James Cameron Looks Back on Scrapped Spider-Man Film Starring Leonardo DiCaprio

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Marvel's flagship superhero Spider-Man has appeared in several live-action projects since 2002 and most of them are regarded by many fans as the best superhero films ever produced. However, there's one Spidey film that failed to make it to the big screen and it has piqued the curiosity of webheads for over twenty years. The film in question is James Cameron's scrapped Spider-Man project which was rumored to feature Leonardo DiCaprio as the friendly neighborhood web-slinger.

Credit: Columbia Pictures

There's been a lot of hearsay about the project which pretty much planted the seeds for Sam Raimi's successful take on the character. Now, the Avatar director is opening up about his supposed Spidey film which he claims is the "greatest movie I never made".

Speaking with ScreenCrush during the Zoom roundtable interview for his new book Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron, the prolific filmmaker revealed that he wanted his version of Spider-Man to be more grounded and in touch with reality. He also revealed that his Spider-Man would have organic webbing, something that was later integrated into Raimi's trilogy.

Cameron explains: "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."

He added: "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."

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Cameron's scrapped Spider-Man film will go down as one of the biggest missed opportunities in superhero film and a massive what-if story. Obviously, most fans and even the director himself have already moved on from the idea but can you imagine if things actually went according to plan? We probably won't be talking about Tobey Maguire now which is a thought I don't think I could ever fathom.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man: No Way Home is set to hit cinemas on December 17, 2021.