One idea that Sony considered for an Amazing Spider-Man sequel was having Gwen Stacy return as Carnage, but this idea isn’t as crazy as it seems.
The Amazing Spider-Man film series ended prematurely, but one idea for a further installment would have had Emma Stone return to the franchise not only as Gwen Stacy but also as Carnage. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a commercial success, and while it’s viewed in a positive light by die-hard Spider-Man fans, the film’s overall reception was mixed, leading Sony to consider numerous ideas (some more dubious than others) before rebooting the character yet again and allowing him to join the MCU. One such idea would have seen Spider-Man’s Gwen Stacy return in Carnage form. While this seems like one of Sony’s stranger ideas, it is based on the comics and could have made for an entertaining story, if handled well.
The Amazing Spider-Man films follow the Marvel Comics source material at a comparable level to the Sam Raimi Spider-Man Trilogy, though Marc Webb’s duology was inspired by different eras of the Spider-Man comics. While Raimi’s films were inspired by the Stan Lee and Steve Ditko era (among others), the Amazing Spider-Man films were more influenced by Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man comics and the mainstream comics of the 1970s, by Gerry Conway and John Romita Sr. For instance, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 loosely adapted the tragic Death of Gwen Stacy story from the Conway era while introducing iterations of Electro and the Rhino that resemble their Ultimate incarnations.
One of Sony’s ideas for a future Amazing Spider-Man installment would have brought back Gwen Stacy as the villainous Carnage, but this idea is actually inspired by the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. Ultimate Spider-Man’s Gwen Stacy was murdered by Carnage but later recreated as a clone during experiments intended to recreate the Carnage creature following its death. The clone of Gwen had all of her memories up to her death, and while she was bonded with the Carnage symbiote at first, she eventually rid herself of it and was, according to Tony Stark, indistinguishable from the original Gwen Stacy in body and mind. This was to be the basis of Emma Stone’s return to the Amazing Spider-Man franchise, with her first battling Spider-Man as Carnage but presumably returning to her original self eventually. This would have made for a unique character dynamic between the two.
What Gwen Stacy Coming Back As Carnage Would Mean For Spider-Man
The death of Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a pivotal moment in the characterization of Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man. As shown in both The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man: No Way Home, Garfield’s Peter Parker nearly quit his superhero activities in his grief and when he returned, he gradually became bitter and even used his full strength against his enemies (with grim implications). Peter’s relationship with Gwen was a key component of the first two films, so having Gwen return, even as a villain would be a monumental development, especially since the Amazing Spider-Man franchise would make Peter’s grief over Gwen’s death a major component of further installments.
Gwen’s Carnage return might be used as a way to close the book on Peter Parker’s feelings for her, perhaps creating a scenario where she cannot become the Gwen he knew and loved but threatens innocent lives, forcing him to kill her, symbolically and literally giving him a brutal and heartbreaking closure to his relationship with Gwen. Alternatively, given Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield’s phenomenal chemistry, a Carnage storyline might allow the franchise to permanently bring Gwen back, rending her alive again with all of her memories once Peter separates her from the symbiote. The Carnage symbiote (which is a living chemical substance rather than an alien) already exists in The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, thanks to ancillary material, so this outcome would allow Gwen to return and for the symbiote to be reunited with Cletus Kassady and menace Spider-Man in future adventures.