It’s impossible to talk about what we’re about to discuss without giving away an enormous spoiler about “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” If you haven’t seen that movie yet, we have two suggestions. The first is that you stop reading this article immediately. The second is that you go to see that movie wherever you can find it as soon as possible because it’s the greatest Spider-Man film ever made. It might even be the best superhero movie made during the past twenty years. Yes, it really is that good. Believe the hype, and go out of your way to see it.
With that disclaimer aside, let’s get into why we’re all here. As you’ll know if you’ve seen “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the Marvel multiverse has been cracked open like an egg, and multiple versions of the same character can now exist simultaneously. The upshot of that fact is that in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield return to their superhero costumes to assist Tom Holland, the latest Spider-Man, as he takes on a menagerie of bad guys from his past and multiple timelines. Holland is as great as he always is in the part, but the real takeaway from the film is that both Maguire and Garfield have still absolutely “got it” when it comes to playing Peter Parker and his alter-ego on the big screen. Fans enjoyed seeing them back in action so much that there’s now talk of a new series of films starting both actors.
At first, all the talk was about Andrew Garfield returning to make “The Amazing Spider-Man 3.” That makes sense. There was always a sense of unfinished business with Garfield and Spider-Man when the planned third movie was cancelled, and he was arguably owed better. It would be good to see him play the part again in a standalone film, and Garfield himself doesn’t appear to be opposed to doing so. He’s the younger of the two “old” Spider-Man actors, and so it would be both easier and more believable for him to pull off the required stunts and play the part in a realistic way – or, at least, as realistic as it’s possible to be in a film about a man who’s been bitten by a radioactive spider and gained superpowers. Rumours about another Andrew Garfield Spider-Man film continue to appear all over the internet, but they’ve been joined by another rumour – one that seems altogether more unlikely.
Tobey Maguire has made no secret of the fact that he was delighted to be asked back for “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and enjoyed revisiting the role that made him famous. Because of that, and also because of the return of Sam Raimi to the Marvel universe to direct the new “Doctor Strange” film, it’s now being suggested that Maguire and Raimi could team up to make “Spider-Man 4.” What would have sounded absurd just twelve months ago now seems plausible. If the movie were to go ahead, it would finally bring closure to Maguire’s interpretation of the character in a way that Marvel denied to him more than a decade ago.
Maguire’s third Spider-Man film wasn’t supposed to be his last. His first, which was released in 2002, was a roaring success. “Spider-Man 2” was no less successful, but “Spider-Man 3” split the crowd and didn’t perform as well as expected at the box office. “Spider-Man 4” was already in development when “Spider-Man 3” was released and had a release tentatively planned for 2011, but there were issues with the script, and Marvel ultimately decided to end Maguire’s time in the spider-suit in favour of rebooting the franchise with Andrew Garfield in “The Amazing Spider-Man” in 2012. More than a decade on from that disappointment, Maguire might finally get an opportunity to right that wrong.
At 46, Maguire would become the oldest actor to play Spider-Man in a standalone movie. It would be a chance to give audiences a take on the idea of an older, wiser Spider-Man in a way that’s never been explored on movie screens and has barely even been examined in comic books. It’s difficult to break new ground with Spider-Man movies, but this would be a way of doing precisely that. We could even see a version of Spider-Man enjoying semi-retirement and domestic bliss, as Kirsten Dunst has said she’d be thrilled to return to play the character of Mary Jane and work with Maguire again. If the lead actor, co-star, and director are all in favour of telling new stories and there’s interest from fans, there isn’t a good reason not to give audiences more of what they love.
The fact that there’s strong fan interest in a potential “Spider-Man 4” is undisputed. The rapturous reception to “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is proof of that, but we’ve also seen a surge of interest in Spider-Man in other formats. After a brief lull, the most recent Spider-Man games for the PlayStation are selling in big numbers again. Even in online casinos, which are an unusual barometer of public enthusiasm, “Spider-Man: Attack of the Green Goblin” has seen an uptick in popularity despite being nine years old. According to Sister Site, which is a casino comparison website, the game is currently more popular with casino players than it has been in more than five years. If the Spider-Man character is doing such big numbers with video gamers and online casino players, it’s as close to a sure thing as it’s possible to get in the world of Hollywood that another Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movie would be a smash hit.
Things in Hollywood don’t always pan out the way you expect them to. The idea of three “Spider-Men” appearing at once in the same film would have been laughable two years ago, and yet it became one of the biggest movies of the past year. The idea of Tobey Maguire as a middle-aged Spider-Man swinging through New York City might sound equally laughable now, but there are compelling reasons why it should happen and an apparent willingness from all of the necessary parties to make it happen. We’re not saying you should pencil “Spider-Man 4” in for a 2023 or 2024 release, but we wouldn’t be at all surprised if that’s how things turn out.
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