More than a year after Spider-Man: No Way Home’s theatrical debut, fans are only just now discovering that a role for Michael Keaton’s Vulture in the MCU story was once seriously considered.
When Spider-Man: Homecoming had just been released and the world was first watching Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Adrian Toomes, it became clear that the villain would be a fan-favorite. Thankfully, by the movie’s end, the Vulture wasn’t dead, the fate of many superhero villains who ended up losing.
Many expected him to show up in No Way Home alongside other previous villains, such as Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin or Jamie Foxx’s Electro. Yet, he never showed up.
However, new evidence suggests that at one point, the Vulture was actually set to make an appearance.
Michael Keaton’s Cut Spider-Man Role
In a new Instagram post, concept artist Phil Langone shared a new storyboard piece from Spider-Man: No Way Home that revealed Michael Keaton’s cut role from the film.
The first piece of art showcases Sandman and Doc Ock hiding in a garage of some sort, potentially being an alternate hideout from Happy Hogan’s apartment.
For those eagle-eyed fans, one might have noticed a fur-collared figure on the right: Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture.
In his post, the artist noted that “[the] location for the Norman [Osborn] betrayal changed a few times,” and there were once “a lot more police:”
“This location for the Norman betrayal changed a few times. Even after drawing it a few different ways I was still surprised by where it ended up. And some of the characters changed, too. There were also a lot more police in the first few passes which you can see here.”
When asked directly if the mysterious figure on the right was Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes, Langone confirmed it, noting that it was “one of those early iterations.”
Some previously released artwork from Senior Concept Designer Sean Hargreaves on ArtStation depicted the secret hideout that never made it on screen for No Way Home.
The area is pretty nondescript—and would have almost certainly drawn a lot less attention than filing nearly half-a-dozen super villains through a populated building and up an elevator.
This last piece shows the location after Norman Osborn’s big betrayal. It looks like it might have gotten hit harder than the apartment complex seen in the final product.
Michael Keaton & His No Good, Very Bad Luck
While Michael Keaton didn’t make it into No Way Home, he did somehow show up in Sony Pictures’ Morbius. Sadly, it wasn’t for anything good—in fact, the scene he featured in is widely considered as one of, if not the, worst post-credits tag ever.
Now, because of it, fans might not ever see Toomes show up in the MCU again. A classic Sony move, to be honest.
The actor truly hasn’t had great luck recently. Not only did he not make the cut for No Way Home, but he was part of one of the worst comic book movies in recent memory, had a key role in the canceled Batgirl, and is now set to co-star in the controversy-filled movie The Flash—with his future as the DCU’s Batman in question after that.
Hopefully, Marvel Studios can find a way to bring him back for Spider-Man 4 or a project after that. Not only is Keaton a fantastic actor, but the character himself has plenty more stories that could be told alongside Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is now streaming on Starz.