Before there was the Marvel Cinematic Universe Spider-Man (Tom Holland), there was the Amazing Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). A reboot of Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man trilogy revealing "the untold story" of Peter Parker's parents, 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man pit the wall-crawler against the Lizard (Rhys Ifans) before 2014 sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 teamed Electro (Jamie Foxx) with the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan). Like Raimi's canceled Spider-Man 4, once set for release in 2011, Sony scrapped The Amazing Spider-Man 3 for a start-from-scratch reboot bringing a re-reimagined Spidey into the MCU in 2016's Captain America: Civil War.
After the blockbuster success of Marvel Studios crossover The Avengers in 2012, Sony weaved a web of interconnected films with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 at the center: it was to be the springboard for Sony's own Spidey universe, continuing with The Amazing Spider-Man 3 (June 10, 2016) and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 (May 4, 2018). Spinoffs Venom and The Sinister Six were planned, with the shadowy Gustav Fiers, a.k.a. the Gentleman (Michael Massee), acting as a Nick Fury-type figure recruiting Spider-Man's enemies.
Before Sony struck its unprecedented pact with Disney-Marvel in 2015, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 set up plots or characters who could return in Spider-Man sequels or elsewhere in TASM Universe.
Comic book players like Felicia Hardy (Felicity Jones), a.k.a. the future Black Cat, and Alistair Smythe (B.J. Novak) appeared in supporting roles. Russian gangster Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti), who suits up as the Rhino in the film's final moments, was to join an Oscorp-sponsored version of the Sinister Six hinted at in an ending credits sequence teasing villains like Doctor Octopus and the Vulture.
Even Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper), who seemingly died from a genetic disease, was to return and become the second Green Goblin: a deleted post-credits scene reveals Oscorp kept Osborn's head on ice. Yet another deleted scene sees Richard Parker (Campbell Scott), Peter's scientist father, back from the dead as Peter grieves the loss of his love Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).
The returns of Norman Osborn and Richard Parker would have played into The Amazing Spider-Man 3. According to Dennis Leary, the third film was about resurrecting those who had died.
"Part of the discussion was that possibly in 3, there was this idea, at one point, Spider-Man would be able to take this formula and regenerate the people in his life that had died," Leary told IGN in 2015. "So there was this discussion that Captain [George] Stacy would come back even bigger in episode 3." (Leary briefly reprised his Amazing Spider-Man role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, appearing as a manifestation of Peter Parker's guilt.)
In 2017, after Sony rebooted with Marvel Studios, director Marc Webb revealed the third Amazing Spider-Man movie was to crossover with the Sinister Six spinoff with Cooper back as the new Green Goblin.
"We were going to freeze his head, and then he was going to be brought back to life. And then there was that character called The Gentleman," Webb told Den of Geek at the time. "We had some notions about how to do it, but I think maybe we were thinking too far ahead when we started building in those things."
Webb confirmed the elder Osborn "was going to be the main villain," taking over from his mutated son Harry Osborn (DeHaan). "He was going to come out and lead the Sinister Six. We had talked about Vulture a little bit, too, actually."
Some of these plans ultimately materialized in the MCU. A rookie Spider-Man thwarts the Vulture (Michael Keaton) in 2017's stand-alone Spider-Man: Homecoming and the Green Goblin (Spider-Man's Willem Dafoe) leads a team of multiversal villains in Spider-Man: No Way Home, where the Lizard (Ifans) and Electro (Foxx) are the same versions pulled from The Amazing Spider-Man Universe.
Sony has since launched Sony's Spider-Man Universe, home to Venom, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and upcoming spinoffs Morbius and Kraven the Hunter. Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in theaters.
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