Shailene Woodley was cast as Mary-Jane Watson, and even filmed scenes. But her role was cut from the film because the filmmakers felt there were too many characters and wanted to streamline the series, and have Gwen Stacy be the only love interest for the rest of the series.
When asked whether or not Gwen Stacy would survive in this film, Marc Webb commented: "There are times where we feel obligated to follow the source material, and there are times where we feel the need to deviate from it, and besides, Emma Stone is a very talented actress, and we like having her around."
Two display cases in Oscorp feature a set of metal wings, and an exoskeleton holding four arms. These are homages to Spider-Man's antagonists the Vulture (Adrian Toomes) and Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius).
As was done with Captain America in his second on-screen appearance for the movie "The Avengers", Spiderman's costume for this film is tailored to resemble his original costume from the comic books, when the character was first introduced. The costume for this film includes the original color patterns for Spidey's hands and feet and the Large White eyepieces (which have not been done in any major motion picture about Spiderman. Each time, the costume eyes were thin, clear colored frames.) The only differences from the costume for this film and the very first Spider-man costume, are the Spider insignia on his back and the lack of Web "wings" beneath his arms.
The film's portrayal of the Rhino combines aspects from the comics of the Rhino from the mainstream universe (the Rhino's real name Aleksei Sytsevich) and Ultimate universe (where instead of gaining superpowers or wearing a normal suit, he pilots a Rhino-themed exo suit similar to Iron Man).
Marc Webb had a two-picture contract with Twentieth Century Fox, which he partially fulfilled by directing (500) Days of Summer (2009). The second feature would have conflicted with his schedule for directing this film. To be released from that obligation long enough to shoot this film, Webb had to agree to extend that contract to three pictures.
When asked the relationship between Peter and Gwen, Emma Stone told Total Film that: "She [Gwen] saves him [Peter] more than he saves her. She's incredibly helpful to Spider-Man... He's the muscle, she's the brains."
Paul Giamatti loved the Russian accent he used for Aleksei Sytsevich: "He's a Russian mobster. Russians are always good villains. My accent is pretty hammy. It seemed to me like an opportunity to be as over-the-top hammy as possible. It was really fun."
Director Marc Webb chose to shoot on 35mm film instead of the digital Red Epic cameras the original was shot with. While it is relatively common for franchise films to shoot on film and transition to digital for sequels as digital cinematography and 3D has become more commonplace (e.g. Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), Skyfall (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)) this is a rare example of a franchise switching to film after being shot on digital.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Towards the end of the film, Gwen Stacy wears a mint colored coat and a purple skirt, this is a reference to the controversial "Night That Gwen Stacy Died" story arc in the comics where she wore a very similar outfit.
The film's portrayal of Electro combines the classic Marvel Comics character (mild Maxwell Dillon, who acquires superpowers in an accident and goes insanely villainous) with the Marvel "Ultimate" character (a leather-clad supervillain).
There were several different endings filmed, including one where the Goblin (Dane DeHaan) snaps Gwen's neck with his bare hands. But this was deemed too violent for a PG-13 rating, and her death was postponed for the next film.