Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse almost had one of the weirdest cameos you never knew could have existed.
And it involved James Cameron and Tom Cruise.
The most recent Spider-man film had so many references to not just the comics, but also the hero's long lived theatrical history as well, including the might-have-been's.
The film's directors are on a press tour for the film's digital release and upcoming physical release. During an interview with /Film, they talk about extended and deleted scenes from the film they call "Alternate Universe Mode."
One of these alternate universes involves how Miles Morales starts coming to grips with his spider-powers. In the finished movie, he gets ideas from an in-universe Spider-man comic. However, the original idea the filmmakers had was through an in-universe movie.
And that movie would have been "directed" by James Cameron and "starring" Tom Cruise.
Yes, instead of Miles understanding what was going on with his powers through reliving a Spider-man comic, he would have been watching a movie with the commentary on.
Directors Rodney Rothman and Peter Ramsey went back and forth explaining the idea:
"There was a movie version of a movie about Spider-Man in Miles' universe about the real person Spider-Man, but it was a James Cameron-directed movie with Tom Cruise as Spidey. Yes. Spidey. And it was James Cameron and Spidey and Tom Cruise on the audio."
"Yeah, it was literally the director's commentary with guest star, Tom Cruise."
"And guest star real Spider-Man."
"He was the technical advisor on the movie."
The filmmakers weren't just pulling names out of a hat for the director and star either. Cameron and Cruise have both been attached to the Spider-man franchise at different points in time.
Maybe it can still happen?
Maybe it shouldn't ever happen.
Back in the 90s, James Cameron was hired to write and direct a Spider-man film. However, the company behind the project, Carolco, went bankrupt and all that exists now is Cameron's initial draft.
And man, would it need some changes.
The film as it stood would have included Peter and Mary Jane having an intimate moment on a bridge, using his webs for bondage. Spidey would also call the villains the f-word. I have a feeling Sony wouldn't allow that to fly in today's films.
Even further back in the 80s, when the company Cannon had the film rights, there were ideas of Tom Cruise starring as Peter Parker. This would have been a massive change for Cannon films, as at the time they were seen as a low budget movie company, and while Cruise wasn't as big of a star yet, he was still well known.
For the villain, Doctor Octopus, Cannon had only one actor in mind. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold Octopus would have had a henchman named Weiner with his own catchphrase, "Okey-dokey."
This isn't important to the story, I just really wanted you to know that.
The reason the reference to this part of Spider-man's almost history was cut, was because it got complicated.
Just talking about a movie within a movie is confusing, but to then have to present it when the character in the in-universe movie is the same as a character out of the movie is a lot of set-up for a quick scene.
Rothman and third director Bob Persichetti acknowledged this problem in the interview.
"And the fact that it's taken us almost three minutes to explain this idea to you, it gives you an idea of why it didn't make it in."
"But oh my God, it was fun to do."
One can imagine it would be.
Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse is available for digital download now and set for physical release in mid-March but can be pre-ordered here in multiple formats. The movie sees Spider-men from across the multiverse team-up to stop The Kingpin and new Spider-man, Miles Morales, learn to be a hero.