James Cameron Had a Vision of Spider-Man He Almost Directed
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James Cameron Had A Wild Vision for a Spider-Man Movie in the 90s That He Almost Directed

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BY December 15, 2021

Many high-profile film directors are against superhero movies. But for every artist who thinks they are nothing but a carnival ride, there are a dozen who would jump at the chance to direct one. In the 90s, one of the folks in line was James Cameron. We covered the rise and fall of Cameron’s take on Spider-Man last summer, detailing how it almost worked out. But there is new information on what vision James Cameron had for a Spider-Man movie, and it’s pretty impressive to imagine.

James Cameron Spider-Man Vision Sam Raimi Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Spider-Man 2002 Image via Sony Pictures

James Cameron Had a Spider-Man Vision That He Wanted to Direct

James Cameron is known for his successful and innovative films, including Avatar, The Titanic, and Aliens. He wanted to add a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to his list of movies and just fell short. A major litigation battle occurred in the 90s that held the director back. Ultimately, the rights to the character went through so many hands that making a movie wasn’t going to happen without a long and winding road.

Despite the setbacks, Cameron went pretty far in his process of imagining Spider-Man on the big screen. He detailed some of this work in his latest book, Tech Noir: The Art of James CameronTech Noir is filled with concept art and inspirations of Cameron’s work. Some of this concept art is early-development designs for his ideal Spidey flick.

The book is yet to hit bookstores, but these final drawings include Spider-Man climbing up New York buildings. Another one of James Cameron’s concept art is pictured below.

James Cameron spider-man vision Tech Noir Book Promo Image via Insight Editions, pictured in Tech Noir.

What Cameron’s Spider-Man Movie Could Have Looked Like

Of course, you can’t make a Marvel movie without some inspiration from Stan Lee. In an interview with Matt Singer of Screen Crush, Cameron explained that he had received Lee’s blessing from the earliest stages. He details some of the things that would have been a part of his greatest movies he never made. This includes a focus on the character as “Spider-Kid” rather than the Spider-Man that we know.

This Spider-Kid would have some of the geeky concepts that we’ve seen in the past versions of the character, including a lack of popularity. But the new powers that Spidey earns would have come to life in a way that mirrors puberty. A part of this would have included switching web-shooters to biological powers. This doesn’t sound foreign to us, as Sam Raimi’s movies did the same. James Cameron’s film would have focused more on this newfound ability to contrast the changes going on in his body compared to those around him.

One of the fan-favorite differences between Spider-Man movies and other superhero films is that the former tends to be more fun and youthful than the rest. Especially compared to DC films, Spider-Man is often more lighthearted than the rest when it comes to tone. James Cameron wouldn’t have taken this route and claims that he wanted it to be a “gritty reality” taking place right in New York. This means that we would have gotten a film closer to Terminator or Aliens than Spider-Man: Homecoming.

James Cameron Spider-Man Vision Tom Holland Far From Home Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

The World of Spider-Man Movies Would Look Different Today

The world of cinema would be pretty different if James Cameron had directed a Spider-Man movie. The Marvel Cinematic Universe would likely have had a different start, and we may not have gotten the trio of Spider-Men that we know and love. Other great Cameron films also might not have been made, and we don’t want to imagine that kind of reality.

Still, wondering about a James Cameron Spider-Man film coming from his great vision is nice to wonder about. We doubt he’ll head over to the MCU now, but never say never.

You can read more about the vision that James Cameron had for Spider-Man in his new book Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron when it releases on December 14th.

Are you surprised to hear about the gritty vision that James Cameron had for Spider-Man? Let us know how you think his take would have shaped the future of the franchise.

Featured image via Gage Skidmore on Flickr.


Meghan Hale is the kind of movie lover that has a "must watch" that is a mile long... and growing. When she isn't talking about the latest film and television news she is writing one of her many in-process novels, screaming film trivia at anybody who will listen, and working as a mental health care professional. Follow her on Twitter @meghanrhale for some fun theories and live reactions to all things entertainment.


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