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What Could Have Been / Spider-Man

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Concept suit for The Amazing Spider-Man.

This series took many many years to get out of development limbo, and so the number of canceled and scrapped projects and/or elements related to the Spider-Man Trilogy, The Amazing Spider-Man Series, and Sony's Universe of Marvel Characters are staggering.

Scrapped elements involving Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be found here.

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    Spider-Man 2 
  • After a back injury during the production of Seabiscuit, Tobey Maguire was almost replaced by Jake Gyllenhaal as Peter Parker before Maguire was able to recover for the film. Gyllenhaal would eventually go on to play Quentin Beck in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
  • Robert de Niro, David Duchovny, Sam Neill, Ed Harris, Chris Cooper, and Liev Schreiber were considered for the role of Otto Octavius before the casting of Alfred Molina. Cooper would later go on to portray Norman Osborn in The Amazing Spider Man 2, while Schreiber would play Victor Creed and Wilson Fisk in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse respectively.
  • Stan Lee was going to deliver the "He stole that guy's pizza!" line. An outtake of this can be seen at the end of the DVD's blooper reel.
  • Michael Chabon, hot off winning a Pulitzer Prize for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, was hired to write the screenplay for the movie. While his draft wasn't fully used, enough elements were for him to receive a screenwriting credit. In his draft:
    • Otto Octavius was younger, single and in a Love Triangle with Peter and Mary Jane.
    • Harry would've gone into extreme paranoia after Norman's death, and takes out a $10 million bounty against Spider-Man, meaning that Peter has to save people trying to kill him for the reward money.
    • Doctor Octopus' obsession with his exo-arms is framed as an addiction.
    • Peter inexplicably losing his powers is given an answer as Otto gave him a microchip meant to reverse his spider DNA. Later on, Peter's forced to become a Combat Pragmatist against Doc Ock.
    • Doc Ock doesn't become fused with his arms until the subway fight.
    • Doc Ock is obsessed with Spider-Man because the chip he gave him can stabilize his fusion with the bionic arms.
    • Aunt May would've been angrier with Peter when she finds out that he could've stopped Uncle Ben's killer. Later on, they have a discussion where feeling crushed by your responsibilities is normal, not something you can escape from, and not a special destiny.
    • Peter would've gotten his powers back by taking a knife and pliers and digging the chip out.
    • Doc Ock captures Spider-Man, and Mary Jane and Harry find out about Peter's secret identity.
    • And lastly, it's Mary Jane who convinces Otto to abandon the experiment through their prior connection, and Spider-Man breaks free and saves Mary Jane.
  • Doc Ock aside, previous drafts included the Lizard and Black Cat villains. Another draft featured a younger Octavius who created the spider that bit Peter. In the end, all ideas were scrapped, though Black Cat was still featured in the video game adaptation.
  • An early storyline idea that was thrown out was for Harry to put a price on Spidey's head.
  • An additional fight scene between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus on a collapsing water tower was storyboarded but never used in the finished film.
  • There was to be a scene where Otto, after having become Doctor Octopus, confronts Dr. Connors and ends up attacking him. The scene is used in the video game adaptation, however.
  • After Spidey quits and J. Jonah is given the discarded suit there was a scene where he prances around in it in his office. This was cut and later readded as a deleted and extended scene because he was supposed to come across as a total goof, and he does, but J. K. Simmons looked too good doing it.

