This summer has been a steaming hot season for everybody’s favorite comic book fantasy fighters, particularly for those under the Marvel name. The Avengers stole box-office records from movies like the last Deathly Hallows and The Dark Night as it grossed $642 million worldwide! International sales for Marvel’s web-slinger reboot “The Amazing Spider-man” totaled $65 million on its opening weekend. While the numbers are a sight of success for business in Hollywood, some Marvel fans may be left in wonderment about some particular cast appearances in these movies. Why wasn’t Spider-man in the Avengers? What happened to the original Spider-man cast? Being some of my own quandaries, I’ve done a little research and am bringing some answers to one place.
Where Was Spider-man?
From the perspective of the team’s development, Spider-man wasn’t in the Avengers movie because he wasn’t an original Avenger. The movie’s story line is based on the original comic series that appeared in the 1960’s, and the Avengers lineup a the time included Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Wasp, and Hulk. Captain America and Hawkeye were recruited later, along with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Spider-man does not join Avengers until much later in 2005.
Another thing to know is that cinematic titles on Spider-man and the rest of the Avengers are owned by different companies. Sony Entertainment has movie rights on Spider-man, and the rest of the Marvel team is possessed by Disney—though Sony sold Disney merchandising rights on Spidey.
The New Cast
Sony had originally intended to continue the original Spider-man series with a fourth and possibly a fifth movie in 2008. Yet four script rewrites with an unhappy director and disagreements on budget allowances led to a cancellation in the fourth movie’s development. One article says that even Tobey Macguire and Kirsten Dunst weren’t happy with the screenplay either and quit their roles in the movie. Interestingly enough, at about the same time Sony announced they would completely remake the Spider-man franchise with a new director and cast that included Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Rhys Ifans.
Perhaps the long-time or well-read Marvel fan knew Spider-man wasn’t on the Avengers team right away. It’s my speculation that the different ownership of the characters may have hindered the web-slinger’s appearance in that movie, and it’s interesting that Sony was planning the reboot even though at first they wanted to continue with the initial series. The summer may be ending, but the season for superheroes is just beginning. Second installments for the Avenger team, Thor and Captain America—and a third for Iron Man—are planned to hit theatres at least within the next two years! The Avengers is set to come out on DVD this September, and “The Amazing Spider-man” in November.