In 2012, The Amazing Spider-Man hit cinema screens introducing audiences to a new-era of big screen Spider-Man adventures. Andrew Garfield took on the title role, alongside Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben and Sally Field as Aunt May.
The movie was envisioned as the first entry in a long line of Spider-Man films and spinoffs, including various movies about Spidey’s notorious villains. The series continued with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014, which offered many hints of what was to come in the sequels.
But The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the final entry in the Amazing series. None of the spinoff movies were produced and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 never went before cameras. So, what happened?
In this post I will provide details about the abrupt cancellation of The Amazing Spider-Man movie series and what could have been with The Amazing Spider-Man 3.
Why was The Amazing Spider-Man movie series cancelled?
To understand what happened to The Amazing Spider-Man movie series you must first understand how important the Spider-Man movies are to Sony Pictures – the studio that has produced Spider-Man films since 2002.
In 2002, Sony released Spider-Man and it was a huge critical and commercial hit. Critics loved it, audiences loved it, and the film took a colossal $821 million at the worldwide box office.
Spider-Man was followed by two sequels, with the first arriving in 2004 and the second in 2007. Once again, these films were huge hits and collectively, the trilogy brought in a whopping $249 billion worldwide.
Across the course of three films, Spider-Man proved to be a huge asset for Sony Pictures, and a significant money maker. Should you want to know more about the box office success of this trilogy, check out my post: ‘How much money did Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy make?’.
The series was set to continue beyond four films, but when plans for a fourth Spider-Man movie fell through, the studio made the decision to hit the reset button on the movie series. This led to the creation of The Amazing Spider-Man – a complete reboot of the series.
The Amazing Spider-Man brought in a new director in the shape of Marc Webb, along with a new cast, new ideas, and a fresh new hope for expanding the Spider-Man movie universe. But that hope didn’t last long.
The Amazing Spider-Man was a financial hit, taking $757+ million at the worldwide box office, but this was less money than its predecessor, Spider-Man 3. However, Sony Pictures still had grand plans, so pressed ahead with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to develop the story further.
But The Amazing Spider-Man 2 took even less money at the box office than The Amazing Spider-Man, topping out at just under $709 million. This is still a considerable amount of money, but it was not the result that Sony Pictures had hoped for – especially as The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was set to be the catalyst for a huge Spidey universe.
Both films took less than any of the entries in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, and audiences weren’t quite warming to the pictures in quite the same way they had with Spider-Man 1 through 3. Critics were also less than complementary about The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and this concerned the studio.
With increasing budgets, a fall in box office returns, and a lukewarm reception to the sequel. Sony made the decision to cancel the Amazing series at two films, rather than continue any further.
The cancellation was abrupt and also confusing to some fans. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had spent a great deal of time worldbuilding and none of it would pay off.
But it wasn’t the end for Spider-Man on the big screen. The character was given a lifeline in the shape of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, who appeared in Captain America: Civil War (2016). This was Spider-Man’s first entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and this began a new era in which Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios would work together to bring Spider-Man back to cinemas.
But what would have happened if The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had been a huge hit?
What would have happened in The Amazing Spider-Man 3?
Had The Amazing Spider-Man 2 been a box office smash, then a third film would have been released with director Marc Webb back in the director’s chair. Although few details have been released about the proposed movie, Webb has spoken about the direction it would have taken.
In an interview with Den of Geek in 2017, the director reflected on where the series was going in the context of the wider Spider-Man movie universe. He said: “We were talking about the Sinister Six. (Sony) were going to make a Sinister Six movie before we did the third one. But I wanted… Chris Cooper was going to come back and play the Goblin. We were going to freeze his head, and then he was going to be brought back to life.”
Those who are familiar with Chris Cooper’s involvement with The Amazing Spider-Man movie series will recall that the actor played the role of Norman Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The character was killed off, paving the way for his son, Harry, to take on the role of the Green Goblin.
From Webb’s comments, Norman would have returned for the sequel, along with a newly formed Sinister Six – a team of six famous Spider-Man villains. The Sinister Six were teased in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and it was rumoured at the time of the movie’s release that this was a set up for a solo picture for the team.
According to Webb, another character who would have appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man 3 was the mysterious character known as The Gentleman. For those who can’t quite recall, The Gentleman was a shadowy figure who appeared as a background player in both The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Few details were revealed about The Gentleman, as his story was not discussed in the movies – an example of the ambitious worldbuilding that ultimately scuppered The Amazing Spider-Man 2. However, it was largely understood by fans that he would have played a significant role in later pictures.
In addition to Norman Osborn and The Gentleman, according to Webb there was also the discussion of the Vulture being a part of the Sinister Six. Again, this was something teased in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
But it appears discussion and teases were all that really happened with The Amazing Spider-Man 3. The first two films spent a great deal of time setting up what was to come, but nothing was really set in stone – rather there was more of a rough template in place should the films do well at the box office.
Money talks and that is what killed this series. So, no resurrected Norman Osborn, no Gentleman, no Vulture and perhaps more importantly, no The Amazing Spider-Man 3.
Ultimately, the Vulture wasn’t abandoned, as he was incorporated into Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). The Sinister Six were put on the backburner and instead of pressing forward with a villainous group, Sony decided to produce pictures around solo villains such as Venom (2018) and Morbius (2021).
With The Amazing Spider-Man 3 fading into the background, Spider-Man continued on via the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where his films rose in popularity. In 2019, the Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios co-production, Spider-Man: Far From Home crossed the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office cementing the character’s status as box office gold.
But what do you think? Would you have preferred to see the Andrew Garfield-led Amazing Spider-Man films continued? Do you think Sony should have produced a Sinister Six movie, followed by The Amazing Spider-Man 3? Sound off in the comments section.