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Long before the Amazing Spider-Man series and the Web-Slinger being included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony was still keen on continuing Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movie series. Although Spider-Man 3 received mixed reviews, it still earned enough to warrant Spider-Man 4 being put into development. Obviously that release never came to pass, but it remains one of the most popular superhero movie “what-ifs?” to contemplate. Yesterday, we learned how Vulture and Mysterio would have been featured in the movie via artwork, but apparently the movie would have also included three other classic villains early on.
In our followup interview with storyboard artist Jeffrey Henderson over his Spider-Man 4 reveals, he explained how the idea for Spider-Man 4’s opening was to show Tobey Maguire's Spidey going up against not only a Bruce Campbell-portrayed Mysterio, but C and D-list villains like Shocker, The Prowler and Rhino. He said:
We had kicked around the idea of beginning the film with a montage of C and D- list villains that we knew would never be used as main antagonists. Mysterio, The Shocker, The Prowler, the old school- onsie- wearing version of The Rhino, etc. We thought it would be a lot of fun.
Henderson also mentioned in a separate interview with io9 that Daredevil villain Stilt-Man was apparently considered, though for all our sakes, he’s better off not being adapted for live action in any continuity (I’m looking at you, Daredevil Netflix series). Vulture would have remained Spider-Man 4’s main antagonist, but it sounds like the arachnid-themed hero would have served a beatdown to these criminals to stretch his crimefighting muscles at the beginning of the story.
Although the three other villains have been part of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery for decades, Henderson was right when he said they weren’t main antagonist material. Rhino is one of the strongest and most durable characters in the Marvel universe, but he typically lacks in the intelligence department. Prowler started out as a criminal who clashed with Spider-Man during his heists, but he later became a good guy and occasionally assists Spider-Man out in the field with his technology. Then there’s Shocker, who may wield powerful vibrational gauntlets, but is generally considered a joke. They wouldn’t have worked as Spider-Man 4’s main villains, but their montage would definitely have helped the series step up its game.
Of the bad guys mentioned in this piece, only Rhino has been seen in live action, played by Paul Giamatti at the beginning and end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. However, recent information suggests that Vulture will be Spider-Man: Homecoming’s villain, which might mean Michael Keaton will play him. Mysterio could certainly be a cool and visually stimulating villain in a sequel, but Shocker, Prowler and a new version of Rhino would really only work as brief threats or support for the primary adversary.
Unless you have access to an alternate universe where Spider-Man 4 was released, we’ll never know how the movie would have fared, but in this reality, fans can look forward to Spider-Man: Homecoming swinging into theaters on July 7, 2017.