before, so there’s still a good chance that Garfield has been sworn to secrecy like many of the Marvel Studios alumni. With the MCU now exploring the multiverse and Jamie Foxx already confirmed to appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home, there’s still a really good chance that fans will get to see Garfield grace the screen with Macguire and Holland. With December right around the corner, fans won’t have to wait long to find out, so keep your fingers crossed.