John Leguizamo Was Originally Going to Play Spider-Man Villain Vulture Instead of Michael Keaton (Exclusive)

Sony Pictures has spared no expense when it comes to casting its Spider-Man villains. Peter Parker's rogues gallery has boasted Academy Award nominees including Willem Dafoe and Michael Keaton as well as Oscar winners Jamie Foxx and Mahershala Ali across four separate theatrical franchises. While most of the live-action Spidey antagonists were just one-offs, a number of actors have suited up in their various villainous roles multiple times. Among those is Keaton, who portrayed the Vulture in both 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming as well as the post credits scene of 2022's Morbius, seemingly setting up a sinister future.

Just landing Keaton in that role was somewhat of a lengthy process. The Birdman star was rumored to be playing Adrian Toomes for months before he was finally cast in May 2016. Keaton and Sony went back and forth to the point that the studio apparently lined up another top talent to fill the airborne antagonist.

Speaking with's Chris Killian while promoting the home media release of Violent Night, John Leguizamo revealed that he was very close to starring opposite Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming as Vulture.

"I was supposed to be the Vulture," Leguizamo revealed. "We had negotiated and I was about to play him, and they said that Michael Keaton wanted it back and they asked me if I would give it up. I said, 'Well, okay I guess.' They said, 'No, we'll work with you again, we're gonna...' That's what happened there."

That follow-up role ended up being too small for Leguizamo's liking.

"They offered me something tiny," Leguizamo added. "I went, 'Nuh uh.'"

Vulture discussions falling through has been a recurring theme in Hollywood. The character was initially pitched as an adversary for Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man 3, but the villain roles ultimately ended up going to Sandman and Venom. 

The flight-based foe was then all but locked in for the cancelled Spider-Man 4, as the costume department went as far as to create a wing suit intended for John Malkovich. Malkovich confirmed that he was slated to play the character just 24 hours before the fourquel was scrapped altogether. 

Vulture was teased again in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as his wings were spotted in Oscorp, but that iteration never saw the light of day. Just last month, concept art from Spider-Man: No Way Home revealed that Vulture was considered for that film as well, but never made it past the writers' room.

Violent Night is now available on digital and blu-ray.