James Cameron Says His Spider-Man Film Would’ve Been Gritty

"I wanted to do something that would have been more in the vein of Terminator and Aliens."

James Cameron Spider-Man

Avatar director James Cameron recently provided more details on his scrapped Spider-Man film from the ’90s.

Before Sam Raimi brought Spider-Man to life in 2002, James Cameron was trying to get a film about the wall-crawler off the ground. Some of Cameron’s ideas carried over into the Sam Raimi film, but it was still going to be a different take on the beloved Marvel hero compared to what we eventually got. In the new book, Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron, the filmmaker revisited his ideas for Spider-Man:

“I wanted to make something that had a kind of gritty reality to it. Superheroes in general always came off as kind of fanciful to me, and I wanted to do something that would have been more in the vein of Terminator and Aliens, that you buy into the reality right away. So you’re in a real world, you’re not in some mythical Gotham City. Or Superman and the Daily Planet and all that sort of thing, where it always felt very kind of metaphorical and fairytale-like. I wanted it to be: It’s New York. It’s now. A guy gets bitten by a spider. He turns into this kid with these powers and he has this fantasy of being Spider-Man, and he makes this suit and it’s terrible, and then he has to improve the suit, and his big problem is the damn suit. Things like that. I wanted to ground it in reality and ground it in universal human experience. I think it would have been a fun film to make.”

James Cameron then explained some of the hurdles that were involved in getting his Spider-Man film made:

“All of a sudden it was a free ball. I tried to get Fox to buy it, but apparently the rights were a little bit clouded and Sony had some very questionable attachment to the rights and Fox wouldn’t go to bat for it. [Former Fox President] Peter Chernin just wouldn’t go to bat for it. He didn’t want to get into a legal fight over. And I’m like ‘Are you kidding? This thing could be worth, I don’t know, a billion dollars!’ $10 billion later…”

While James Cameron worked on a Spider-Man movie decades ago, the director admitted that it’s why he hasn’t gone near existing IP since:

“I made a decision after Titanic to just kind of move on and do my own things and not labor in the house of others’ IP. So I think [Spider-Man not coming together] was probably the kick in the ass that I needed to just go make my own stuff.”

Here is the synopsis for Spider-Man: No Way Home:

For the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man, our friendly neighborhood hero is umasked and no longer able to separate his normal life from the high-stakes of being a Super Hero. When he asks for help from Doctor Strange the stakes become even more dangerous, forcing him to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.

Directed by Jon Watts from a script written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, Marvel’s latest stars Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, Martin Starr, J.B. Smoove, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Benedict Wong, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Alfred Molina.

Spider-Man: No Way Home will hit theaters on December 17, 2021. Stay tuned for all the latest news surrounding James Cameron’s Avatar sequels, and be sure to subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content.

Source: Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron (via Screen Crush)

Ryden Scarnato

Ryden Scarnato

Ryden's affection for all things DC, Marvel, and Star Wars has led him to entertainment journalism at Heroic Hollywood as a News Editor.