    Spider-Man 3 
  • Elisha Cuthbert and Scarlett Johansson were considered for the role of Gwen Stacy before Bryce Dallas Howard was cast. Johansson would eventually go on to portray Natasha Romanoff in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and meet a different incarnation of Peter Parker.
  • Willem Dafoe filmed several scenes as Norman Osborn in Harry's hallucination, but in the final movie only has one.
  • Had Elizabeth Banks played the Invisible Woman in Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Sony would have considered casting a different actress to replace Banks as Betty Brant.
  • The Vulture, who would've been played by Ben Kingsley, was originally going to be one of the main antagonists in the film and would play the Final Boss role that Venom ended up playing. He was ultimately scrapped since his role had no meaningful or personal connection to the hero at all, he was merely Flint Marko's cellmate who hated Spider-Man for putting him in jail to begin with.
  • An entire character was scrapped from the final cut. Adrian Lester would've portrayed a doctor whom Marko strong-arms into helping find a cure for his daughter, ended up on the cutting room floor, even though he had evidently filmed several scenes.
  • Spider-Man's symbiote suit was originally going to look identical to the one in the comics, being made of black latex. However, Sam Raimi thought it looked too much like a gimp suit and opted to go with a black and silver version of Spider-Man's original costume.
  • In the first trailers revealing his presence in the movie, Venom looked a lot more similar to his classic comic book portrayal, but was later changed to match his appearance in the film.
  • Neither Venom nor Gwen Stacy were present in the original planning packet, with a random woman serving the role Gwen later took.
  • Also, Gwen was originally going to be kidnapped for the final battle, not Mary Jane; Mary Jane would have talked sense into Harry instead of Harry's butler. A line Mary Jane said for this scene was actually used in the trailer: "We've all done terrible things to each other, but we have to learn to forgive each other or else everything we ever were will have meant nothing."
  • A scene with Eddie Brock coming to the Stacy's front porch and begging Gwen to take him back was actually filmed but not included in the final version, mainly since it connects with Gwen being the kidnap victim in the end, which was also cut.
  • The scene where Marko meets Eddie was quite different from the "90's Batman" villain team-up that was shown. After seeing Flint pretending to be sand in a park's playground for his little girl to play on, Eddie comes up and talks to him, and convinces him that his girl may be cured yet, and he will help him get the cash if Flint helps him take on Spider-Man. Images of this park scene being filmed actually exist. This, followed by him learning from his daughter that she is irrevocably sick and just wants to die with her dad a good man, makes his Heel–Face Turn at the end, and Peter forgiving him, much more credible and poignant. These scenes most likely were considered, at least somewhere along the line - they were, after all, used in the Peter David novelisation in lieu of what the movie actually gave us. Though the novelisation presents Peter and Flint making amends partway through the battle, while the film shows it after Venom is defeated, and it's really up to the audience to decide which is better (since stopping a big climactic action sequence so that characters can clear things up is pretty hard to pull off in a film). Both exist in some form, at least.
  • It is also rumored that John Jameson was originally to have an appearance, unknowingly bringing the symbiote back from his astronaut mission like he has in two other adaptations.
  • It is also rumored that J. Jonah Jameson hired Eddie Brock to spy on Peter, after MJ left his son at the altar.
  • The cancelled Spider-Man 4:
  • Sony also tried for several years to get a Venom project off the ground, beginning in 2007. The studio commissioned several writers to do treatments, but none of these got past the planning stages and were eventually scuttled for years after the Amazing reboot was announced. This is eventually subverted when Sony got Ruben Fleischer on board to direct Venom.

