Sam Raimi‘s unmade Spider-Man 4 has long been a giant question mark to fans, but some exciting new details are finally becoming public. It’s been known for a long time that Hollywood legend John Malkovich would have portrayed Adrian Toomes, a.k.a. The Vulture, in the film, had it come to fruition, but his character’s actual role in the plot has always been shrouded in mystery. Luckily for those who want more information, an upcoming book centered on Spider-Man, Sean O’Connell‘s With Great Power, has shed a little bit of light on the matter.
According to the novel, Raimi‘s Vulture would have been a modernized version of the villain, who utilized razor-sharp blades on his wings as a primary form of weaponry. He also would have been quite the vicious adversary for Tobey Maguire‘s hero, with a featured scene specifically designed to be on par with Alfred Molina‘s infamously terrifying hospital sequence in Spider-Man 2. Instead of a grotesque transformation, however, the scene in question would have seen Vulture lurking over a library, picking off goons sent to take him down. Storyboard artist Jeffrey Henderson confirmed this was an example of how the antagonist would have received his nickname, explaining it as part of the character’s planned origin in the movie:
He was essentially a guy that did as a lot of ugly stuff for the government, did a lot of ugly stuff as a private contractor… I thought a clever thing to do would be to say that part of the reason they called him The Vulture was because when he was done, he didn’t leave anything but bones behind.Jeffrey Henderson
Furthermore, With Great Power reveals exactly how Vulture would have perished in Spider-Man 4. The plan was for Spider-Man and his winged foe to have a climactic battle that began in the New York City subway system and ended atop the Citicorp Center on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, with Vulture gaining the upper hand before things go sideways. Henderson explains:
They were going to have a big brawl-for-it-all, where Vulture almost kills Spider-Man. And then Spider-Man at the last minute—he’s really wounded, he’s bleeding really badly, he’s in real trouble—Peter finally, almost as a reaction, forces The Vulture off. When he does, it snaps some of the stuff from the wings, so he ends up just tumbling into the ether, off the top of the Citicorp building. That’s what does him in.Jeffrey Henderson
The book goes on to explain that, after Toomes’ death, his daughter would have stepped in as the main villain for the movie’s third act. It sounds like this version of the Vulture would have been wildly different than the one Michael Keaton eventually brought to life in Spider-Man: Homecoming, even if the later adaptation is still adored by fans.
Source: The Direct