James Cameron Was Responsible For A Big Change To Spider-Man

Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man in Sam Raimi 2002 film
(Image credit: (Sony))

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy has gotten some criticism over the years from fans, most famously with Tobey Maguire’s emo phase in Spider-Man 3. Another notable subject of objection amongst Spidey fans is Peter Parker’s organic web shooters. The Marvel hero’s origin story was changed to give him the biological power to shoot webs from his wrists rather than use mechanical shooters. It turns out this was James Cameron’s idea from a prior draft he had written. As the Spider-Man screenwriter noted:

[James Cameron] had some very good ideas in it. I like the organic web-shooters, which some people liked and some people didn't, but that was his idea and I was happy to use it.

Recent ReelBlend guest David Koepp wrote the first Spider-Man script following the studio’s recent shuffle from James Cameron being attached as the original writer/director of the project. Although Cameron never ended up being involved in the flick, Koepp called the Terminator writer’s screenplay “influential” to his own development of the movie.

David Koepp told IGN he was especially impressed with how “seriously” James Cameron took the character in a time when the big-screen superhero genre had not yet found its rhythm. As Koepp noted, when he was working on the script, not even Bryan Singer’s X-Men had hit theaters. Besides James Cameron’s committed take to Peter Parker, Koepp also decided to go with the organic web shooters because of him.

Since Sam Raimi’s trilogy, no other cinematic version of Peter Parker has gone into that direction… because it arguably just didn’t work. At the time, I could see why it might seem like a good idea. Obtaining fantastical powers had a fresh and cinematic feel to it that could set itself apart from the gadgets of Mission: Impossible or Bond franchises. Plus, you get this iconic scene scored by Danny Elfman:

Oh, how Spider-Man has changed! The character has obviously faced a major evolution since the first live-action version graced the screen, with Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland having taken on the mantle in the years after. The first version didn’t delve into Peter Parker’s abilities to craft his own web shooters like later versions did. At the time, it may have felt more palpable for the teen to have the powers than invent the technology at home.

Organic web shooters or not, Sam Raimi had a vast effect on the comic book genre that's still dominating the movie industry today. He’ll return to Marvel soon to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and his J. Jonah Jameson, reprised by J.K. Simmons, could return again for the MCU.

Aside from Spider-Man, David Koepp is also the writer behind the original Jurassic Park, as well as wrote and directed the new Blumhouse film You Should Have Left starring Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried. It’s available to rent for $19.99 now, and check our review of the film.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.