Oh, what could have been. One of the artists working on Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 before the action movie was cancelled has shared a planned battle between Spidey and The Vulture, and it’s quite the ride.
Told via animated sketches, the scene starts with Spider-Man and his antagonist mid-battle, Peter getting blindsided on top of a building. Vulture drops him on Citicorp’s windowed roof, then circles back around for a couple more blows. Peter’s costume is torn up, and he has shards of glass coming out of him – gnarly. Our friendly neighbourhood webhead tries to retaliate, but Vulture gets the best of him, dragging him along the cracked windows.
Peter’s stabbed through the shoulder, and Vulture unmasks him. For a second, it seems like he might take pity on young Parker, but no, he goes for the kill. Only distraction from Mary-Jane Watson gives Spidey opportunity kick Vulture off, and the two part ways, Vulture limping off to crash down in a park. They live to fight another day, but one that’s unfortunately never coming.
It may be just storyboards put in motion to music, but this fight scene is tense. Vulture bears a strong resemblance to his general look in the comics, and John Malkovich was in line to play him before the film was canned.
“One of a half dozen animatics I produced for the ill-fated fourth Raimi Spider-Man. Studio politics, creative differences and bad internet reactions (to John Malkovich as Vulture) caused the plug to be pulled December of 2009, early in the prep stage,” David E. Duncan, who made the animation from storyboards by Jeff Henderson, wrote in the description on Vimeo. “However, one month later, Sony moved forward with Andrew Garfield reboot…”
Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 was to include Mysterio and Black Cat, as well as Malkovich’s Vulture. We’ve since gotten Michael Keaton as the Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home, maybe we’ll get Black Cat somewhere in Spider-Man: No Way Home? Given that Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker, Kirsten Dunst’s Mary-Jane Watson, and Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus from Raimi’s Spider-Man movies are due to appear, anything seems possible.
In any case, Raimi has since returned to Marvel, to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. He’s producing a new Evil Dead movie, too. For a refresher on everything Marvel Cinematic Universe, do read our complete MCU timeline.