“What If … Sam Raimi Had Made Spider-Man 4” is an opinion piece. There have been many hopes and wishes of a fourth installment be made over the years, this is yet another proposal.
This article is part of a series, please be sure to check out the previous entries:
As I mentioned in my What Could’ve Been article, I have always felt that Spider-Man 3 (2007) had just missed the boat of ending with a double final entry. Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games were all able to have their grand finales split into double features a few years later. I have always felt that there was too much in Spider-Man 3, (especially in the third act), for it to have ever been able to have a satisfying conclusion. So, if you would be so kind as to entertain this thought process for a few moments …
I want to play the “What If …” game.
What if … Spider-Man 3 and Spider-Man 4 had been filmed at the same time?
The Original Plan
Please forgive this fan made poster. I’m mainly including it as just to give a visual perspective on what has come out about Sam Raimi‘s original plan for his scrapped Spider-Man 4 movie.
Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst would both return as Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson.
John Malkovich would play Adrian Toomes AKA the Vulture. Anne Hathaway as Felicia Hardy AKA Black Cat … and for some reason, Angelina Jolie would be playing Adrian’s … daughter? Okay!
I’m not sure what Bruce Campbell is doing there, but I think that it might just be a nod to his cameos (and could be apart of a new cameo) than him actually playing the legit villain Mysterio.
Anyways, as far as I am concerned; this is out. I truly believe that had Sam Raimi made this movie, he would’ve gotten an even worst reaction than what he had gotten for Spider-Man 3. Not only does this look impossible, but the Vulture is boring. This is not the way to go.
First things first, this idea is more something that I wish had happened at the point of time when the Raimi / Maguire Spider-Man movies were being made rather than something that I want to have happen in any type of the near future. What follows is what could happen in a proposed Spider-Man 4 using the characters and storylines that have already been setup and established with the previous three entries of the franchise. Obviously there is no way to change Spider-Man 3, so this is very much wishful thinking on my part … if nothing else.
So obviously the main focus has to be with Spider-Man. Sam Raimi has stated that he would only be interested in making a Spider-Man 4 if he was able to provide Peter Parker with enough of an emotional journey to go along with the idea.
There are a few lingering storylines that we can work with and come into play with what has already happened. Harry Osborn (James Franco) died at the end of Spider-Man 3 and his presence still very much needs to be felt. This could be apart of Peter’s story arc as he is still mourning Harry’s death and upset at the fact that he is incapable of saving everybody.
Peter and Mary Jane
Let’s not have Peter and MJ back together just yet. Peter is dealing with how heartbroken he is that he and Mary Jane are still broken up and he still has feelings of wanting to marry her.
… and Mary Jane also has to be mourning Harry’s death. They were close and she almost left Peter for him. With Mary Jane choosing to reject Peter’s plea to get back together at the end of Spider-Man 3, we need to know why she is so reluctant in being with him besides the fact that she is jealous of Peter as Spider-Man. Mary Jane has to have some type of internal struggle that she is dealing with. It doesn’t have to be anything on a grand scale. Perhaps she can contemplate her confusion and the direction of her life’s choices. She doesn’t have to become a model but with Broadway no longer an option, she doesn’t want to be waiting tables her entire life.
There is only one direction that Aunt May’s (Rosemary Harris) story to go in, and that would be to have her pass on. It’s probably stealing a plot point from the Spider-Man (2018) video game but it’s one that I actually feel is appropriate for the character. She is getting on in age and I don’t know what other purpose she could possible have because this would not only give her story a conclusion but it would also further Peter’s emotional journey in how he acceps the loss of both Uncle Ben and Aunt May.
Now with Harry out of the way, we can concentrate on making both Eddie and Venom the main antagonists of Spider-Man 4. When last we saw Eddie in Spider-Man 3, Peter had been responsible for him getting fired from the Daily Bugle, he had just gotten dumped by his “girlfriend”, Gwen Stacy and had just gotten fused with the symbiote
By having a double feature, instead of shoehorning Venom into the third act Spider-Man 3, this would’ve been able to flesh out Eddie’s journey a lot better by giving him more screen time. It also would’ve given the opportunity as to why Eddie would succumb to the alien symbiote’s influence instead of fighting it off like Peter was able to.
The main thing that really needs to get fleshed out is why he becomes so angry with Peter. Unless Eddie has had the perfect life up to this point, it is hard to imagine that Peter is the only person who has ever wronged him. Eddie seems to be the type of person who cheats his way to the top, which by all accounts is a pretty scummy move and a few flashbacks into how his childhood differed from Peter’s.
Dylan Baker as Curt Conners is the one lingering storyline that could get could get resolved. Why Sam Raimi would choose to use the Vulture as the main antagonist instead of focusing on Conner’s transformation into the Lizard is beyond me. He was right there!
All of the makings of this storyline have already been setup. Doctor Curt Conners has been Peter’s University Professor in both Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3, so it would’ve only been logical to bring him back for Spider-Man 4. However, instead of mainly focusing on him as the “A” villain, it should be similar to that of Sandman where the Lizard is the “B” villain. This way, by using Lizard as the next “classic” villain as well as setting up Venom as the main antagonist, Sam Raimi can have his cake … and eat it too!
What I would like to see is for Peter to finally graduate from collage. He has been a student of Curt Connors for many years now and it’s about time that he becomes the brilliant (but lazy) scientific mind that we know he is. After graduation, Curt offers Peter a job as his lab assistant. Peter accepts and shortly afterwards, Curt shows Peter the experiments that he has been working on: Lizards. A peek into Curt’s family life would be ideal and much like Flint Marko, it doesn’t have to be much. This could be a way of showing how he struggles with living with only one arm, leading to injecting himself with the lizard DNA and resulting in his transformation.
