After making the first Spider-Man and turning it into a massive hit, director Sam Raimi had a great responsibility: Make the sequel even better.

With the benefit of hindsight, it’s pretty clear he did; Spider-Man 2 grossed $800 million worldwide and got even better reviews than the first Spider-Man. Today, it’s widely regarded as one of the best superhero movies ever made.

That doesn’t mean, though, that it was an easy film to make, or that the path from Spider-Man to Spider-Man was an obvious one. In fact, the script for the film went through many different drafts from many different writers. The final screenplay is credited to Academy Award-winning writer Alvin Sargent, from a “screen story” by Alfred Gough, Miles Millar and Michael Chabon.

“A lot of different people brought things to the story,” Raimi explained in a making of featurette included with the Spider-Man 2 home video releases. “It was really finding our way through these different ideas to the ones that reverberated with me.”

In that interview, Raimi mentions all those “different ideas” came from the aforementioned writers, plus one whose name didn’t appear on the final product: David Koepp, the sole credited screenwriter on Raimi’s first Spider-Man.

Although Koepp’s name doesn’t appear anywhere on Spider-Man 2, the script archive on his official website includes four different drafts of what Koepp called The Amazing Spider-Man, which was the working title of Raimi’s second Spidey film.


READ MORE: Every Spider-Man Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best

The fact that Koepp’s work on Spider-Man 2 went uncredited suggests he played a fairly small role in the finished film. These drafts tell a different story. While they do differ from Raimi’s movie in key ways, they are also close to what was eventually released in most broad strokes. Even more interestingly, a few of the big differences in Koepp’s Amazing Spider-Man script are superior to what wound up onscreen.

Here’s a look at the highlights of Koepp’s Amazing Spider-Man...

The Best Spider-Man Movie Never Made

Before Sam Raimi made Spider-Man 2, David Koepp wrote a script called The Amazing Spider-Man. It would have made a terrific movie.

None of this is to say that Spider-Man 2 was bad or that Koepp’s script was perfect. Spider-Man 2 remains a high-water mark for its genre, and there are a few ways that it improves upon Koepp’s draft, most importantly in its depiction of Doc Ock as a victim of his ambition and a pawn of his mechanical arms’ A.I. (The notion of good people being corrupted by their computer “assistants” packs even more of a metaphorical punch than it did in 2004.)

Still, while some of this script’s best ideas did filter into Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, a lot of them have never seen the light of day beyond Koepp‘s website. (Where, again, this and a bunch of other really good scripts are available to read for free.) It just goes to show you that the final writing credits on a movie don’t always tell the whole story.

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