Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man Originally Had Mechanical Web-Shooters

Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man possessed the ability to create webs, but he came close to using mechanical web-shooters in his film debut.

Brian Martin

May 9, 2022

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Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man in the original film had the ability to fire webs, but he almost had mechanical web-shooters. The Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy was very faithful to the Marvel Comics source material, although one of Spider-few Man's notable differences was his absence of web gadgetry. Spider-Man invented a pair of wrist-mounted gadgets that shoot synthetic webbing in a number of beneficial ways in his original origin tale and throughout his decades of comic books. Spider-Man swings over New York City with his web-shooters, subduing his opponents with minimum force. Spider-Man, starring Tobey Maguire, came dangerously close to incorporating these iconic technologies.

Before filmmaker (and avid Marvel Comics fan) Sam Raimi assumed the helm of Sony's first Spider-Man film, the big project had been in production for years. Spider-Man acquired organic web-shooters on his wrists and could fire organic webbing like his comic counterpart's gadgets in an unmade version of the film directed by James Cameron. The element of the organic web-shooters was one of the few relics of Cameron's intended picture that survived when Raimi took over.

Raimi initially appeared to want to stay true to the comics by giving Peter mechanical web-shooters. Peter is seen experimenting out wrist-mounted web-shooting gadgets in concept art, set shots, and even some early promotional segments and trailers, most notably in his bedroom during his costume-making montage. Activision advertised their video game tie-in to Raimi's debut film at E3 2001, and the web-shooter props were on exhibit in their booth.

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The web-shooters in Spider-Man were small and DIY, similar to Andrew Garfield's initial set of web-shooters in 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man. Tobey Maguire's web-shooters had extra web fluid cartridges around the wrist band, similar to the comic version, but they were operated by two little pads for his middle and ring fingers, rather of a bigger palm pad, as in the comics and other film versions.

While Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker was close to using mechanical web-shooters, Raimi opted against it, resurrecting James Cameron's organic web-shooter concept. Raimi reasoned that a highly brilliant but otherwise ordinary (and frequently financially suffering) adolescent creating a pair of gadgets and concocting a very adaptable glue would detract from his relatability and the film's realism. Raimi's Peter demonstrated his genius in various ways, and his organic webs in the second film connected into his anxieties with losing his talents.

It's a question of personal preference whether biological webs or mechanical web-shooters are preferred, but it's not Spider-webs Man's or powers that make him realistic. Both incarnations of Spider-webs Man's are unrealistic for various reasons, but it's Peter's characterisation and how he responds to the exceptional as an ordinary guy that makes him one of the most realistic superheroes in the genre. Mechanical web-shooters for Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man would have been a fun way to acknowledge the original material, but his organic webs were an interesting modification that preserved his appealing characterization.

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