Trivia: Michael Jackson Wanted To Buy Marvel In The '90s So He Could Play Spider-Man In A Movie

Michael Jackson's legacy is complicated, to say the least. For the purposes of this piece, I'm going to avoid all discussion of the allegations against the late King of Pop (please look into that yourself if you somehow haven't heard about it and make up your own mind about what did or didn't happen) and just move straight into trivia territory.

Did you know that Michael Jackson wanted to buy Marvel in the 1990s? This information has been floating around for years, but since it's new to me, and it's otherwise a slow news day, I figured we might as well share it in case there are others who have never heard about this before. Imagine, if you will, a world in which Michael Jackson suited up to play Peter Parker in a movie. Because that's the world Jackson wanted to live in.

JoBlo pointed us to this bit of trivia, which could have totally altered the entire Hollywood landscape had it actually happened. Marvel had fallen on hard times in the 1990s and declared bankruptcy in 1996, selling off the rights to characters and franchises like Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and more to stay afloat. Now Michael Jackson's nephew, Taj Jackson, confirms once again that Michael was in discussions to buy the company. On a recent episode of a YouTube show called Popcorned Planet, Taj explained:

"It was [all of] Marvel [that Michael wanted to buy], and I remember that. I remember being with my brothers and him talking about purchasing Marvel. He wanted to do that with Stan Lee. They had been talking and discussing that. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, I think they were shut down from doing that. I don't know the reasons why but they were adamantly in the process of doing that."

In an interview with Moviefone from 2012, Marvel head honcho Stan Lee himself also confirmed this story, saying, "Yes, he wanted to. He felt that would be the only way that he could play Spider-Man." The idea of Michael Jackson, then in his late thirties or early forties, playing Peter Parker is utterly bizarre to contemplate. What might that movie have looked like? Jackson was arguably one of the most famous people in the world at the time, and something like that would have undoubtedly drawn the entire world's attention. How would a film like that have impacted the public's perception of comic book movies? Would Marvel Studios exist as it does today? If not, how would Hollywood have changed without Marvel going to Disney or rival studios chasing the Marvel Studios model? Fascinating stuff.

This wasn't the first time Jackson set his sights on playing a recognizable character in a major movie. He wanted to play Jar Jar Binks in full prosthetic makeup in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and he evidently auditioned to play Professor Charles Xavier in Bryan Singer's original X-Men movie.