Marvel Entertainment sent comic book fans into a tizzy June 16 after posting a cryptic image depicting a spider web in the shape of the number four. The image created a stir on social media as Marvel fans took the graphic to be a tease that Sam Raimi’s once-in-development “Spider-Man 4” might finally see the light of day as a comic book. Marvel Entertainment has not confirmed anything about the image, further stoking rumors online.
While 20th Century Fox released “X-Men” in 2000, it’s usually Sam Raimi and Sony Pictures’ “Spider-Man” in 2002 that’s given credit for kicking off the comic book movie boom of the 21st century. The film, starring Tobey Maguire as the web-slinging superhero and Kirsten Dunst as love interest Mary Jane Watson, broke the opening weekend box office record at the time with $114 million. “Spider-Man” ended its run with $821 million worldwide, and Raimi and his cast returned for 2004’s “Spider-Man 2” and 2007’s “Spider-Man 3.”
While “Spider-Man 2” earned rave reviews and is often cited as one of the best comic book movies ever made, “Spider-Man 3” nosedived with critics. Raimi revealed to Vulture in March 2013 that he was actively developing “Spider-Man 4” in order to end the franchise on a high note but the plan got killed because of timing.
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“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,” Raimi said. “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, and 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. Go ahead with your reboot, which you’ve been planning anyway.'”
Sony would go on to reboot the franchise with director Marc Webb and actor Andrew Garfield in the title role. The reboot meant Raimi would not be able to see his vision for “Spider-Man 4” realized on the big screen. The director told Vulture he had plans to cast Anne Hathaway as Felicia Hardy/Black Cat, while other rumors suggested John Malkovich was being lined up to play the villainous Vulture.
Adding to the rumor that Raimi’s “Spider-Man 4” might happen as a comic book are cryptic tweets from Marvel Comics editor C. B. Cebulski, who posted on May 3 that it was time the company “publish another title that sells over seven figures.” But a wrench was thrown into the sequel buzz with Cebulski’s June 16 tweet, which responded to the spider web photo with a caption that read: “No one is going to see this one coming.” Practically every Marvel fan is seeing “Spider-Man 4” coming based on the photo, especially since Raimi has already gone on record with what some of his plans would have been.
As for Spider-Man on the big screen, Tom Holland is back in the role in next month’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” Sony is releasing the Marvel Cinematic Universe title in theaters nationwide July 2.
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) June 16, 2019
— C.B. Cebulski (@CBCebulski) June 16, 2019
The last comic to sell a million copies was Star Wars #1. Which was almost five years ago. I feel it’s about time we publish another title that sells over seven figures. And I think I have an idea…
— C.B. Cebulski (@CBCebulski) May 3, 2019