James Cameron has written, directed and/or produced blockbuster after blockbuster, covering a range of genres, from Terminator to Titanic to Avatar. One genre he hasn't turned his hands to though is the superhero movie. In fact, Cameron is on record as criticising the likes of Marvel and DC.
But it turns out that he was once determined to take on one of the biggest superhero franchises out there – Spider-Man. He drew his own illustrations while trying to convince backers to support him. But Spidey fans are divided over the artwork and what Cameron would have brought to the franchise (for advice for your own work, see our character design tips).
James Cameron’s drawings for his never-made SPIDER-MAN movie pic.twitter.com/ilsYkYkwYVDecember 23, 2022
There have been several sterling Spider-Man movies – those directed by Sam Raimi (OK, at least his first two) and more recently Jon Watts' instalments starring Tom Holland. But what would a Spider-Man be like directed by James Cameron? The producer and director recently criticised super hero movies in an interview with the New York Times (opens in new tab), saying their characters "act like they're in college."
But as noted on Twitter (opens in new tab) by Christ Evangelista, in his book Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron (available at Amazon (opens in new tab)), Cameron says he spent several several years in the 1990s between Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Titanic, trying his best to make a Spider-Man of his own. He describes it as “the greatest movie I never made.”
It seems incredible today that one of the world's most successful director's couldn't twist enough arms to make it happen, but then again at the time Cameron was trying to get the project off the ground Marvel's only movie was Howard the Duck. It seems that ultimately, Cameron failed to convince Fox to go after the rights.
But Cameron's huge book, which contains hundreds of sketches and pieces of concept art, includes two illustrations that he made while trying to convince people to back his Spider-Man. They both show Spidey scaling the side of a building above a busy New York street.
He really looks like Dane DeHaan here… 😳😳 Freaky!December 24, 2022
It's now one of those wonder 'what ifs', and Spidey fans are divided. Some think it could have been the greatest Spider-Man film of all time. Others think it would have been a disaster. "It honestly makes me disappointed. Just looking at both the avatar movies, Could you imagine the visuals he could bring on screen with Spider-Man?"
But others aren't convinced. "It would've been too dark for release," one person wrote. While someone else tweets: "Thank God it didn't get made.....we would've got 5 hr sleep movie." "The most generic possible Spider-Man take," someone else claims referring to Cameron's artwork. "This is what you would get if you typed 'spiderman' into an AI art generator." It turns out others have already imagined what a James Cameron Spider-Man might have looked like. The poster above was designed by @stelfreeze (opens in new tab) for Wizard Magazine.