    The Amazing Spider-Man 

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 
  • Sam Claflin, Eddie Redmayne, Alden Ehrenreich, Douglas Booth, Boyd Holbrook, and Brady Corbet screen-tested for Harry Osborn before Dane DeHaan was cast. Ehrenreich previously auditioned for Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man. Holbrook would later go on to portray Donald Pierce in Logan.
  • Damian Lewis, Mads Mikkelsen, and Jean Dujardin were considered for the part of Max Dillon before the casting of Jamie Foxx.
  • Among the shelf of Oscorp inventions, the Venom symbiote was supposed to appear in the Rhino armor's place, according to trailers and test screenings.
  • According to test screenings, The Stinger revealed that Norman Osborn's head was placed in cryogenics - and while there's no evidence that this scene isn't canon, it still didn't make it into the movie. In addition, there is evidence that the scene where the Gentleman walks by Doctor Octopus's arms and Vulture's wings and also sets up the formation of the Sinister Six was supposed to be The Stinger, but it was edited into the film proper - most likely so the Days Of Future Past footage could fit in.
  • The original script would've treated the immediate aftermath of Gwen's death in a much closer manner to the original comics. Harry would've started laughing and taunting Peter, resulting in Peter snapping and beating the hell out of Harry. The ending was changed from that of the comics, however, with Harry being turned in by Peter instead of dying (as had happened to Norman Osborn's Goblin).
  • Felicia's role was also cut down for time, and she originally would have been Harry's out and out girlfriend - which Felicity Jones alluded to in an interview. One scene implying a romantic attraction between Harry and Felicia remains in the film.
  • Several notable changes were made to the film's script.
    • As mentioned above, Mary Jane was going to be in the movie - her role was going to have her introduced as a minor character who lived nearby Peter's home, having to deal with her abusive father. The plotline would have involved Peter showing up as Spider-Man, webbing her father up, and telling him off before leaving him hung up. A scene involving Mary Jane and Gwen having a conversation about romance was also planned, which would have served as connective tissue for future installments.
    • Max Dillon's character was going to have been explored to a greater length, such as the character having a seemingly-wheelchair-bound mother apathetic to the apparent death of her son, not to mention that she ignores his birthday.
    • Doctor Kafka was originally written as a woman, like the character in the comics, instead of as a man. It's also likely that the character wouldn't have suffered from Adaptational Villainy, given that Electro originally escaped from Ravencroft on his own and that there was apparently no torture involved (or at least, Kafka wouldn't have authorized it).
    • A year-long Time Skip was planned to occur between Peter's graduation and Harry Osborn's return to the United States, which also would have given Peter and Gwen a greater amount of time to re-evaluate their relationship after breaking up.
    • Doctor Ratha, who had mysteriously disappeared after the Lizard's first appearance, was originally going to have a role in the movie. The plot point was apparently trashed completely if The Daily Bugle Tumblr is to be believed, as it stated that Ratha's body had been found in the sewers. His role was replaced entirely by Suspiciously Similar Substitute, CEO Menken.
    • Spider-Man originally decided to save Harry Osborn's life with a blood transfusion at Harry's second request rather than to refuse to do so twice. This still would have turned him into the Green Goblin, of course. The Green Goblin's suit was actually given an explanation in that it was meant to sustain Norman Osborn's life, but also contained a small arsenal for his use - complete with pumpkin bombs and the glider - and the suit would have been found within Norman's boathouse instead of within Oscorp. In addition, Electro originally was going to try to kill Harry, but Electro saw potential in the Green Goblin and formed an Enemy Mine to take down Oscorp.
    • J. Jonah Jameson was actually going to appear in the film, alongside Robbie Robertson. Spider-Man and Electro were originally going to crash into the building during one of their battles, much to Jameson's disdain.
    • The kid that Spider-Man helps at the beginning and end of the movie was not written into the original script. In addition, the Rhino's screentime was supposed to be even more limited than it was in the final film - and the truck heist at the beginning wasn't supposed to have featured Aleksei Sytsevich, but a typical thug.
