In Hollywood it's almost impossible to guess what's going to happen next. Movies can get stuck in development hell for years before finally, and sometimes surprisingly, seeing the light of day. Other projects that seem like sure things end up crashing and burning and never being made. We probably all have that movie that we were once looking forward to only to see it fall apart. Hell, Guillermo del Toro has an entire filmography of movies he has wanted to make that never happened.
But sometimes, like Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio, movies that seemed dead forever come back to life. That's what briefly appeared to happen over the weekend, when a teaser image from Marvel Entertainment's Twitter account started trending, which in turn got people talking about Sam Raimi's plan for a fourth Spider-Man movie, a project many would have loved to have seen, but wasn't meant to be. You can see how the conversation got started when you see the image in question.
Some began to actually respond on Twitter and wonder if we could actually see a fourth Spider-Man movie starring Tobey Maguire and directed by Sam Raimi. Unfortunately, a closer examination makes such things impossible, as the tweet is a reference to Marvel Comics, not the film division.
This still didn't stop fans from taking the opportunity to lament the fact that Raimi's plans for a fourth film never happened. The Tobey Maguire-led Spider-Man was an incredibly popular character and the image got people talking about why they loved that series so much.
While we won't be getting an expected new Spider-Man movie anytime soon, just the expected one within the current continuity, there may still be hope for fans who want to know what Sam Raimi had planned for a fourth movie. One of the current running theories about what the image actually means is that we could be getting a comic book adaptation of Raimi's Spider-Man 4 script, so the story will finally be told, just perhaps not in the medium that fans wanted.
It's certainly a possible interpretation. We've seen various pop culture properties that got cancelled on the big and small screen end up getting adapted for comics.
Another potential theory is that we could see Spider-Man teaming up with the Fantastic Four in the comics, something which is also a possibility, as it has happened before.
Spider-Man 3 is actually the highest grossing Spider-Man movie ever made thanks to international business, but the trilogy was on a slow decline as far as domestic numbers went. Spider-Man 3 also didn't review nearly as well as the previous two movies did. Still, the fourth film, and possibly even more, were planned by Sony, however, ultimately Sam Raimi said that he couldn't come up wit a story that worked the way he wanted in the time the studio required, and thus the project was cancelled.
Instead, production would begin on The Amazing Spider-Man, which rebooted the franchise starring a new cast of characters including Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man.
Because the issue with the film was script, which is the one thing a comic book adaptation would need, it's questionable that we'll actually get a comic adaptation of the movie. Of course, it's been several years, so if Sam Raimi ever came up with a story he liked after the fact, he may have been sitting on the idea, unable to do anything with it, for years.
We'll have to wait and see for sure exactly what this little tease means. If we do get a four color adaptation of the movie that was never made, it's certainly better than never getting the story at all. Of course, if it's as good as so much of Raimi's films were, it will likely only upset fans that much more that we never saw it on the big screen.