Everyone knows the story of how James Cameron almost made a Spider-Man movie in the '90s, but renowned filmmaker David Fincher (of Fight Club and Se7en fame) also came very close to directing the famous webslinger's first big-budget adventure on the big screen. Now, during an interview for The Guardian about his new movie, the Netflix-backed hitman thriller The Killer, he's elaborated on why that project didn't work out.
A big part of Spider-Man's mythos is his origin story, whether it's shown or implied. The radioactive spider incident and Uncle Ben's death, or at least variations of those events, define the masked vigilante that Peter Parker becomes. Fincher, however, wasn't quite interested in that part of Spider-Man's story even though the movie was supposed to be the character's big live-action debut and many people's first contact with that corner of the Marvel universe. He pitched his idea for a movie about the webslinger in 1999, and it skipped the "radioactive spider" origins and what comes right afterwards, instead focusing on Peter Parker as a grownup. Here's the full quote about how it went down: "They weren't f---ing interested... And I get it. They were like: ‘Why would you want to eviscerate the origin story?’ And I was like: ‘Cos it’s dumb?’ That origin story means a lot of things to a lot of people, but I looked at it and I was like: ‘A red and blue spider?’ There’s a lot of things I can do in my life and that’s just not one of them."
Interestingly, when Marvel Studios regained control of Spider-Man's film rights the first thing they did was what Fincher proposed: skipped the origin.
For those unfamiliar with Fincher's career and body of work, his first-ever big Hollywood experience was helming the disaster that was Alien 3's pre-production and production, eventually taking the sci-fi horror threequel to the finish line by making tons of sacrifices. Nowadays, lots of people have a soft spot for the movie, but that whole experience made him avoid franchise work in the future. The fact alone he was even interested in helming a Spider-Man movie at some point is wild, and it's fascinating to hear him talk about his very distinct vision for the Marvel property, but it was never meant to be. Sam Raimi would soon after direct the first Spider-Man movie, which opened in 2002 to huge success.
If you're a huge Spider-Man fan, you really shouldn't pass on Marvel's Spider-Man 2, one of the best-ever (if not the absolute best) superhero games. It's a PS5 exclusive for now though.