Superhero movies might be everywhere, but there was a time when those blockbusters were few and far between. Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe popularized serialized storytelling, Sam Raimi had his Spider-Man trilogy, with each movie having varying levels of critical success. But it turns out that Raimi actually had his eye on another Marvel hero at one point: Thor.
That's right, the Spider-Man director once tried to get a Thor movie off the ground. And he pitched the God of Thunder's blockbuster to the most powerful man in Marvel history: the late, great Stan Lee. Sam Raimi recently told this story himself, saying:
After I did Darkman, Stan Lee called me and was like, 'Hey, kid, I liked your movie. He took me out to lunch and said we should work together. I said I'd like to make a movie about Thor. We worked together writing treatments and took it to Fox and pitched it. And they said, 'Absolutely no. Comic books don't make good movies.' This was in 1991.
Talk about a throwback. Sam Raimi's Thor pitch goes all the way back to 1991, before his Spider-Man trilogy and the X-Men movies proved that superhero movies could make tons of money at the box office. With the billions the MCU has accrued over the years, that conversation seems almost laughable.
In the wake of Stan Lee's death, Sam Raimi shared a few stories about the visionary comic book creator with THR. Raimi has had a long career in the filmmaking world, as both a director a producer. As such, he was making movies before superheroes took over the market, and became the most popular and profitable genre in the business. While he seems to have been ahead of the game, that first Thor movie never got off the ground.
While the studios weren't ready to bankroll a massively expensive comic book movie, Sam Raimi and Stan Lee knew it was inevitable. It's exciting to know that they worked together on the pitch for a Thor movie, although it never saw the light of day. Still, the treatments and early concept of the movie is enough to get most Marvel fans foaming at the mouth with FOMO.
Ultimately Thor wouldn't get his time in the sun until Kenneth Branagh and Kevin Feige 2011 brought Chris Hemsworth's signature character to the silver screen. Even still, the first two Thor movies aren't exactly the best the MCU has to offer, despite the strong cast. But Thor got to shine in ensemble projects like The Avengers, and his franchise was given new life with Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok.
Thor and Spider-Man will return to the MCU when Avengers 4 arrives in theaters May 3rd. 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.