When Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man hit theaters in 2002 it heralded a new generation of superhero movies. Blade had shown you could take the genre seriously. X-Men had shown that people would still turn out for their favourite characters, despite Batman & Robin. Spider-Man would show the potential of the premier league characters.
Suddenly everyone wanted a piece of the action and Marvel, at that time years away from Disney, churned and sold it’s back catalog to anyone with cash. Daredevil, Elektra, Hulk, The Punisher, Ghost Rider, Fantastic Four. All tumbled haphazardly from studios setting the bar lower and lower for quality.
Eventually even Raimi’s own Spider-Man movies succumbed to studio incompetence and interference. Spider-Man 3 was a mess and so clearly not the movie Raimi wanted to make, with a shoehorned in villain and a rushed completion to the Harry Osborne arc, it gets even worse with repeat viewings. It killed the franchise until it’s own reboot attempt also failed for largely the same reasons, leaving it up to Marvel Studios to pull the character into the MCU as part of The Avengers.
For a while though things might have gone in a very different direction. With his name on the script of Hollywood blockbusters ranging from Jurassic Park to War Of The Worlds to Mission: Impossible, David Koepp was also the writer of the first Raimi Spider-Man movie.
In an interview with Collider he revealed he had his own, greater plan for a trilogy of Spider-Man movies.
“Basically my trilogy idea was the telling of the Gwen Stacy/Harry Osborne story but I spaced everything out differently. I wanted Gwen to be killed in the middle of the second movie becuase that followd the sort of Empire Strikes Back model, and I had different villains. Just a different way to tell the story.”
In the Raimi movies Stacy only arrived in part II, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, and even then she was part of a potential love triangle. Like so many things in Spider-Man 3, it didn’t really go anywhere. Koepp left the series after Spider-Man and played no part in part II or part III.
He was asked to return for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 but he declined.
“There was a time maybe seven or eight years ago when I was gonna come back for a couple ‘Spider-Man’ movies, after they’d done their first ‘Amazing Spider-Man.’ On the very first ‘Spider-Man’ I sort of planned out what I thought the first three movies should be, and then all the assorted personalities it didn’t work for me to keep writing the ‘Spider-Man’ movies.
So I was excited to come back and try to finish the story I started telling in the first one, and as we were about to agree that I was going to do that, I pulled out all the old stuff and I started outlining those two movies and I thought, ‘Boy, you can’t go home again. That moment has passed. The time when I was really feeling it was 10 years ago, and there’s no point in trying to recreate it.’ So I bailed.”
This time around they did get around to the Gwen Stacy death in the second movie, but there was never a third and everything from the first two movies was just left hanging as every studio fell over themselves to copy what Marvel Studios was doing with none of the thought, planning or patient build up.
Koepp is back in the directors chair for the Blumhouse horror tale You Should Have Left which is giving COVID a miss and heading straight to VOD on June 18th.