Spidey 4 is no more: Sony plans reboot sans Raimi, Tobey


Fans of the Spider-Man franchise, brace yourselves. Sam Raimi – and by association Tobey Maguire – will not have anything to do with next film. “Spider-Man 4” as it stood, is no more. Sony will instead aim to reboot the franchise with a whole new cast based on a script by James Vanderbilt  (Zodiac).

I’ve avoided posting anything news related to this film because everything up to this point had been speculation other than Sony dropping its initial May 2011 release date. Now, that’s no longer the case. Yesterday, Deadline Hollywood reported Raimi pulled out because he felt he could not make a 2011 summer release date without compromising the creative integrity of the film.

If you haven’t heard anything about the ongoing problems with “Spider-Man 4,” allow me to bring you up to speed, speedily. This film gets reported on more than any other in Hollywood because it’s the most valuable and valued superhero franchise in existence, so there has been much reporting in the last several months about Raimi and producers being unable to settle on a script or more importantly, a villain.

The film first came in the spotlight with speculation that the villain would finally be The Lizard/Dr. Curt Connors, played by Dylan Baker in the films, only Sony didn’t believe The Lizard –or Baker—to be strong enough. Rumors swirled that the studio wanted Carnage, basically a cousin to Venom – conceptually speaking. This was a problem, because Raimi realized he made a mistake in acquiescing to add Venom to the script of Spider-Man 3, because of the poor reception from fans.

Then came dozens of casting rumors with regard to The Black Cat aka Felicia Hardy, a fellow female companion of Spidey’s in the comics who gets herself into a bit of trouble and there’s some romantic chemistry. Rachel McAdams was rumored, then Anne Hathaway and that was never settled.

Next comes word that Raimi wanted The Vulture (and his daughter, the Vulturess) in the film, an he offered the part to John Malkovich, who confirmed he had been offered but awaited a script not all that long ago. The Vulture is basically a wealthy man who finds a way to reverse his age by sucking life energy out of others, if my memory serves me correctly. Not exactly one of Spidey’s most memorable nemeses from the comics, but certainly interesting as a prospect. Not interesting enough, however, for Sony to gamble on.

Then came last week’s announcement that the early May 2011 release date that Sony coveted would not be met and that something later in the summer would be more likely. Marvel’s Thor got moved up from later in May and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides took that film’s spot.

Now, the news is that it’s all out the window. Without Raimi and Maguire, Sony Pictures felt their best choice would be to reboot the franchise entirely. That means we’ll get Peter Parker back in high school again Summer 2012

You can imagine this news has devastated/will devastate a lot of fans. With Spider-Man 3 being the only “disappointment” despite massive quantities of money coming in, this franchise had everything going for it. A reboot feels silly and out of place, especially with an expected release of only six years after the most recent film.

First of all, it was the team of Raimi and Maguire that made Spider-Man what it was in 2002 and completely changed the game for superhero movies. Not that Sony Pictures technically owes them anything at this juncture, but their vision for Spider-Man is the vision the world knows and loves. Sony will have to move forward very carefully, particularly in selecting a director, in order to make this transition a pleasant one for the fan base. They need to restore excitement and buzz for this franchise, one of the most valuable, if not the single most valuable, commodities they have.

I think Sony should’ve done a bit more to get this film to work with Raimi still on board. Obviously, we’ve learned the movie will come out in its new form in 2012. What was preventing the Raimi-helmed sequel from being pushed back until then? I suppose it was the pre-production efforts and time/money being spent, but in the interest of preserving the franchise’s integrity, why wasn’t there more compromise on Sony’s behalf? Clearly they had to recognize how insisting upon the addition of Venom injured what they did in the third film and that by making the same mistake again of not letting Sam have more of a say would be foolish. Or maybe I’m just too naïve.

Either way, we’re going to be in for a lot more coverage of this reboot with everything from who the new Peter Parker will be to whether or not the film will be made in 3D. And there will be plenty of warranted skepticism along the way.


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