See John Malkovich’s Planned Spider-Man Villain Costume

By Britta DeVore | Published

john malkovich

While we may be singing the praises of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker takeover, we’ll never forget our roots with the classic Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire Spidey flicks of the early 2000s. Catapulting superhero movies to a level of success that they had never seen before, Raimi’s vision for Spider-Man was one of a kind, and although only three movies were released, a fourth was on the way. The next film in line would’ve seen Emmy Award-winner John Malkovich take on the role of the Vulture and for the first time, in a picture you can see below, we’re getting a look at what his costume would’ve entailed.

Marvel and DC Comic artist and author, Ken Penders, was the initial poster of the image, which he shared on his Twitter account. In his caption, he filled fans in on the costume created for John Malkovich, saying that he first saw the impressive build when he was “[visiting] friends who were working on the Vulture’s costume”. After the movie was canned by Sony, every last piece of costume and scenery was handed back to the studio, inevitably leading to its destruction. 

Terrific at keeping secrets, Ken Penders says that he’s been holding onto this photo of John Malkovich’s potential costume for “almost 15 years,” adding that he can “definitely keep a secret when asked.” Take notes, Tom Holland. He went on to say that he had “been meaning” to share the image “sooner” after being cleared for the go-ahead, but late is better than never!

The photo in question reveals what would’ve been a sharp and sleek design for John Malkovich’s portrayal of the character. Long and dark knife-like wings expand from the center of the piece, in what would’ve been a cumbersome look for the actor to work with. As with the rest of Raimi’s Spidey flicks, Vulture’s costume would’ve been a darker take on the villainous character who, in the comics, wears a feathered suit colored with vibrant greens.

The web-slinger that never stuck, Spider-Man 4 was initially eyeing a premiere on May 5, 2011, but was ultimately dropped from the studio’s slate in January 2010. There were multiple snags between both Raimi and Sony, with both taking issue with how the feature was being created, ultimately leading to its downfall. It was a real shock for fans who were following the advancements with both Tobey Maguire and John Malkovich on board along with Dylan Baker reprising his role as Dr. Curt Connors from Spider-Man 3

michael keaton vulture marvel
Michael Keaton, who wound up playing the first live-action version of the Vulture rather than John Malkovich, in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

With John Malkovich as Vulture and Dylan Baker’s Dr. Connors likely transitioning into Lizard, Peter Parker would’ve been inundated with new foes in the fourth installment of Raimi’s films. James Vanderbilt, who would go on to work with Andrew Garfield’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as a writer, penned the script for Spider-Man 4 which began production in 2008. While Raimi has expressed interest in finishing what he started, no further information about the resurrection of Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker has come to light. 

While it was a major bummer to not see the man known for giving incredible performances in projects like Dangerous Liaisons, Burn After Reading, and Billions step into the MCU as Vulture, there’s always hope. Last year’s Spider-Man: No Way Home opened the floodgates on what could be possible in the franchise with both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man (Spider-Men?) jumping through the multiverse to help a fellow Spidey in need. With calls for production to begin on The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and a Spider-Man 4, who knows where John Malkovich’s Vulture could pop up?