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Thomas Haden Church notoriously played The Sandman in Sam Raimi's third (and final) Spider-Man movie, the cleverly titled Spider-Man 3. Fans refer to it as "the one when everything flew off the rails and went to pieces," primarily because Raimi bowed to studio pressure to include Venom, a villain he had no interest in exploring. Instead, Church says that The Vulture was supposed to be around for his movie, then carry a fourth movie down the line. The actor says:
When they first pitched me the movie, Sandman and, of course, (James) Franco's transformation to the Goblin, we were who he (Spider-Man) had to deal with in the picture and Venom wasn't even in it. They introduced at the very beginning the character of Vulture, but he was only in it briefly, and then at the very end of that picture they were gonna bring The Vulture back just to sorta set the stage that he was probably going to be the main villain in Spider-Man 4. But then, obviously all of that stuff sort of derailed. Well, not so much derailed, but took a different railway.
Last year, Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Homecoming marked a number of firsts for the famous web-slinger. It was the first time Spider-Man was able to play in the same sandbox as his Marvel counterparts, thanks to a rights sharing deal between Sony and Marvel Studios. It also was the first time that Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton), aka The Vulture, was used on screen in a Spider-Man movie. But Church's comments confirm what we had been hearing, which is that The Vulture was going to be on deck in an earlier form, setting the stage for Spider-Man 4.
We had heard those rumblings before, as concept art that leaked a while back showed possible sketches of both The Vulture and also Mysterio, another villain who has yet to see the light of day in a Spider-Man movie. This seems ballsy of Sam Raimi to be sketching out the next TWO Spider-Man movies, though seeing as how he was coming off of the wild success of Spider-Man 2, I guess I can see why he had confidence in his saga. Spider-Man 3 shows how quickly a franchise can fall apart, thanks to some questionable decisions.
Instead of teasing The Vulture in Spider-Man 3, as Thomas Haden Church tells JoBlo, we got the villain in Spider-Man: Homecoming, a movie that properly established Peter Parker (Tom Holland) in the MCU. The hero will return this summer in Avengers: Infinity War, as well as Avengers 4. To stay up to date on all of the upcoming Marvel movies, bookmark our Upcoming Marvel Movies guide, as well as our guide to the announced Spider-Man sequel.