'75 letter from producer suggests crazy Spider-Man casting choices

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Oct 8, 2013, 1:18 PM EDT

Whatever you thought of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, just wait until you hear what might have been.

We didn't get a big-screen version of everyone's favorite webslinger until 2002, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Hollywood had been trying to bring Spidey to the big screen in one form or another for decades, and looking back at some of the ideas that were thrown around, it seems perhaps we should be grateful it took so long.

One of the stranger Spider-Man movie notions is discussed in a 1975 letter to Spidey co-creator and Marvel bigwig Stan Lee from producer Steve Krantz, who had already worked with Marvel on the Marvel Super Heroes animated series and the first Spider-Man animated series. Apparently Krantz was open to the idea of making a "musical fantasy" Spider-Man film, and among the names thrown out to possibly pay Peter Parker himself were rock stars Mick Jagger and Elton John. 

That's right. A producer, however briefly, thought about one of these guys in the Spider-suit.


Krantz defended the potential casting of either singer with this:

"I know what these people are saying who object to somebody other than SPIDERMAN playing SPIDERMAN. Correspondigly, in the comic books, SPIDER-MAN doesn't sing or tap dance, so I think we can depart from comic book reality and cast him from the best standpoint of a musical fantasy picture."

Though neither John nor Jagger wound up being cast, Spider-Man did eventually get the musical treatment on Broadway with Turn Off the Dark in 2011 (though that musical is heavy on the web-swinging and light on the tap-dancing). As for Krantz, he never got to make any version of a Spider-Man big-screen adventure, but he did already know something every superhero movie producer now knows all too well: People will complain no matter who you cast.

“We will undoubtedly have the most orthodox complain bitterly about the casting, even if we played it as a straight action adventure," he wrote.

Check out the full letter below, including a discussion of having Lee contribute stories and even scripts to Marvel movies, and how much Lee would earn for his trouble.


(Via Marvel Comics: The Untold Story)