Long ago, in the faraway days of the early 2010s, the Spider-Man franchise was going to take a very different turn. After completing his wildly successful Spider-Man trilogy, Sony set director Sam Raimi to return for a fourth installment. His villains were going to include Mysterio (Bruce Campbell) and the Vulture, portrayed by John Malkovich. Work on the film got pretty far along in fact, right until Sony decided to pull the plug and start over with the Amazing Spider-Man reboot. Raimi and company did some serious preproduction work for the film, however, including what would have been the Spider-Man 4 Vulture costume.
We’ve seen almost none of what they were working on back in the day. Until now that is. Friends invited comic book creator Ken Penders to visit the production offices for what would have been Spider-Man 4. While there, he took several photos of an early version of the Vulture’s wings. As he said in his tweet, Penders sat on these photos for fifteen years. Now, he is finally letting fans see what might have been.
As you can see, these wings are far closer to the original Steve Ditko design for Adrian Toomes from the ‘ 60s era Marvel Comics. The version we eventually got of the character in the MCU, played by Michael Keaton, definitely took things in a different direction visually. But it’s still cool to see what could have been.
Although it seems we will never see the Raimi version of Vulture, these days, you really just never know. Raimi did direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness for Marvel Studios after all. He may choose to tackle something else in the Multiverse Saga coming up. And then maybe an appearance from his version of the classic Spidey villain could appear. With multiple realities overlapping these days in the MCU, anything seems possible.