spider-man 4 concept art

Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man 4 is one of my all-time favorite “What If?” movies. I’m in the small fan club of weirdos and losers that enjoys the heck out of the completely batty and bonkers Spider-Man 3, but it’s no secret that Raimi was dissatisfied with how that film turned out. With one more good movie, he could have redeemed the series and sent Tobey Maguire’s Spidey out on a high note. Spider-Man 4 could have been the one that redeemed all of Peter Parker’s (hilarious and great, if you want my dumb opinion) dancing.

But then things went wrong. Raimi abruptly walked away from the film in 2010. Sony moved ahead with The Amazing Spider-Man and we all know how that turned out. Spider-Man 4 was kaput. However, a few very cool pieces of art have surfaced online, giving us a glimpse at what could have been.

Storyboard and concept artist Jeffrey Henderson has posted a whole bunch of images from his time on Spider-Man 4 to his personal site (via CinemaBlend) and they’re terrific. In addition to just being great drawings of Spidey and a few of his villains in action, they help paint a picture of the film’s sense of humor and, more importantly, how it would have depicted the villainous Vulture, who was going to be played by John Malkovich. io9 reached out to Henderson, who revealed how Raimi was going to take this seemingly silly character (an old man in a wing suit?) and make him a serious threat:

The thing we kept coming back to was that, as a character, everyone was going to dismiss the Vulture as just an old guy in a silly green suit. So we wanted to go the opposite way and really make him the most fearsome and formidable adversary that Spider-Man had faced in the series.

You can get a taste of the Vulture that almost was right here:

spider-man 4 concept art 2

Of course, the silver lining here is that Michael Keaton is supposedly set to play the Vulture in Marvel and Sony’s upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming. This character will finally have his place in the cinematic spotlight.

Henderson also revealed that other villains would make cameo appearances in Spider-Man 4 and that the film would open with…

…a montage of C and D-list villains that we knew would never be used as main antagonists: Mysterio, the Shocker, the Prowler, the old school-onesie-wearing version of the Rhino, maybe even the Stilt Man, etc.

Here’s a fun image of Spidey escorting Mysterio in to the police station, which is just a wonderful representation of both characters. Apparently Mysterio would have been played by Raimi’s old buddy and frequent cameo artist Bruce Campbell, which would explain why the villainous master of illusions has a gut in the image (you just know Raimi was taunting his Evil Dead star).

spider-man 4 concept art 1

You can peruse many, many more Spider-Man 4 images over at Henderson’s site, Planet Henderson.

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