How Michael Jackson Almost Played Spider-Man

As we look back at the 10th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s tragic death, we’re finding more and more things about him we didn’t know in life. This shouldn’t surprise us considering how he was living ten lifetimes in one body as a few music superstars do. While some of those revelations we’ve discovered aren’t pleasant — including his mental state — there are still some happier “what-if” scenarios.

One of those is the story of Jackson once thinking about buying Marvel back in the 1990s when the comic franchise was having financial hardships. Let’s step into the alternate timeline machine and see what might have happened had Jackson bought Marvel then.

Reports are, he most likely would have been a pre-21st century Spider-Man in movies.

Stan Lee told this tale a decade ago

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson | Kevork Djansezian-Pool/Getty Images

Only the most devout Marvel fan would know about Jackson wanting to buy Marvel in the 1990s. Stan Lee revealed the story a decade ago at Comic-Con San Diego. The time period when Jackson considered it was at a time when he was still riding high in popularity, despite the beginnings of his child molestation charges.

Conversely, Marvel was not doing well because it hadn’t yet formed its powerful MCU arm. In hindsight, it might seem strange Lee couldn’t have created powerful movie adaptations in the 1990s already. There were already some attempts, but when you look at the full picture, the special effects technology and star alignment wasn’t quite there yet.

Jackson’s vision was to buy Marvel and try to turn it into a more cinematic property. His full intention was to play Spider-Man in a movie, something that many believe might not have worked out as perfectly as it initially sounds.

Michael Jackson did have the moves down to play Spider-Man

On a physical level, Jackson could have been great as Spider-Man. Since we all know Spidey needs to be as limber as possible in his action scenes, Jackson might have taken this to another level thanks to his innovative dance moves.

This means the famous Spider-Man lunge could have been reinvented into something even more creative than to where Tom Holland took it recently. Let’s not forget about the acting side of Spider-Man/Peter Parker, though.

Jackson was never known for being the greatest actor in the world. He did act in a few movies — The Wiz being the most memorable other than specialty features — not including his music videos. Holding an entire feature as the lead is a different category he didn’t have experience doing.

Lee even thought Jackson probably wouldn’t have succeeded as Spider-Man since latter let everyone else handle his business affairs.

What if Michael Jackson had made a Spider-Man movie?

We can’t necessarily take it to heart that Jackson would have failed playing Spider-Man. He still could have played the role, regardless of whether he owned Marvel.

You can argue it would have been better he not buy Marvel so any responsibility for playing Spider-Man wouldn’t fall on his shoulders. Had Marvel recovered early by making MCU movies, Jackson had the potential to improve his acting enough where he could have played an innovative Spider-Man. If nothing else, seeing him as the character in a music video or short would impress just to see the moves he could have created.

Also, having him play an African-American Peter Parker (or maybe other character bitten by a radioactive spider) would have been 20 years ahead of recent Into the Spiderverse.

Now it’s strictly up to our alt-reality imaginations to wonder what it might have been like for Jackson to play one of the greatest Marvel superheroes in existence. Maybe his obsessions with Spider-Man were enough to tell us how much work he would have put in to make the role more than a dance move showcase.