The current web slinger, Tom Holland’s first solo movie hit theaters to rave reviews. And Spider-man seems to be the American equivalent of James Bond movies with many different big names portraying everyone’s favorite spandex wearing high schooler.
However, how many incarnations have there been of this web head? The answer to that goes back to 1977.
Nicholas Hammond 1977-1979
Before the 2012 “The Amazing Spider Man” movies, that title belonged to the 1977 CBS television series also titled “The Amazing Spider Man.” Stan Lee sold the rights to CBS as they produced a TV pilot featuring Nicholas Hammond, who portrayed Peter Parker already in college.
Lee and director of the series, Daniel R. Goodman, often clashed on the portrayal of the web slinger. Lee once commented that the show being “too juvenile.”
Despite the show’s solid rating, CBS never wanted to commit to giving the series a full time slot due to never scoring with the adult demographic. The show only survived two seasons, and aired 30 episodes.
Shinji Todō 1978-1979
Airing in Japan in 1978, the Japanese Spider-Man show you didn’t know you needed until now. The premise of this Spider-man takes some creative liberties from the source material.
The story does not center around Peter Parker, but a character named Takuya Yamashiro. A man who acted as a weakling in front of his friends, but was secretly Spider-Man. The story decided to throw the idea of being bit by a radioactive spider out the window. Instead, Yamashiro finds a crashed UFO from the Planet Spider. After the UFO kills his father, Yamashiro confronts the last surviving warrior from the planet Spider as the warrior injects him with his blood thus, giving him the powers of a spider. Clearly “Spider-man Homecoming” should have taken some notes.
The show was criticized for being nothing like the source material, but praised for it’s special effects, and creative action. The Marvel license allowed the creators to interpret the character however they saw fit. Which they decided would be an extraterrestrial origin, with a spidey suit with the ability to turn into a giant robot.
Tobey Maguire 2002-2007
The first Spider Man movie was originally under production for 25 years before it premiered in 2002. Many directors and screenwriters gave scripts and ideas to Marvel. One of them being James Cameron from “Terminator 2” and “Avatar.” Much like the Japanese Spider Man took different interpretations, one being a horror movie where Peter Parker transforms into a monster like Spider.
Eventually Marvel officially gave the film rights to Columbia, and assigned Sam Raimi as the director. The first Spider-man was a faithful adaption from the comics, and a success critically and financially.
Before Maguire was given the role, many big name actors were thrown around for the part like Tom Cruise, and Leonardo Dicaprio (He would have scored that Oscar early if he took this on.)
Many fans praise the first two movies, and consider them some of the best Spider-Man movies, and the sole reason why Superhero movies become so popular. However, the third movie dropped the ball that had many people agreeing that the director crammed too many villains into the flick. Originally the villain, Venom, was not apart of Raimi’s vision for the movie, claiming that he “wasn’t a fan of the character.” The studio persisted he include the villain due to it’s popularity.
Maguire played the role for the trilogy and was originally planned for a fourth installment. Director Raimi had plans for a fourth movie that would have included villains the Vulture and the Lizard. The director took too long to create the story, and they decided to move along. According to contract, the studio needed a Spider-man movie by 2012 or else they’d lose the rights to the character.
Andrew Garfield 2012-2014
Sony & Columbia Pictures wanted to reboot the web slinger after the cancellation of Raimi’s planned fourth Spider-Man film. This one to take a much darker tone from the upbeat originals. Andrew Garfield received mixed reception as the newest take of Spider-Man.
After the mixed reviews of the darker first movie, Marc Webb changed the tone in the sequel “Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Peter Parker was made to be more quippy, and Webb added some of the hero’s more campy villains like The Rhino. The movie’s goal was to set up a solid Spider-Man solo movie franchise as well as to create a Spider Man Cinematic Universe to compete with Marvel’s successful universe. The movie name dropped characters such as Black Cat” and introduced players for a Sinister Six movie, which is a group of villains who often fight Spider-man in the comics. Rumors of an Aunt May solo spy movie were being circulated.
Unfortunately the second movie was the lowest grossing Spider Man movie in the box office,which inevitably resulted in them sharing the rights with Marvel and adding him to the MCU. The Spider-Man universe is still in the works, but is not yet a done deal.
Sony plans to move forward with a Venom movie starring Tom Hardy. Where the story takes place is yet to be decided.
Tom Holland seems to be the main Peter Parker for years to come. However, there are other web heads in the comics we can still see brought to the big screen or even TV. Fan favorites including former Peter Parker’s love interest Gwen Stacy who becomes “Spider-Gwen”, or Miles Morales who is rumored to already exist in the MCU.