Aside from Batman and Superman, Spider-Man is the superhero with the most storied film history. While Superman has eight official studio films and Batman has 10, Spider-Man has seven. That's pretty impressive considering that the other two heroes had a huge headstart in terms of having films made about them. Since 2002, Spider-Man has also been played by three different actors. His films have also featured nine of his most classic villains, meaning that the history of Spider-Man films is already rich in mythology and characters. With all of those Spider-Man films, there are also plenty of pretty incredible stories that happened behind the scenes. After all, making movies is a huge task, and the Spider-Man films, from Sam Raimi all the way to Jon Watts, haven't always had the easiest path to release.
From Spider-Man to Spider-Man: Homecoming, there have been plenty of writers, actors, producers, and other production members involved in the making of these films, leading to three sets of Spider-Man movies that are wildly different, but also representative of the eras in which they were made. The behind-the-scenes stories from each of these films shed light on how they turned out, and what went into making some of them great and others not so great. Whether it was villains that were rumored to be appearing, or even surprise cameos from other superheroes, there are plenty of tales that might change the way we view any of these movies. These are 20 behind the scenes facts about the Spider-Man films that change everything.
20 ALFRED MOLINA NAMED HIS TENTACLES
In Spider-Man 2, Alfred Molina plays the famous scientist Doctor Otto Octavius. After an experiment goes wrong, four metal limbs are infused to Otto's body, driving him insane and leading him to become the supervillain Doctor Octopus. The operating room scene is famously pretty spooky, but behind the scenes, Molina and the tentacles had a special relationship.
In fact, Molina became so attached to his new limbs, that he ended up naming them. In an interview with Today, Molina revealed that he had named the tentacles Harry, Larry, Flo, and Moe. Flo had the most delicate jobs on set, such as removing Molina's glasses and lighting his cigar.
19 TOM HOLLAND ATTENDED A HIGH SCHOOL FOR RESEARCH
Spider-Man: Homecoming saw the return of Peter Parker to his high school days, which was a refreshing change and took the character back to a time when balancing his duties as Spider-Man was much more complicated. To really capture the feel of that age group, Tom Holland went to extreme measures.
Well, not totally extreme, but he definitely did something that most of us would rather not ever have to. For research, Holland attended a high school in the Bronx for three days. " It was a science school, and I am in no way a science student," Holland told reporters, "Some of the teachers would call me up in front of the class and try to get me to do science equations and stuff -- it was so embarrassing."
18 ANNE HATHAWAY ALMOST PLAYED BLACK CAT
Anne Hathaway got her chance to play a comic book mainstay when she stepped into the role of Selena Kyle, better known as Catwoman, in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises. However, she may have been playing a feline-based villain years before that role if plans for a fourth Sam Raimi Spider-Man film had been successful.
Anne Hathaway was all set to play Felicia Hardy, also known as Black Cat. In this case, though, things were a little different. According to Movieline, Sam Raimi was considering Hathaway for the role of Hardy but would have her become a new villain named the Vulturess, a companion to the Vulture, who also had a big name attached to the role.
17 BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS SUGGESTED USING WEB SHOOTERS
Brian Michael Bendis is one of the most celebrated writers and artists working in comic books today. Not only has he produced his own titles such as Fire and AKA Goldfish, but he is also the main creator of the Ultimate Marvel universe, along with the head writer of event storylines like "Secret War," "Age of Ultron," and "House of M."
It's no wonder, then, that Bendis was brought in to consult on The Amazing Spider-Man. However, before production or even a script had been started, Bendis had to be brought in to decide one thing: organic web shooters or mechanical web shooters? "I said 'mechanical,'" Bendis told Yahoo Movies. Apparently, he was the deciding vote.
16 LUCY LAWLESS HAS A CAMEO IN SPIDER-MAN
It's so quick, that you probably didn't even notice it the first time you watched Spider-Man, but Lucy Lawless, the Warrior Princess herself, has a cameo in the film. Remember the montage of people's reactions to Spider-Man (which also included comedian Jim Norton)? She was the punk woman who said "guy with eight hands... Sounds hot."
Lawless did the appearance as a favor to her husband, Rob Tapert, who founded Renaissance Pictures with Sam Raimi. Sam Raimi also worked as a producer on Xena: Warrior Princess and Lawless now has a main role in the series, Ash vs. Evil Dead, based on Raimi's very first movie.
15 PAUL GIAMATTI REALLY WANTED TO PLAY THE RHINO
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 featured The Rhino as a villain. However, he didn't appear in his actual rhino suit until the very end of the movie, where his fight with Spidey was left as a cliffhanger. For most of the film, he is just a gangster played by none other than Paul Giamatti. The casting might have seemed strange, but there was a reason behind it.
