Sony was banking on The Amazing Spider-Man to prove popular enough to kick-off a new trilogy, but for months now there’s been uncertainty about whether or not director Marc Webb will be along for the ride. The filmmaker committed to making a second feature for Fox Searchlight – which backed his directorial debut on (500) Days of Summer – prior to his part in relaunching the Spider-Man live-action movie franchise.

Fox has been anxious for Webb to fulfill said agreement, but reports emerged a couple months ago that the studio might allow Webb to instead move ahead next with Amazing Spider-Man 2, so long as he extends his agreement to two films. It would appear that such an agreement (or something like it) has been struck, as Webb is now confirmed for the web-slinging sequel.

Columbia Pictures has confirmed that Webb will be directing the Amazing Spider-Man sequel, with Andrew Garfield returning as the ‘modernized’ version of super-powered Peter Parker. Studio president Doug Belgrad issued an official statement on the matter, saying “We could not be more confident in the direction we are taking this new Spider-Man storyline and we are tremendously excited to be ramping up production again with Marc at the helm and Andrew continuing on as Peter Parker. We can’t wait to share what we have in store for Peter and Spider-Man with audiences worldwide.”

Amazing Spider-Man, as our Kofi Outlaw put it in his review, was a solid, but not spectacular, reboot of the franchise that laid the groundwork for a “much bigger, better, Spider-Man movie universe to come.” Webb, in other words, proved more capable at putting together an engaging drama about teenage life, than he did elevating Spidey’s once-told origin story into a truly-remarkable 3D superhero blockbuster. Expect that to change with the sequel (for the better, that is).

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’

Several directors dove headfirst into the world of expensive comic book movies – then, returned with a superior sequel, including Bryan Singer (X2: X-Men United), Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) and even Webb’s predecessor Sam Raimi (Spider-Man 2). That trend, as indicated before, could continue with Amazing Spider-Man 2, since Webb likewise will be returning with a better idea of how to construct a superhero film that’s big on both style and substance.

Columbia, with its confirmation of Webb’s return, has also announced that Emma Stone is in talks to reprise her role as Gwen Stacy opposite Garfield in Amazing Spider-Man 2. Those ongoing negotiations, however, should essentially be thought of as a formality at this time, seeing how it’s unlikely that a deal with Stone will fail to materialize (case in point: she’s already looking ahead and discussing Gwen’s fate in future Spider-Man films).

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is being scripted by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci as well as Jeff Pinker (Fringe, Lost), working from a previous draft written by James Vanderbilt. It is scheduled to reach theaters on May 2nd, 2014.

Source: Columbia Pictures