Spider-Man Screenwriter David Koepp revealed he wanted to kill the character of Gwen Stacy in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. Koepp not only wrote Raimi’s original Spider-Man film, but has penned the screenplays for classic movies, such as Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible, and Carlito’s Way. He also recently wrote the screenplay for Universal’s reboot of The Mummy, which unfortunately turned out to be a box office bomb and squashed the studio’s Dark Universe plans. He also wrote the screenplay for the upcoming thriller, You Should Have Left, starring Kevin Bacon.
Gwen Stacy appeared in Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, as a model and fellow student of Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker. In Raimi’s film, Stacy was played by Bryce Dallas Howard, but didn’t have much screen time, aside from her involvement in a love triangle involving Peter and Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst). However, in Sony’s reboot of the Spider-Man character, Emma Stone stepped into the shoes of Stacy, sharing the screen with Andrew Garfield’s iteration of the web-crawler. Stone appeared as the character in both of The Amazing Spider-Man films, bringing to life the Peter Parker/Gwen Stacy romance storyline from the comics. Still, Gwen Stacy would have been more instrumental to the story of Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy if they’d followed Koepp’s original plans.
In an interview with Collider, Koepp discussed his plans for Raimi’s original Spider-Man trilogy. According to Collider, “things didn’t work out” between Koepp and the creative team on Spider-Man, resulting in him not returning for the sequel. When asked about what he wanted to tackle in the second and third films, Koepp stated:
“Basically [my trilogy idea] was the telling of the Gwen Stacy/Harry Osborn story but I spaced everything out differently. I wanted Gwen to be killed in the middle of the second movie, because that follows sort of the Empire Strikes Back model, and I had different villains I wanted to use. Just a different way to tell that story.”
Though Koepp never got to see his ideas come to fruition in Raimi’s films, Gwen Stacy was taken in a similar direction in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, where the beloved character was killed in the climactic battle of the film, drawing directly from the comics. However, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was received poorly by both fans and critics alike, with a lot of the criticism stemming from the film’s attempts at juggling multiple villains and setting up a Sinister Six film that would never see the light of day. It’s unclear, if Koepp had been given the chance to bring his plans to life, whether they would’ve been better received than The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Koepp has certainly proven he can bounce from genre to genre, showcasing his versatility in each. Though it was disappointing Koepp didn’t return for the two Raimi Spider-Man sequels, especially Spider-Man 3, he has proven that his talents have been properly utilized elsewhere. His ideas for Gwen Stacy might’ve been too much of a distraction in the sequel, since Raimi’s films focused on the Peter Parker/Mary Jane romance storyline, in addition to setting up new villains. Stacy’s addition in the third film felt like an afterthought at best, and was given much better treatment in Sony’s reboot of the character. Additionally, considering how well-regarded Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 still is, even after two reboots of the property, it may have been for the best that the franchise pivoted away from Koepp’s plans.
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