Of course, Peter would know Lizard real identity simply based off of what he knows about the experiments that Connors had shown him. Curt don’t necessary have to team up with or get recruited by Eddie / Venom in the third act but it would be nice to see Peter be able to come up with some type of cure that would be able to save Curt instead of killing him off.
Anne Hathaway as Felicia Hardy is probably the only thing that I would cherry pick from Sam Raimi‘s original Spider-Man 4 idea. She went on to play Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), so it’s not too far of a stretch of the imagination to envision her playing Black Cat.
There doesn’t have to be too much of an explanation as to who or what Felicia Hardy is doing, as I feel that she can be used more as a background character who is coming and going from Peter’s life as well as when he is patrolling as Spider-Man. In the comic, Felicia’s story mostly revolves around the Kingpin because her father was associated with him. This could also make it feel like there is more going on in NYC.
Her introduction would work as a great opening scene: Night shot, we see a mysterious black figure breaking into a facility … or a jewelry store … or a museum with the intention of robbing it. Spidey shows up from the shadows to stop her and after a brief fight scene, she ultimately escapes. I would like to see there be a little bit of a romance between Black Cat and Spider-Man, but more so in a flirty type of way instead of a full blown love affair.
Considering we need to do something with the Daily Bugle, this is where these two storylines can intersect. With Black Cat’s crimes making front page news and with how J. Jonah Jameson likes to blame Spider-Man, we can have Jonah accuse Spider-Man of being in cahoots with her — or blame him for not trying to stop her. (Spider-Man is ever the enemy in his eyes, after all). This would give Spider-Man a reason to track her down and try to stop her nightly burglary escapades.
Because we know that Eddie does in fact allow the symbiote to control him, it only makes sense for him to have some underlying anger issues that he has repressed in his life instead of acknowledging and dealing with them in a healthy way. This can be used as what then leads Eddie into blaming Peter for his miserable life and deciding to take it out on him.
This is also where we could bring Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard) back for a few scenes. She was totally wasted in Spider-Man 3, but to completely ignore her wouldn’t be right either. Since Eddie still wants her back, why not have him confront her with the attempt of trying to win her back while he is possessed by the symbiote. He tries to tell her that he has changed and shows her what he is now capable of. This scares Gwen and she tells him that she doesn’t want anything to do with him, rejecting him once again. Resulting in Eddie becoming even more confused, angry and bitter and blaming everybody but himself. His anger feeding into the symbiote.
… and then we finally come to the final battle with Venom. I’ll keep this brief as this is more bullet points than actually explaining the details on how we get to this point. With Spider-Man 3 setting up Eddie Brock, it only makes sense for Venom to be villain for the final battle in Spider-Man 4. Venom is a fairly decent threat on his own so it doesn’t matter if he recruits the Lizard (the same way he did with Sandman). Venom ends up getting defeated, whether in a similar fashion with “loud noises” as in what actually happened in Spider-Man 3 or some other way. Spider-Man finds some miraculous way of saving the day because the good guy has to win.
What I would do however in the final battle, is to bring Black Cat in to help fight alongside Spider-Man against Venom. This is how her story can have more of a point to it than simply being a cat like thief with a few meaningless random encounters throughout the film, and this would also establish a new friendship between the two of them similar to the comics.
A Satisfying Conclusion
I would like to see Peter and Mary Jane finally get married. It only makes sense. For Spider-Man 3 to have left their relationship on such a questionable note, this would make their entire romantic storyline throughout all of the movies come full circle to an ultimate (albeit predictable) conclusion because this is where it had been leading the whole time.
Let’s jump one year later for an epilogue. We see that both Peter and MJ are still living in New York, but this time they have their own apartment (instead of Peter still living across the hall from Mr. Ditkovich and his daughter Ursula).
Spider-Man swings into the window and we see him and Mary Jane share a passionate kiss, and suddenly we hear a baby cry. Peter goes to comfort the baby and paneling across the room, we see the babies name above the crib. “Annie May Parker”. They had a baby girl and they decided to name her after both MJ’s mother and Aunt May. This makes the most sense mostly because this is what was done in the comics.
As far as I’m concerned, This is what I feel would be the best way to end Peter’s emotional journey in Spider-Man 4. This is the most logical conclusion to how Peter’s journey throughout the entire trilogy should’ve ended because even with his underdog status, he deserve to be happy sometimes too.
Considering the fact that they have both been through many struggles and hardships throughout the franchise, it only makes sense that they both come out the other side. Scared but intact, and that is why I feel they both deserve to have their happy ending. It’s a cliché trope, but it’s one that works.
This is how I would’ve wanted to see as a potential Spider-Man 4 — if it had gotten made — and only if it was a double feature alongside Spider-Man 3. As you can see, I have spent a great amount of time thinking and contemplating about this over the years. There are just a few storylines that I feel had been left lingering at the end of Spider-Man 3 that I would’ve liked to have seen get resolved. Mostly to give Eddie Brock a proper story arc, Dylan Baker‘s Curt Conners finally transform into the Lizard as well as the fate of Peter and Mary Jane’s romantic relationship. Also, I just want to see a live action version of Black Cat some day.
As I said, this is more of a pipedream than anything and I would’ve only have liked it to be made at the time when the the Raimi / Maguire trilogy was being made, as I believe that the time for a fourth installment has truly passed and more than likely would not work today.