The Spider-Man movies have spun a pretty complex web over the years, with changing stars and cancelled projects, horror directors and fan films…
1. The first ever movie Spider-Man arrived on screen in 1969
Amateur filmmaker Donald F. Glut starred in the leading role. He also wrote, produced and directed the movie himself, and it’s now considered something of a cult classic. He later went on to write the official ‘Empire Strikes Back’ novelisation, and wrote countless episodes of classic TV cartoons including ‘He-Man’, ‘Transformers’, and ‘Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends’.
2. There was a super-cheap fan film released in 1992
A Spider-Man super-fan called Dan Poole made his own unofficial movie on a budget of $500, called ‘The Green Goblin’s Last Stand’, acting as star, director, producer, writer and editor. It went under the radar initially, but has been shown at film festivals since, with a documentary about its making also becoming a cult hit, and receiving an endorsement from Stan Lee himself.
3. The hills are alive with the sound of Spider-Man
Most comic book fans’ first introduction to Spider-Man on screen came in the full-length 1977 made for TV pilot for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ series, in which Nicholas Hammond played Peter Parker. He was previously best known for playing Friedrich Von Trapp as a child actor in ‘The Sound of Music’.
4. Almost Spider-Men
Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and now Tom Holland have pulled on the Spidey suit, but previous stars linked with the Spider-Man role include Tom Cruise (for the failed Cannon Pictures version), Leonardo DiCaprio (in Sony’s aborted late 90s version) and Jake Gyllenhaal (who nearly stepped in to replace Tobey Maguire on ‘Spider-Man 2’).
5. Arnie as Doc Ock?
There was a time when James Cameron was planning a big-screen version of Spidey with his ‘Terminator 2’ star Edward Furlong in the spandex, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Doctor Octopus. ‘Aliens’ star Lance Henricksen would have been Electro, and Michael Biehn Sandman
6. Other near misses
While Cruise, DiCaprio and Gyllenhaal almost played Spider-Man, villains that never were included Bob Hoskins as Doc Ock (jn the Cannon film) and John Malkovich as Vulture in ‘Spider-Man 4’. Stan Lee himself was also linked with the role of Daily Bugle editor J Jonah Jameson, which would have been amazing.
7. Horror links
Sam Raimi directed the Spider-Man movies in the early 00s (with Maguire and Kirsten Dunst as MJ), but he wasn’t the only horror legend to be up for the job. ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Tobe Hooper almost took the helm in the 80s.
8. Taking spiders too literally
In Hooper’s planned version, penned by sci-fi writer Leslie Stevens, Peter Parker was set to be a hideous eight-armed monster, transformed by radioactive bombardment. But Stan Lee hated the idea and pushed for another direction instead.
9. Spider-Man 4
Raimi made three Spider-Man movies in all, and was planning a fourth movie, featuring Anne Hathaway as Black Cat, but he ended up quitting the movie after falling out with Sony Pictures over scheduling.
10. Amazing almost men
After Tobey Maguire relinquished the Spidey suit, Andrew Garfield took over for a planned four movies. Other actors who reportedly screen tested for the role include Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Anton Yelchin, Jamie Bell, Josh Hutcherson and future Han Solo Alden Ehrenreich.
Collectively, the Spider-Man franchise is the 10th highest-grossing ever, having made $3.9 billion at the box office.
‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ is out on July 5, nationwide.