NY Mag’s Vulture blog’s Claude Brodesser-Akner has a lot more details on why the Raimi version of SPIDER-MAN 4 will never be. Basically, after seeing AVATAR, Raimi wanted to bringing more state-of-the-art SFX, which wouldn’t really have been ready by the 2011 release date. Also, the script had some problems, as the studio saw it. Here’s what WOULD have been with the Malkovich Vulture storyline:
Condensed, it went something like this: Peter Parker gets over MJ, finds a new girl, falls in love. But: Peter also discovers her father is actually the Vulture, a naughty green guy with wings to be played by John Malkovich. Peter is torn between the love of his new lady and taking down the Vulture. Being a Spandex tight-ass, he decides to take down the Vulture, and kills him. This patricide goes down poorly with Peter’s new fiancée, and she rejects him. Despondent, Peter decides to abandon his superpowers, and Movie No. 4 ends with Peter Parker throwing away his Spider-Man mask, and audiences wondering if they are watching Superman II.
Sony’s execs didn’t much care for this dour story line, and its consumer-products division especially detested the villain who, let’s face it, is pushing 60. (But hey, John Malkovich, from one Vulture to another, we think you look great! Really!) Columbia’s toy partner, Hasbro, also worried that suggesting its main character was packing it in might hurt future toy sales. And these days, toys are a key revenue stream, and demand far more forethought than that given to the scripts of $200 million movies. “This is piecemeal, old-school Hollywood mentality,” says Jeff Gomez, President and CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, which advises studios on how to define their franchises’ universes and mythologies for maximum toysploitation. (Past clients: Pirates of the Carribean, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and — wait for it — Avatar!) “Spider-Man belongs to a millennial generation that demands continuity, and that requires long-term and careful design. None of that has existed for Spider-Man since the second movie.”
So there you have it. Would The Beat have enjoyed this somber exploration of the superhero’s responsibility? Maybe. Would Hollywood execs? No chance in hell.