What is ‘Spider-Man: Lotus?’

In the slightly more niche corners of superhero fandom, a phrase has been making the rounds for the last couple of years: “Spider-Man: Lotus.” To the unfamiliar, it’s a compelling enough title. To anyone that’s done some reading, it’s increasingly a stone-cold bummer.

Spider-Man: Lotus is a not-for-profit live-action fan film dreamt up by a YouTuber named Gavin J. Konop. Lots of people make fan films, and lots of people like Spider-Man — despite the fact that the webhead’s clearly a menace to the good citizens of New York — so finding out about one of a million different amateur productions featuring a kid in a onesie swinging from fishing line really shouldn’t be something that gets you rolling out of bed in the morning.

What separated this project from the rest of the pack was that — against all odds — it looked pretty good. A psychologically driven drama, it sees celebrated bug bite victim Peter Parker struggling in the days after the death of Gwen Stacy while befriending a terminally ill child. The original trailer for Spider-Man: Lotus sits at 2.7 million views on YouTube a couple months shy of its two-year anniversary. While it’s light on action and heavy on a shot of a grown man walking through an actual cemetery in a unitard — no doubt raising a lot of questions at some grandpa’s wake later in the day — the costuming is pretty on-point. It promised a more introspective Spider-Man story about loss and trauma, and the couple of effects shots bump right up against studio-quality. If you like betting on an underdog story, and Spider-Man fans tend to, this felt like a good place to put your chips. To that end, an IndieGoGo launched in January of 2021 brought in $112,000 for the project. 

So then what happened to Spider-Man: Lotus was…

Screengrab via YouTube

In June of 2022, Twitter got wind of a series of leaked messages sent by the film’s star — Warden Wayne — featuring the kind of verbal approach to race usually reserved for the bad guys in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Then came leaked messages from Konop, also featuring ableist and racist rhetoric. Then came accusations that Konop hadn’t paid special effects contractors for their work, and that other actors on the project had behaved inexcusably. The release of Spider-Man: Lotus was pushed back as more and more accusations of toxicity surfaced. It seemed like it might be doomed to the same fate of most ambitious fan films: sitting, unwatched on a thumb drive somewhere, doomed to eventually get lost in the back of a desk drawer.

But then Konop revealed to Twitter that the movie would hit YouTube on Aug. 10, 2023. We’re sure the debut will pass without controversy.

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