The history of Spider-Man movies dates back to the 1970s, but it truly began its modern day incarnation with Sam Raimi’s vision in 2002. That movie arguably launched the modern day blockbuster that invade our cinemas every summer.
It’s interesting to think if things had turned out a little bit different, it would have been James Cameron directing this modern Spider-Man movie and it would have arrived in the 1990s.
The story is chronicled by Yahoo, which explores the murky road the Spider-Man character embarked on the 1980s. The movie rights to the character shifted through many hands until Carolco Studios scooped up the rights at the behest of none other than James Cameron in May 1990.
Cameron intended to write and direct a Spider-Man movie, but at the time he was busy with Terminator 2 and ended up taking up another project with True Lies. That Arnold Schwarzenegger thriller hit theaters in 1994, which allowed Cameron to finally write up a 57-page script/treatment.
The treatment, which was leaked in 2009, tells the origin story of Spider-Man with some insane set-pieces and terrific action. It starts off with an impressive scene where Spidey in hanging on the top of the World Trade Center antenna finding some solitude in his own comedic way. Throughout the script, we see Peter Parker grieve over his uncle’s death, yearn for Mary Jane’s attention and eventually battle Carlton Strand and Boyd—different takes on Electro and Sandman.
Storyboards for some of the scenes were also made. You can check them out in the gallery above.
Stan Lee himself even gave his approval of Cameron’s treatment.
But things took a turn for the worse soon after. Cameron’s take on the character was quite moody and dark. There was a questionable sexual scene between Peter Parker and Mary Jane and overall, the character of Peter Parker proved unlikeable and kind of a bully.
The rights of the character were lost as the studio who owned them went through bankruptcy. Some time after this whole ordeal, Columbia Studios got its hands on the rights to the character and the 2002 Spider-Man began to be developed. The studio also used Cameron’s treatment as the basis for the movie. It even took some ideas from him, such as the organic web slingers featured in the Sam Raimi trilogy.
It all worked out for the best. Spider-Man entered a very lucrative time with the movies starring Tobey McGuire becoming some of the biggest movies in the world from 2002 to 2007. James Cameron, for his part, developed Titanic in the late ’90s and eventually made Avatar in 2009.
But even after all these years, it’s still intriguing to think what a James Cameron-directed Spider-Man movie would look like.