Pitching The Live-Action Spider-Verse
There’s been a lot of Spider-Man related news making headlines these past few days. With the casting of Jamie Foxx as Electro and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, many fans have started to speculate about how the multiverse plays into the plot of this film, considering the film is set between the events of WandaVision (2020) and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022). Now, along with this news about the casting and the potential chance of the Multiverse becoming a major theme in this film, right now, the biggest question on everyone’s mind is whether or not the two previous iterations of the Spider-Man; Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, could have a role in this film.
Right now, there is no official confirmation as to whether or not Tobey and/or Andrew could reprise their roles in this film, or whether or not the Spider-Verse will be adapted to either the upcoming Spider-Man 3 film, or another film entirely, IF AT ALL, but the rumors of them returning are just too loud for anyone to ignore. Personally, as the Spider-Man fan that I am, I, like many, would freak out at the potential return of both Tobey and Andrew, but with that excitement, I also carry with me both concern and trepidation that it may not be done correctly. An event as big as this cannot simply be condensed into a two-hour film in my view. So today, I’m here to “pitch” if you will how Marvel Studios/Sony could “if done correctly”, create one of the best comic book films by dividing the story into three different arcs; Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield.
Tom’s Arc: The Rise of Peter Parker
One of the heaviest criticisms Tom Holland’s portrayal of the character faces is that Peter has been subjected to living under the Avengers’ shadow and their adventures, rather than be able to stand out on his own. His own ties to the MCU (Tony Stark, Nick Fury, Doctor Strange) have fans arguing that Peter Parker’s story as an individual with a world of his own, has not been explored in its entirety. For me, I like to see the last 2 Spider-Man films as the foundations for some decent world-building for Peter. In Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Peter learned that the suit does not make him Spider-Man, it’s the values of a hero that make him who he is. In Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), Peter understood that while the world wanted him to be the next Iron Man, he could never live up to those expectations. The world didn’t need another Iron Man, it needed Spider-Man. And now, with these lessons in place, I think that we are finally one step closer to seeing the Spider-Man that most fans want him to be. The Spider-Man that doesn’t need to live in the shadows of the Avengers when he can stand out in the light of his own power. And who better to teach him that…than himself (himselves???).
Andrew & Tobey’s Arc: The Swan Song
The biggest criticisms amongst Spider-Man fans is that after being promised sequels to their respective franchises (mainly Spider-Man 4 and The Amazing Spider-Man 3), the projects were abandoned and many fans disliked that it essentially left their stories without a decent closure. The incorporation of the Spider-Verse storyline could allow fans to delve once again into the worlds of these Spider-Men.
We could see how Peter’s life in the “Raimi-Verse” continued following the events of Spider-Man 3 (2007), with him perhaps being married to Kirsten Dunst’s “Mary Jane Watson” and perhaps even having a child of their own. He could play an older version of Peter Parker, perhaps even be retired from being Spider-Man. As for Peter in the “TASM-Verse”, I could see him being a Spider-Man who still lives with the guilt of Gwen’s death from “The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)”, struggling to comprehend whether he’s worthy to wear the mask if he broke his promise to keep Gwen safe. As the Multiverse collides, elements from their world begin to condense into the MCU/SMCU “shared universe” where we can bring back other actors from these franchises such as William Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Rhys Ifans, Dane DeHaan, and the list goes on and on. By having this storyline play out, we could incorporate a sort of “swan song” which could allow both Tobey and Andrew to give it their all while finally giving fans the closure they need in order, and move on with Tom Holland as the new Spider-Man.
Overall Arc: With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility.
One of the most iconic lines in all of comic book history and arguably the most important lesson in all of the Spider-Man lore. In order for the Spider-Verse to work, this needs to be the central theme in the overarching story and be the lesson that 3 Peters teach each other and can be applied in different ways. By doing so, you can make it an original take on the iconic line.
Raimi Peter: Since in my pitch, he’s retired and doesn’t want to be Spider-Man anymore, he could be reminded of the lesson and understand that he does not need to sacrifice power over responsibility. The Peters could teach him that his power is what keeps his family and his world safe (MCU Peter) and what happens when he does not act on his power (TASM Peter_. And it could allow him to shift his perspective that by being Spider-Man and using his power due to the responsibility of protecting those around him, the meaning behind that iconic phrase is far greater than by simply just not using his power at all.
MCU Peter: He can learn the central lesson by understanding from the other two Peters that by having great power, you have a greater responsibility to protect those you love (Raimi Peter with his family) and the consequences that can come with it (TASM Peter’s inability to save Gwen).
TASM Peter: Haunted by the guilt that he could not protect the one he loved, the Peters could teach TASM Peter that he cannot allow the guilt of Gwen’s death to influence his role as Spider-Man. With great power can come great consequences and those consequences can either make us or break us. But that only he has the power to forgive himself and the responsibility to move on as Spider-Man.
Hopefully, we’ll know more about the project soon.