    • Gwen Stacy wasn't originally going to die instantaneously, as she originally suffered from severe back injuries instead of a Neck Snap. She was also meant to have a Final Speech where she told Peter not to give up.
    • The last few minutes of the film were also going to be radically different: instead of listening to Gwen's graduation speech, Peter is encouraged to become Spider-Man once more by his father, who had been revealed to have been alive. He reveals that he'd been watching Peter from afar, and that he's proud of his son for the courage he's displayed as Spider-Man, and tells him "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility". It was Marc Webb who vetoed this, as they couldn't undermine Gwen's death by following it up with the reveal that Richard Parker was still alive, and it would also undermine Peter by having him struggle to move past Gwen's death only for his father to return and fix everything. However, the scene was shot and can be seen on the DVD and Blu-Ray releases.
  • The scene with Harry locked up in Ravencroft after Gwen's death wasn't in the original script. It was added after it was realized that Harry wasn't seen again after Gwen's death and the viewer would be left questioning if Harry had died or simply escaped.
  • With Sony and Marvel sharing Spider-Man and a movie reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming, set in the MCU for 2017, the Sinister Six movie and Amazing 3 lapsed into this.
    • The Sony hack revealed several details about the Sinister Six movie. The Sinister Six were actually going to be the heroes of the film, and Spider-Man would've teamed up with them to help stop a rip in the space-time continuum. The film's climax would've taken place on the Savage Land and the Six would fight the Big Bad of the movie, Gog. After several concerns about the budget, tone, and whether or not Sony actually had the rights to these places and characters, it was decided to merge the Sinister Six film with the in-production Venom: Carnage movie. This didn't get far before the deal with Marvel broke through and production on the film was scrapped.
    • There were various ideas for which villains would be featured in the film, as well as who would play them. One email reveals that Scorpia was going to be part of the team, and that Drew Goddard had wanted Emily Blunt or Rose Byrne to play her, while Amy Pascal suggested Emilia Clarke and Elizabeth Olsen (who would go on to play Scarlet Witch in Age of Ultron). Goddard also wanted Tom Hardy to play the Sandman. Doctor Octopus (with casting suggestions ranging from Sean Penn to Denzel Washington) would have been the team's leader, and would have been given some personality quirks in order to avoid seeming boring.
    • The e-mails also mentioned that Channing Tatum was very interested in portraying Venom in a solo spin-off, but was taken out of consideration when he agreed to star in Fox's Gambit movie instead.
    • Sony had announced that Black Cat and the Spider-Slayers were intended to appear in sequels and spin-off films, with Felicity Jones and B.J. Novak reprising their roles.
    • Jessica Drew, the original Spider-Woman, was also considered for future movies, with Angelina Jolie and Kate Beckinsale in mind for the role.
    • Taking a note from the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, Emma Stone jokingly suggested bringing back Gwen Stacy by making her into Carnage. Hannah Minghella actually liked the idea, and said that it had potential to be "really cool/sexy/intense to see."
    • According to Denis Leary, one of the proposed plot points for Amazing Spider-Man 3 would have seen Peter using a serum that allows him to resurrect the dead, allowing Captain Stacy (and presumably Gwen) to return.
    • There were plans to bring Emma Stone back to the franchise with a female-centric Amazing Spider-Man 2 Spin-Off, which would have starred Silver Sable and an alternate version of Spider-Woman. The film would have seen an eager young Silver reluctantly working as the recruiter for her dad's team, the Six Pack, despite wanting to be an actual member of the group. Early on, the Six Pack and Spider-Man would be taken out by Doctor Octopus and Mr. Negative, forcing Silver to recruit her own team (which would include Raul Quentino and a Somalian heroine named Lightbright) in order to save them and stop the villains. This would then lead to her teaming up with a Gwen Stacy (played by Stone) from a Parallel Universe, who would be revealed to be her world's Spider-Woman. Ironically, this idea actually predates the creation of Spider-Gwen!

