The recent hack of Sony’s email system revealed far more about the studio’s Spider-Man problems than they probably cared to share. Among the many rumors that became headline news was the fact that Andrew Garfield’s role in the series could be in jeopardy, and Sam Raimi potentially was approached to help resuscitate the franchise. But news on the wall-crawler also surfaces the old fashioned way nowadays – meaning, someone with insider information speaks up in an interview, and that’s where we get today’s nugget of Spidey news.
Brian Michael Bendis is a comic book author and artist whose credits over the years have included work on Ultimate Spider-Man, which many view as an influencer on Marc Webb’s run of Spider-Man movies. He’s promoting multiple projects these days, and spoke with Yahoo Movies about his early comic, Fortune and Glory, and his odd adventures in the film industry. When the chat came around to Spider-Man, Bendis had an incredibly revealing story to share about a meeting he took with Sony prior to Webb’s first film, The Amazing Spider-Man.
The way he remembers it, Bendis was called into the office of Sony chair Amy Pascal, and asked – in front of a large group of producers – if Spider-Man’s webshooters should be organic (like in the Raimi films) or mechanical (like in the comic books). Being as how Brian Michael Bendis is a legit Spidey expert, he told them, "Mechanical." What happens next makes us laugh, with sorrow. He said:
Half the table said, ‘Goddamn it!’ They were mad because I was clearly the deciding vote, even though I didn’t know that. So when I see the mechanical webshooters [on Andrew Garfield], I feel a little happiness. I feel like I did something good in the world."
You DID, Brian Michael Bendis. You did. As a staunch defender of Webb’s Spidey films, I loved that they used mechanical webshooters over Sam Raimi’s bizarre creative choice to have the webs manifest out of Peter Parker’s wrists. Why would you choose to do that?
Now, let’s dive into why this story is so disturbing. Sony actually had to have a meeting to see if mechanical webshooters was the right way to go? They had to call in an expert to break a tie? When there are decades of previous Spider-Man stories to peruse that would spell out everything that you need to know about the wall-crawling hero? This is yet another story illustrating the fact that Sony doesn’t know what to do with this character. And that’s a damn shame. I haven’t been one to jump on the "Give Spidey to Marvel" bandwagon, because I believe the character, his Rogue’s Gallery, and his stories are strong enough to carry a wealth of standalone movies. But when I hear stories like this, I begin to sway toward the growing tide of people who want to see Spider-Man in the MCU, and out of Sony’s hands.