Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is raking in the dough on Broadway these days, but things didn't always look so rosy for the show. Director Julie Taymor's time on the musical was plagued by injuries, bad previews and story problems—and that didn't even include the insane ending she originally wrote for Turn Off the Dark that never made it to the stage.
Taymor's original ending came out this week during a continued legal battle over her firing from the production last March. In February, her union, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, locked down a settlement that gives her nearly $10,000 for every week the show runs, but Taymor's original suit claiming that she's owed royalties because producers are still using her ideas is still in court. Producers, of course, have countersued, claiming that the final show bears little resemblance to the show Taymor originally wrote, and that's where this ending comes in.
It's part of a two-and-a-half-page treatment that Taymor submitted to producers when she first started working on the show, outlining her original story concept. In a HUGE divergence from Spider-Man canon, Taymor's treatment centers on the complicated relationship between Spidey and the spider goddess Arachne.
"She is the weaver of the World's Wide Web and her ultimate goal is to come out from the shadows to shine once more," Taymor wrote in the treatment.
Part of the countersuit producers have filed against Taymor is the claim that she made Arachne too central to the story in the show's early, and critically panned, previews. She then refused to make changes when she was asked to pull back on the spider goddess shenanigans, so a new writer was hired to clean the show up, minimize Arachne and take out other assorted weirdness, like the Green Goblin being defeated in act one only to show up perfectly healthy again in act two.
"Why? Because he can," Taymor said. "Because he is woven out of the imagination and now can return in nightmares and daydreams. But who created these super villains? At first we don't know or care."
Yeah, we know, but we haven't even gotten to the really weird part yet.
Taymor's original ending for the show is featured in the treatment, but never made it to the stage. It's a final confrontation between Arachne and Spider-Man while Spidey's girlfriend, Mary Jane, looks on.
Peter Parker is finally about to kiss the spider goddess in what Taymor describes as a "full, sexual human embrace," but then drops down, hanging by a web, and kisses Mary Jane instead. Arachne is none too happy with this, and she lunges at the couple. Peter bites Mary Jane on the neck just before Arachne attacks him and knocks him back into her web. Then Mary Jane, who now has spider-powers thanks to Peter's bite, attacks Arachne.
The last line of the treatment is: "The story unravels. Are we left dangling by a thread?"
So, even if you don't like the way Turn Off the Dark is now, you can at least rest easy knowing that this never made it to stage. If it had, 2011 might have been the year of the Great Spider-Man Riots of Broadway.
(via San Francisco Chronicle)