  • Matt Smith, Pedro Pascal, and Matthias Schoenaerts were considered for the role of Carlton Drake before Riz Ahmed was cast. Smith would eventually go on to portray Loxias Crown in Morbius.
  • Adi Shankar, Adam Wingard, and Rawson Marshall Thurber were considered to direct the movie before Ruben Fleischer was hired. Shankar previously produced Truth in Journalism which features Ryan Kwanten as Eddie Brock.
  • In 1997, New Line Cinema hired David S. Goyer to write a script for an R-rated Venom movie that partially adapted Maximum Carnage with Dolph Lundgren in mind for the titular role. The film also contained nods to the various Venom comics and novels of the 1990s:
    • Like the 2018 Venom movie, there was no connection to Spider-Man whatsoever, and it also takes numerous liberties with the source material.
    • Eddy Brock lived at St. Estus' orphanage as a child, and was taken hostage by Cletus Kasady when the latter burned the orphanage down. Years later, Eddy became a respected journalist, while Cletus became a notorious serial killer with a cult following and a fixation on Eddy.
    • Eddy went undercover to help the police lure Cletus into a trap, with Cletus being sentenced to a televised public execution.
    • Dr. Ashley Kafka – Cletus’ psychiatrist – combines aspects of Anne Weying, being Eddy’s love-interest and even becoming She-Venom late into the movie.
    • The Venom symbiote – bonded to an alien spider – escapes a horde of "Blood Hunter" symbiotes by jumping into a stasis pod, which crash-lands on Earth and crushes a mugger in the process of robbing Eddy. The symbiote leaves the dead alien spider and bonds to Eddy, turning him into a semi-amorphous monster with the ability to sprout giant spider-legs from the emblems on his chest and back.
    • As Venom, Eddy beats up some of Cletus’ followers, but has a symbiote-induced premonition of Cletus bonding to a Blood Hunter symbiote and going on a rampage, and sets out to stop Cletus’ execution.
    • One of the Blood Hunter symbiotes follows the Venom symbiote to Earth and bonds to Cletus just as he’s about to be executed. Cletus escapes and fights with Venom, proving even more powerful than him.
    • The Vault – a black ops government organization that seeks to capture and weaponize the symbiotes, having captured a few Blood Hunters in the past – recruits Dr. Kafka and manipulates her into helping them capture Eddy and separate him from the Venom symbiote.
    • Upon realizing she was tricked, Dr. Kafka is imprisoned, but the Venom symbiote escapes and bonds to her, turning her into She-Venom until she returns the symbiote to Eddy with a kiss.
    • Cletus – now going by Carnage – hunts down the people involved in his arrest and kills them, then sends his followers on a city-wide rampage.
    • As the Blood Hunter symbiote consumes him from the inside-out, Cletus returns to the ruins of St. Estus’ for a final confrontation with Eddy. Eddy and Dr. Kafka inject Cletus with Vitamin-C to incapacitate him, but the Blood Hunter symbiote abandons Cletus’ body in preparation to reproduce. Eddie separates from the Venom symbiote and sends it to fight the Blood Hunter, then seemingly immolates them both.
    • In the film’s finale, Eddy and Dr. Kafka remain a couple, and it’s revealed the Venom symbiote is still alive and bonded to Eddy.
  • In 2013, a Venom film was also considered as one of the planned spin-offs of The Amazing Spider-Man Series along with a planned Sinister Six movie (which would also have potentially included Venom as a member of the titular team), with Alex Kurtzman as the director. The leaked e-mails from the 2014 Sony hack also revealed that, among the wealth of planned installments for The Amazing Spider-Man Series, a few of them would have focused on Venom, one of them even being an Agent Venom film.
  • The film was originally planned to begin with the Life Foundation shuttle coming across the symbiote-infested comet and harvesting four of them, but this scene was cut and the film instead opens with the shuttle on its way back to Earth after collecting the samples.
  • "The Third Floor” — one of the companies that worked on the Venom movie's CGI — released concept art showing that Carnage was originally going to be the film's antagonist rather than Riot.

