Although Spider-Man 3 didn’t reach the critical heights of the first two films, it did impress at the box-office, which led to Sony moving forward with Spider-Man 4. The film would have found Sam Raimi once again returning to direct, with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst reprising their roles and John Malkovich set to play the Vulture. However, Raimi departed the project when he didn’t think he’d be able to meet the release date, not to mention his unhappiness with the script. With Raimi gone, Sony shifted focus to what would become The Amazing Spider-Man, but a few elements of the shelved Spider-Man 4 project have slowly leaked out over the years.
Storyboard/animatic artist David E. Duncan, who has worked on projects such as The X-Files, Iron Man, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Mandalorian, and more, was involved with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 and released an animatic featuring a climatic battle between Spider-Man and the Vulture. You’ll notice that it seems like Vulture recognizes the unmasked Spider-Man; perhaps ol’ Vulture would have been dating Aunt May? Check it out below!
“One of a half dozen animatics I produced for the ill-fated 4th Raimi Spider-Man,” Duncan wrote. “Studio politics, creative differences and bad internet reactions (to John Malkovich as Vulture) caused the plug to be pulled December of 2009, early in the prep stage. However, one month later, Sony moved forward with Andrew Garfield reboot…” While we never got to see Tobey Maguire face off against the Vulture, the character did eventually make his big-screen debut in Spider-Man: Homecoming as played by Michael Keaton.