During an appearance on Conan, Giamatti expressed his interest in playing the villain. "I want to play one of the bad guys," Giamatti said on the show, "What I hope they do is revive from my childhood, The Rhino as the bad guy." Apparently, director Marc Webb saw that interview, and decided to cast him, telling Crave Online, "I wanted to incorporate that enthusiasm that he had in the movie."
14 JOHN MALKOVICH ALMOST PLAYED THE VULTURE FIRST
Had Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 4 become a reality, he would have featured one of Spider-Man's golden age villains: the Vulture. In the comic books, the Vulture is an elderly man who, through a specially designed flight harness, gains super strength and flight capabilities. In the film, he would have been portrayed by one of the most idiosyncratic actors in Hollywood.
Apparently, John Malkovich was being heavily considered for the role. He had previously turned down the role of Norman Osborn in the first film, so it would have been interesting to see him doing something different. Unfortunately, Spider-Man 4 never came to fruition, but the Vulture did eventually end up on-screen in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
13 CHRIS COLUMBUS ALMOST DIRECTED SPIDER-MAN
Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films benefited wildly from his inventive visual style and horror film sensibilities. It's hard to imagine someone else having made those films. However, he was not actually the first choice for the job. Before Sony settled on Raimi, they had another director in mind for the job: Chris Columbus
According to a Q&A with director Joseph Kahn, Amy Pascal had been considering both directors for the job, but Chirs Columbus was the front-runner. Luckily, Pascal ended up going with Raimi. Columbus is a fine director, but his sensibilities just wouldn't have been wild enough for a comic book film of that scope.
12 HOMECOMING HAD A WASHINGTON MONUMENT SET
One of the most memorable sequences from Spider-Man: Homecoming involved a daring rescue at the Washington Monument. The scene demonstrated how far Spider-Man was willing to go to help his friends, and also how inexperienced he is after he starts panicking from being up so high. Obviously, the filmmakers wanted to get this sequence right, so they went the extra mile.
To film the sequence properly and get the motion capture to look perfect, the filmmakers actually built a replica of the Washington monument in a studio so that they could perfectly capture the movements of Spider-Man leaping off of the top and deploying his famous web wings. The work paid off, as the shots were amazing.
11 JAKE GYLLENHAAL ALMOST REPLACED TOBEY MAGUIRE
Despite the fact that Peter Parker has now also been played by two other actors, it's hard for some people to forget how well Maguire played the role all the way back in 2002. However, there may have been a fourth Spider-Man actor if things had worked out just a little bit differently.
After sustaining an injury while filming Seabiscuit, Maguire was unsure of whether he could return to the role. The studio had arranged for Jake Gyllenhaal to take over the part, but Maguire ended up coming back. Gyllenhaal did end up getting the chance to appear in a Spider-Man film, though, landing the role of a villain (rumored to be Mysterio) in the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home.
10 SALLY FIELD DIDN'T LIKE THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN FILMS
The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel were less than amazing in a number of ways. Aside from being so disliked that they led Sony to lease Spider-Man back to the MCU, they also featured actors who didn't even enjoy their time on set. One of those actors happened to be Oscar winner Sally Field, who played Aunt May in both films.
In an interview with Howard Stern, Field expressed her dismay at the quality of the films and her role itself. She decided to do the film as a favor to her friend, producer Laura Ziskin but did not enjoy her time on set, or the finished product. "It’s not my kind of movie," Field told Stern, adding that she did not put a lot of effort into her character.
9 FOUR SPIDER-MAN SUITS WERE STOLEN FROM THE SET
Making a big Hollywood film is hard enough without having to worry about things going missing from the set. However, that's exactly what happened during production on Spider-Man. Costume designers had to make a lot of Spider-Man suits for the production, and four of them were stolen.
An investigation was launched into the missing suits, eventually leading to a former security guard who used to work at the studio. The four missing suits were tracked down to buyers in Northridge, New York, and Japan. While the film was completed and released in time, it wasn't easy for the costume designers to put together new suits to keep the production on schedule.
8 MICHAEL KEATON CONSULTED A FRIEND'S DAUGHTERS ON HIS ROLE
The Vulture might not have been played by John Malkovich for Sam Raimi, but he did finally get to appear on-screen in Spider-Man: Homecoming. This version of the famous Spidey villain was played by Michael Keaton as a salvager who sold weapons made from alien tech to criminals. Keaton was great in the role, but got some advice from some unlikely consultants.
