This week, the world lost a creative genius with the passing of Stan Lee. Lee had a hand in creating so many amazing superheroes for Marvel, with many of their stories becoming highly profitable feature films. Someone who knew Lee well was director Sam Raimi, who brought Spider-Man to the big screen in 2002. Remembering the late comic book legend, Raimi recently spoke about his relationship with Lee, revealing the two had also worked together a decade prior to Spider-Man on another potential film. In 1991, Raimi and Lee collaborated on some treatments for a Thor movie, pitching the idea to Fox.
"After I did Darkman, Stan Lee called me and was like, 'Hey, kid, I liked your movie.' He took me out to lunch and said we should work together. I said I'd like to make a movie about Thor. We worked together writing treatments and took it to Fox and pitched it. And they said, 'Absolutely no. Comic books don't make good movies.'"
Of course, just a handful of years later, Fox would have a change of heart about pursuing superhero films as they embarked on the X-Men franchise as well as movies like Daredevil and Elektra. Raimi was hired to helm a high-budget feature film version of Spider-Man at Sony, and the rest, as they say, is history. The film would produce two sequels, and Sam Raimi had been developing a fourth entry before negotiations with Sony fell apart. Still, Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy remains an important part of the webslinger's history, keeping Spidey in theaters for years to come. After two new films starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, Tom Holland took over the role in last year's Spider-Man: Homecoming. The titular superhero will be back in theaters this year as well, with the animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse hitting theaters next month.
Thor would get his chance to shine in theaters as well, eventually. In 2011, Chris Hemsworth took on the starring role in Thor, a feature film about the Marvel superhero directed by Kenneth Branagh. Like similar Marvel movies, the film was highly profitable. Hemsworth would reprise the role in multiple sequels, as well as each of the Avengers movies. After appearing in this year's Infinity War, Hemsworth will be playing Thor once again in next year's solo sequel about the Asgardian superhero. Fox might not have seen the potential in Thor, but Paramount certainly did.
Raimi also revealed how Marvel head Avi Arad had instructed him to write in a cameo for Stan Lee in Spider-Man. Citing how Lee "can't act," Raimi initially refused, but Arad insisted. For Raimi, it sounded absurd at the time, as he couldn't have predicted how Stan Lee's cameos would become a staple for Marvel movies. Raimi was told how it was done for X-Men, so it needed to happen in Spider-Man as well. Ultimately, Raimi acquiesced, but although he was skeptical at first, he was very happy with how the scene turned out. "Now it's one of my favorite parts in the movie," Raimi says about the cameo.
Sam Raimi's Thor sounds interesting, but if he can only have one superhero franchise, Spider-Man was a good choice. The Tobey Maguire films set the stage for the ongoing success Spidey is enjoying to this very day. Certainly, Raimi can be proud of his involvement in that, even if he didn't get to make the Thor movie that he wanted. This information comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.