New fan art shows what Leonardo DiCaprio could’ve looked like in James Cameron’s Spider-Man movie. DiCaprio got his start at age 16 in the much-maligned 1991 horror film Critters 3. Later that same year, he hit his stride in the ABC sitcom Growing Pains, where he starred as homeless teenager Luke Brower in season 7. After showing promise opposite Robert De Niro in This Boy’s Life, he earned critical acclaim and his first Oscar nomination for playing Johnny Depp’s disabled brother in the 1993 drama What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. He launched to international stardom in James Cameron’s Titanic just four years later, and the rest, as we know, is history.
Around that time, though, Leo was a contender to star in another of Cameron’s long-gestating projects: a new Spider-Man film series. Cameron persuaded Carolco Pictures, the production house behind Terminator 2: Judgment Day, to option the popular superhero’s rights and even wrote an extensive 80- to 90-page treatment outlining his vision. The rights eventually fell into limbo following Carolco’s bankruptcy in 1995, leading Cameron to exit the project before director Sam Raimi latched on several years later to make the Tobey Maguire-led Spider-Man trilogy.
Digital artist apexform has envisioned what Leonardo DiCaprio would’ve looked if he had donned the Web Slinger’s suit in James Cameron’s Spider-Man movie. The image shows a young Titanic-era DiCaprio looking off into the distance, with a colorful spider-web hue hanging behind him. Apexform’s caption also proposes that Leo appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s upcoming Spider-Man 3, which is widely speculated to feature a “Spiderverse” of past Spidey actors Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire. Check out apexform’s mind-blowing image below:
Despite James Cameron’s Spider-Man film falling by the wayside, Leonardo DiCaprio was still approached by Sony to star in Sam Raimi’s version. However, DiCaprio turned down the role, later saying he wasn’t necessarily ready to play a superhero. It seems the actor has always been wary of superhero films, as he was also considered to play Robin in Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever, which starred Val Kilmer as the Caped Crusader. Chris O’Donnell ultimately played Robin in the 1995 blockbuster, making the prospect of Leo in a superhero role one of Hollywood’s biggest “what ifs.”
Though it might seem crazy to think a serious dramatic actor like Leo would even remotely consider being Spider-Man, the MCU has taught fans never to say never when it comes to getting prestigious actors. Four years before starring as Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel, Brie Larson won a Best Actress Oscar for her gripping performance as a kidnapping victim in Room. Mark Ruffalo similarly received an Oscar nomination for The Kids Are All Right before playing Bruce Banner for the first time in The Avengers. With Marvel’s seemingly endless slate of films planned, it would somehow be both surprising and unsurprising if Leonardo DiCaprio joined the MCU in some capacity down the road.