Keaton wanted to make sure he got the villain right, but didn't know much about him. So, for help, he turned to the daughters of someone who had worked for him before. "I check in with them. One’s eight and the other one is 11 or 12," Keaton told Nerdist, "so when I have to ask a question about all that stuff, I text ’em. They fill me in on who’s who. That’s my research."
7 TOBEY MAGUIRE'S HALF-BROTHERS HAVE A CAMEO
One of the most memorable scenes from Spider-Man 2 sees the hero battling Doctor Octopus on top of an L train, speeding through New York. Eventually, Doc Ock disables the brakes and sends the train hurtling toward an unfinished track. Spider-Man manages to stop the train just in time but uses all his strength doing so.
He also has to remove his mask after it catches fire, exposing his face to the crowd. In a heartwarming scene that recalls the bridge scene from the first film, the train passengers promise to keep Spidey's identity secret. In a fun cameo role, it was actually Tobey Maguire's half-brothers who hand him the mask before he swings away.
6 THE HOMECOMING CAST WATCHED JOHN HUGHES MOVIES TO PREPARE
Spider-Man: Homecoming took its cue not just from other Spider-Man films and the MCU, but also from John Hughes. Director Jon Watts said he wanted to capture the spirit of those films, telling Cinemablend, "I just wanted them to get the spirit of those movies and know it was okay to be goofy and be a teen."
Watts also made the cast watch Freaks and Geeks, which coincidentally produce two alums involved with the movie: screenwriter John Francis Daley and actor Martin Starr). The inspirations shine through in the film, with all of the teenage characters feeling like real kids and even one sequence lifted directly from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
5 TOBEY MAGUIRE CAUGHT ALL OF THAT FOOD HIMSELF
Do you remember the lunchroom scene from Spider-Man when Peter catches the lunch tray, plus all the food that was about to fall on the floor? It quickly became one of the most iconic shots in the movie, portraying not only Peter's powers but also how he was first noticed by Mary Jane Watson.
It's easy to think that the shot was done with CGI, but Sam Raimi was known for making his actors do ridiculous things. So when you see Peter catching the tray and all of the food in one shot, Tobey Maguire really did that. And it only took 156 takes to get it right. The studio also wanted to cut the scene, which would have been a huge disappointment to everyone involved.
4 JAMES HORNER DISLIKED THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was not only a box office disappointment but a critical one, as well. The film was disliked by fans, and although it had ambitions to open up an entire Spider-verse, resulting in a Sinister Six film, that never came to fruition. We've already talked about how Sally Field did not enjoy the experience, but someone else had a bad time as well.
The late composer James Horner was not shy in sharing his disappointment in the second film. He had already had difficulty working on The Amazing Spider-Man due to studio interference, so he did not want to do the second film, which he said in an interview on his website "the next movie ended up being so terrible, I didn't want to do it."
3 NICHOLAS CAGE ALMOST PLAYED THE GREEN GOBLIN
Nicholas Cage wanted to play Superman so badly for so long. He got really close with Tim Burton's ill-fated Superman Lives. The movie was, unfortunately (or, maybe, fortunately) never made. Cage did get to play a superhero, though, when he landed the role of Johnny Blaze, the Ghost Rider, but he might have also made another comic book appearance if things had gone differently.
Cage was originally up for the part of none other than Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin, in Spider-Man. However, Cage turned the role down. That might have been for the best. While there's no doubt that Cage could handle the more ridiculous Goblin parts, he might not have been so great at playing regular, old Norman Osborn.
2 WOLVERINE WAS ALMOST IN SPIDER-MAN
Is it possible that superhero movies could have been crossing over years before the MCU was even a twinkle in Kevin Feige's eye? Apparently, yes! That's because of one character who was supposed to have a cameo in the first Spider-Man film, which would have changed the game for years to come: Wolverine.
Apparently, Wolverine was supposed to have a small role in Spider-Man, according to Hugh Jackman, who said in an interview with the Huffington Post, "we really tried to get me to come on and do something, whether it was a gag or just to walk through the shot or something." However, the cameo was thwarted by one thing: they couldn't find Wolverine's suit.
1 CARNAGE MIGHT HAVE BEEN IN SPIDER-MAN 4
Spider-Man fans got their wishes fulfilled (sort of) when it was revealed that Venom would be featured as a villain in Spider-Man 3. It didn't turn out so great, most likely due to director Sam Raimi's reluctance to include the villain in the film in the first place. However, Venom's inclusion as a character might have introduced another villain for the fourth movie.
There were plenty of rumors about which villains would appear in Spider-Man 4 (we've mentioned some already), but that long list of villains might have also included Carnage, having the new symbiote be born from the remains of Venom. That might have been a bit much, considering how much Spider-Man 3 suffered from villain glut.