The curious thing about all of this, though, is that Sony seemed to be planning to cancel Spider-Man 4 for quite some time. Mere hours after it was announced that Spider-Man 4 was scrapped and the 2011 release date was kaput, Sony revealed that James Vanderbilt—who penned the initial draft of Spider-Man 4—had already written a reboot called The Amazing Spider-Man and the film was coming out in 2012.
This was likely a move to ease shareholders’ concerns that Sony was out of the Spider-Man business, and the studio had to keep making Spider-Man movies or the rights to the character would revert back to Marvel Studios (which was forging its own path by solo-producing a film called Iron Man at the time), but still, it signals the studio saw the writing on the wall and/or didn’t have its full heart in trying to make Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 actually work.
Whatever the case, we’ll never know if Spider-Man 4 would have been a creative bounce-back for the series or further proof that Raimi should probably move on. It’s somewhat telling that his next film was the gleefully horrifying Drag Me to Hell, which absolutely exuded creative freedom.
Ultimately Sony didn’t find what they were looking for with The Amazing Spider-Man. That first reboot was fine and grossed $757 million worldwide, but the sequel fared a bit worse financially ($708 million) and suffered from tepid reviews. The studio moved to its second reboot with Spider-Man: Homecoming, which was a smashing success and led to Spider-Man: Far from Home and now an additional sequel.
Regardless, the impact that Raimi had on not only the Spider-Man character but also the superhero genre as a whole is undeniable. And while Spider-Man 4 may not have come together, it’s interesting to think about what would have happened if the film had been made. If the film was a hit and was creatively and financially lucrative, how would that have shaped the superhero genre going forward, especially with Marvel Studios emerging? Would the current Sony/Marvel Studios deal even happen? Would Raimi have eventually rebooted his own franchise and passed the baton to a new Spider-Man like Miles Morales? Again, we’ll never know, but at least we can now take heart in knowing we’re about to see what Rami can do with Doctor Strange.