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 

Upcoming Movies

  • Antoine Fuqua and F. Gary Gray were approached to direct the movie before Daniel Espinosa was hired. When asked why he turned down the offer, Fuqua responded with this.
    Fuqua: As a kid, I grew up with comic books. They talked to me about Black Panther years ago, way back in the day. There's some reason they came up and they talked to me about at Sony about Morbius. I don't know, I have a thirteen-year-old son, so I'm watching more of that again and it's exciting to do that. I'd love to create a new one, but something that's closer to what I get excited about.

    Venom: Let There Be Carnage 


    Other Assorted Trivia 
  • The first genuine attempt to bring Spider-Man to the big screen happened in 1982. Roger Corman (who was a huge fan of the Spider-Man comics) acquired the rights to the property through Orion Pictures, and hired Stan Lee himself to write the screenplay. The script, in addition to a faithful adaptation of Spidey's origin story, would have featured a college-aged Peter Parker fighting to stop Doctor Octopus and avert a nuclear war with Russia. Peter would have had numerous love interests (including Mary Jane and a "sexy KGB agent"), and the film's climactic scene would have taken place in downtown New York atop the U.N. building, with Spidey doing lots of web-slinging and wall-crawling to avoid Doc Ock's tentacles (much like in Spider-Man 2). Unfortunately, Corman (who was accustomed to working on low-budget indie films) was ill-equipped to handle Lee's ambitious, big-budget vision for the film; production was continuously delayed, and eventually, Orion Pictures — concerned that the project would run over budget — allowed the rights to expire.
  • The next plan to get a Spider-Man film off the ground was in 1985, when Tobe Hooper (of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame) was set to direct a film for The Cannon Group. Due to Cannon chiefs Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus not understanding the concept, the original script treatment had Dr. Octopus experimenting on Peter Parker and turning him into a Body Horror-fusion between a spider and a human, who was also suicidal. Stan Lee immediately vetoed the concept on the grounds that it perverted the entire concept of the character (though elements of the story did ultimately see the light of day in the Neogenic Nightmare arc of Spider-Man: The Animated Series).
  • The following year (1986), director Albert Pyun was then hired to direct the film for Cannon, after the initial choice following Hooper, Joseph Zito (of The Prowler fame), walked out. Scott Leva was hired to play Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and although no one else was officially cast, the studio considered Bob Hoskins for Doctor Octopus, Peter Cushing and Adolph Caesar for smaller roles, and most notably Katharine Hepburn or Lauren Bacall for Aunt May. On top of all that, Stan Lee himself wanted to play J. Jonah Jameson. Filming was set to take place at De Laurentiis' studio in Wilmington, North Carolina. With a $6 million budget, the Brooklyn sets were built for the film on the Wilmington stages, a teaser trailer was released (though too late to remove Zito's name that was infamously heard in said trailer) and publicity photos of Leva as the character were taken. Pyun had originally planned to film two weeks worth of scenes for Spider-Man before Leva's nerdy Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider, then Leva would undergo a supervised eight-week workout regimen to build muscle mass while director Pyun would film Masters of the Universe Part 2, and filming for Spider-Man would resume for the scenes after Peter gets his spider powers. However, both projects were scrapped due to Cannon's stretched-thin finances. Albert Pyun was then given the task to make a movie out of the 2 million-worth of costumes and sets already built for both projects, came up with a script on a single weekend, and 24 days of rushed filming and editing later, the cult-classic Jean-Claude Van Damme starring Cyborg was released. The head honchos at Cannon had a major case of Comically Missing the Point when their revised script centered around Peter Parker getting roped into a villainous plot by Octavius to find the secret of anti-gravity. Various rewrites went nowhere, and despite another attempt by Cannon to finance another script in 1989 (in actuality, it was just the 1985 script with a revised date), nothing ever occurred and the production rights were eventually licensed to Carolco Pictures, which led to...
  • James Cameron's aborted treatment for Spider-Man:
    • It would have followed the web-slinger, with Leonardo DiCaprio or Edward Furlong in mind for the role, as he establishes his powers in high school. In the treatment, the main villain is Carlton Strand (a.k.a. Electro), a former thief who was electrocuted and given very strong powers, which he has used to rise to the top of a large corporation. Peter Parker's origin follows the comic book closely (bitten by spider at university lecture), but goes off on a tangent once he starts falling for Mary Jane Osborn. After he finds out that her flashy image is a front and that she comes from a broken home, he sees Flash Thompson hit her, then proceeds to knock him out and destroy his car. Uncle Ben still dies, and his killer is captured by the police. Then, Parker seduces MJ by kidnapping her, taking her to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, and doing a Spider mating dance for her. Strand teams up with a man named Boyd (Sandman) and kidnaps MJ, taking her to the top of the World Trade Center. The climax of the film is a pitched two-on-one battle with Spider-Man rescuing MJ and taking on both Strand and Boyd at the same time. He eventually wins by using one of the WTC's generators to fuse Sandman into molten glass, and ends up throwing Strand off the building. Although Carolco remained committed to producing the film, as evidenced by extending their rights to the character to 1996, financial and contractual problems led to Carolco shutting down production in 1992.
    • Cameron also rewrote a draft in 1993 that would have featured Arnold Schwarzenegger as Doc Octopus. His catchphrase would have been "Okey dokey then", and he would've insisted his tentacles be called "waldos". He would have also had a lab assistant named Weiner that he constantly insulted throughout the movie, and he would have been bitten by the same radioactive spider as Peter. Say what you want about it, but that is some epic shit right there.
    • This is why Electro and Sandman didn't show up in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, which was created around the time Cameron's film was in development. Electro did eventually appear... as the Red Skull's son. By that time the Cameron script had been trashed.
    • Cameron's original screenplay tried to present Peter's growing powers as a metaphor for puberty, complete with him waking up in bed and covered in sticky white webbing.


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