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In the past 13 years, audiences have gotten five Spider-Man movies that took place in two different continuities. The first three the Sam Raimi films starring Tobey Maguire, and the last two the Marc Webb films starring Andrew Garfield. Both series have different tones (though perhaps not as different as some fans may want), so there’s a lot of room for comparing how they handled certain events, made certain villains, represented the protagonist, etc. Of course, it’s also fun to speculate on what might have been, and had things gone when either of the two series were being planned, we might have seen a much different Spider-Man swinging across the silver screen.
Back in 2011, Gone Girl director David Fincher, then promoting The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, talked with io9 about what his vision for a Spider-Man film would have been like. Fincher passed on directing the original 2002 Spider-Man movie, and his name was mentioned as a candidate for The Amazing Spider-Man reboot before Marc Webb took the job. This interview has been making the rounds on Reddit recently, and with all the trouble that the Spider-Man film series has been facing in recent months, let’s take a look at the interesting facets of Fincher’s idea for the Wall-Crawler, both good and bad.
The Origin Story Would Have Been Skipped
"I was never interested in the genesis story. I couldn't get past a guy getting bit by a red and blue spider."
Some superheroes have had their origin stories told so many times that they’re not even worth going over any more. We know Batman’s parents are going to be killed by a mugger, we know Superman’s going to be launched off the dying Krypton, and in the case of the infamous Web-Slinger, we know Peter Parker gains his powers after being bitten by a radioactive/genetically altered spider.
Unlike Marc Webb, who decided to show us a new version of Peter’s spider bite, Fincher decided that he wasn’t interested in covering this aspect of the mythology, saying it wasn’t something he could have "straight faced." While Spider-Man’s origin may not be considered comical by some, it’s getting to the point that we don’t need to hear it again, so a more "adult" Peter would have been refreshing.
A Ten Minute Title Sequence Would Have Covered Important Events
"The title sequence of the movie that I was going to do was going to be a ten minute — basically a music video, an opera, which was going to be the one shot that took you through the entire Peter Parker [backstory]."
Remember the opening titles of Watchmen which covered the events of the 1940s-mid 1980s with Bob Dylan’s "The Times They Are A Changin’" playing? Imagine something like that for Fincher’s Spider-Man movie. Describing it as being basically a ten minute "music video, an opera," this sequence would have covered all the important events in Peter’s life, from gaining his powers to his Uncle Ben dying to the loss of Mary Jane. The Mary Jane aspect is the most intriguing aspect. Fincher didn’t elaborate on whether "loss" meant she died or if her and Peter simply broke up, but either way, this Spider-Man would have been without his red-headed girlfriend, which would have led to a new woman entering his life…
The Green Goblin Would Have Killed Gwen Stacy
"I wanted to start with Gwen Stacy and the Green Goblin, and I wanted to kill Gwen Stacy."
After losing Mary Jane, Fincher would have had Peter meeting Gwen Stacy, one of his first love interests from the comics. Unfortunately, as anyone who is familiar with Spider-Man history knows, Peter and Gwen’s romance has a tragic ending. Like Sam Raimi’s 2002 film, Green Goblin would have been the first villain in the Fincher film, and eventually the cackling maniac would have killed her. We ended up finally getting this on film last year when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 did their own version of Gwen’s death, but if Fincher’s movie had been made, it’s possible that her demise would have been closer to what happened in the comics, such as Norman Osborn being her murderer and falling off the George Washington Bridge. It would have been great to see a version closer the source material.
And the 1 Way It Wouldn't Have Been Amazing: Fincher Mislabeled Peter Parker As A Freak
"It was a very different thing, it wasn't the teenager story. It was much more of the guy who's settled into being a freak."
Fincher stated that the Peter Parker in his story would have been "much more of the guy who’s settled into being a freak." Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t feel that’s an accurate statement about Spider-Man. Admittedly, there are a lot of different stories about the Wall-Crawler over the years, with their own unique tones, but in many of the ones I’ve read, the issue isn’t that Peter’s powers make him a "freak." He may have special powers, but he doesn’t think of himself as freakish because he has them.
The issues stem from the "with great power comes great responsibility" slogan that rules this mythology. He has to deal with the consequences of using his superhuman abilities, specifically how protecting others may inadvertently screw up his personal life. That’s one of the primary conflicts that this character deals with on a regular basis. Of course, Fincher may not have been as literal with the term "freak" and may have simply meant that Peter was more settled into his role as a superhero. Also, as you see in the picture above, there have been a few wacky events over the years that have catapulted him to "freak" status, but those didn’t last long.
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