According to Variety, James Vanderbilt has been picked up by Sony Pictures Entertainment to pen the scripts to another two Spider-Man films.
What’s interesting about this is that Vanderbilt had initially written the first script for Spider-Man 4, a script that director Sam Raimi wasn’t fully in support of. Raimi brought in other writers to do several re-writes but executives at Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios actually liked Vanderbilt’s ideas.
That’s a tad worrisome seeing how Raimi was involved with the mess that was Spider-Man 3 and Marvel Studios has been dead-on with their first two films; Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk.
A big issue here is that there’s no confirmation on whether or not any of the key players will return for another two installments. Raimi was doubtful of doing a fourth but he eventually came back aboard, as did its star Tobey Maguire with the help of an insanely big contract.
Raimi will be a very busy man after Spider-Man 4 with a ton of projects in development and his position in kickstarting another massive franchise, World of Warcraft, so it’s possible he may not be around to film back-to-back large-scale superhero films. Either way, Spider-Man is the headline franchise for Sony Pictures and their biggest money-maker. They want to be ready to continue the franchise and not have to wait many years in-between future installments.
Apparently, if Raimi and his cast doesn’t return for the 5th and 6th interconnected Spidey adventures, Vanderbilt’s script would act as a franchise re-boot.
I’m actually fine with that so long as we don’t get a complete re-hash of the origins story. They nailed that down well in the first Spider-Man film and I want to see new villains that haven’t been touched on in the franchise yet. They could even re-cast the lead with a new director and just continue if they wanted to – It almost happened with Jake Gyllenhaal back with the first sequel.
Spider-Man 4 is a real test for Sam Raimi as he’s in full control of it, unlike the situation with the last one. We’ve already seen some of that control with the re-writes of the script so I’m curious how good the next installment will be. If it’s not, I’m all for a different direction with 5 & 6.
What do you think of this news and what storylines and villains could be included with Spider-Man 5 & 6?
Spider-Man 4 is set to begin production early next year for a May 6, 2011 opening.