Spider-Man: Far From Home arrives in theaters on July 2 with the current Peter Parker, Tom Holland, boasting an intensely devoted following from Marvel Studios fans. Several other Spider-Man movies (not starring Holland) are currently in the works at Sony after the success of Into The Spider-Verse, and everything’s coming up Spidey these days. All of this success may have never happened, though, if a planned 1980s Spider-Man project surfaced in theaters. From the details reported by Digital Spy, the near-miss sounds awful, which is why the outlet says that it could have “destroyed the MCU.” That’s a little extreme, but this would have been disastrous for the future of Spider-Man. The report dovetails with vague details that were previously known about about a shelved film Spider-Man film starring Tom Cruise, and the additional information indicates that a true Spider-Bullet was dodged.
How so? For starters, this would have been a horror movie from Cannon Films with Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Tobe Hooper at the helm and Outer Limits creator Leslie Stevens onboard in some capacity. The project would have involved a five-year option for Spider-Man rights, which is a move that would have unavoidably reinvented public perception of Peter Parker, and instead of an origin story where he’s bitten by a radioactive spider that altered his DNA, this would have been a much bleaker take without heroics and with, um, some suicidal tendencies:
In this new version, instead of being bitten by a radioactive spider, Parker was deliberately bombarded with radiation by a corporate scientist — named Doctor Zork — who transforms the ID photographer (not student, or journalist) into a giant eight-armed spider-hybrid, who’s so monstrous he swiftly becomes suicidal. Yay?
Yes, this sounds positively Cronenberg-esque and possibly inspired by 1986’s Jeff Goldblum-starring The Fly, which isn’t an approach that one should take with Peter Parker (Spider-Man 3‘s emo phase was bad enough). It goes against the entire fabric of the beloved character, and the fan pushback would have been intense, even though this was long before the days of rabid social media (and Spider-Selfie) backlash.
Not only did this project sound awful on its face, but Cannon Films wanted to snag the early-career Cruise to play the suicidal Parker plus Lauren Bacall or Katharine Hepburn as Aunt May. Hmm. Digital Spy also quotes Scott Leva, a stunt-man who was in competition to play Parker, and he claims that the initial script for this project was “good,” but after being passed around to several scribes for rewrites, “it went from good to bad to terrible.” Oh boy.
(Via Digital Spy)