John Malkovich was set to suit up as the Marvel villain.
Spider-Man 4 sadly never happened… but after almost 15 years, we’ve finally got a glimpse of the film’s villain – Vulture.
Comic book writer Ken Penders has unveiled the villain’s mechanical wings on Twitter – a practical prop that would have appeared in the long-defunct Spider-Man 4.
“Before Tobey & Sam were bid adieu by Sony, work actually had begun on SPIDER-MAN 4,” he revealed. “I visited friends who were working on the Vulture's costume intended for actor John Malkovich. Once production shut down, all materials were turned in. I've sat on this for almost 15 years.”
Before Tobey & Sam were bid adieu by Sony, work actually had begun on SPIDER-MAN 4, and I visited friends who were working on the Vulture's costume intended for actor John Malkovich. Once production shut down, all materials were turned in. I've sat on this for almost 15 years. pic.twitter.com/iY3VmzUrHI
— Ken Penders (@KenPenders) November 28, 2022
Vulture recently made his MCU debut played by Michael Keaton in Spider-Man: Homecoming. However, this iteration of the classic MCU villain featured largely CGI wings.
Spider-Man 4 was a different story – requiring Malkovich to don this beautiful mechanical rig.
Unfortunately, it never happened. The film was ultimately canceled by Sony, eventually leading to a reboot starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man.
What happened to the wings? Well, remarkably, they were sold online and ended up on display at Edmonton's Prop Museum in 2019.
Awesome! I'm guessing your friend was part of the Frontline Design team. I know those wings were sold online and were displayed at Edmonton's Prop Museum in 2019 before closing down. pic.twitter.com/ID053oybIE
— Fillmoreantidote (@DolosGallo) November 28, 2022
As for the designer who worked in them, he was also responsible for Maguire’s Spider-Man 3 suits.
“He was also responsible for fabricating Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man costumes in SPIDER-MAN 3,” added Penders. “He said the web pattern on the costume was the hardest thing about making the costume.”
According to concept artist Jeffrey Henderson, Spider-Man 4 would have featured a handful of classic Spider-Man villains, including “a montage of C and D- list villains that we knew would never be used as main antagonists: Mysterio, the Shocker, the Prowler, the old school-onesie-wearing version of the Rhino, maybe even the Stilt Man, etc.”
A Visual History of Spider-Man Costumes
Heading back to the MCU, Michael Keaton recently reprised the role of Adrian Toomes aka Vulture in Morbius. However, it’s unclear how he factors into Sony’s upcoming Spider-Plans.
Want to read more about Spider-Man? Check out every Spider-Man spin-off currently in development as well as how to watch the Spider-Man movies in chronological order.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.