When it was first announced that Sony Pictures was rebooting the Spider-Man movie series, following disagreements between former franchise director Sami Raimi and the studio, there was a lot of uncertainty. What would the reboot be called? Answer: The Amazing Spider-Man. Who would direct? Answer: 500 Days of Summer helmer Marc Webb. Who would star? Answer: The Social Network and Never Let Me Go's Andrew Garfield. Will it actually tell the "untold" story? Answer: Sort of/maybe in the long run.
However, amidst some of the larger questions, many fans were also eager to know if prior actors from the series could, theoretical, return - most notably fan-favorite J. K. Simmons as the gruff but quirky head of the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson. Since Peter Parker has yet to acquire a job at New York City's leading fictional newspaper, Webb hasn't needed to cast an actor in the iconic role (at least officially). Still, a new piece of viral marketing for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 reveals that the character does exist in Webb's Spider-Man universe - and, in keeping with his usual role in the series, he's not happy with NYC's wall-crawling "vigilante."
Yesterday (from the time of this writing), J. Jonah Jameson published a personal editorial to the Daily Bugle's website (i.e. a Sony viral Tumblr), titled "Spider-Man: Threat or Menace?" It's a clever spin on "friend or foe" that reveals Jameson's traditionally one-sided view of the web-slinger remains intact - specifically that whatever Spider-Man is (threat or menace), he can't possibly be anything good.
Check out the full editorial from the Daily Bugle's publisher below - then read-on for our thoughts on what the article might mean for where Webb intends to take the character (in a future movie installment):
An Editorial from Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson
Last night, I walked out of the 6-train at 96th Street, only to be greeted by a freshly painted graffiti tag of a large red spider painted on a wooden construction fence.
Generally, I ignore the “modern art” of the masses. I must be far too uncivilized to appreciate the subtle nuances of the work. But in this case, the meaning was not open to interpretation.
Do the young people of this city really want to turn the mysterious creature known as Spider-Man into some kind of modern-day Robin Hood?
It has been three months since the terrorist attack at Oscorp Tower in Midtown Manhattan. Three months since a man who had changed into a seven-foot tall lizard battled against another man in a red and blue unitard who could crawl up walls. Three months since the city was introduced to a new status quo, one that will adversely affect the entire planet. It has been three months, and we know nothing more about the man called Spider-Man than we did on that terrible night.
This masked, web-slinging vigilante has refused to identify himself. He has given no public statements. He has refused to be interviewed by the police. He has repeatedly refused requests from the media, including from this paper, to provide some assurance to the people of this city that he means us no harm.
Who appointed him as the new sheriff in town? I didn’t. Did you?
What gives him the moral, much less legal, authority to decide who deserves punishment and how that punishment should be doled out?
Heroes do not need to promote their actions, but they also do not hide from the people they help. Until Spider-Man tells us more about himself, he is no hero. I dare him to prove me wrong.
So what does the "Threat or Menace" editorial tell us about the J. Jonah Jameson that could appear The Amazing Spider-Man 3 or The Amazing Spider-Man 4? While we won't know for sure until Webb casts an actor and we see footage of the interpretation, the post definitely doesn't fit the quirky and close-minded version of the character that J.K. Simmons played - for the purpose of comedy relief. In keeping with the larger direction of The Amazing Spider-Man movie series, this version appears to be significantly more contemplative - meaning that when (and if) Jameson is brought into the picture, he could play a more significant role and, subsequently, be a more charismatic, as opposed to comedic, personality.
Certain versions of Jameson throughout the various Spider-Man comic book iterations have actually been significantly pro-active in their efforts to put an end to the wall-crawler "menace" - beyond simply capitalizing on the superhero's popularity financially as well as regularly branding him a danger or a threat in headlines.
In a culture where it's increasingly normal for print personalities to step out from behind their written words and hit the talk show/news network circuits, it's equally possible that Webb's version of Jameson could be a very outspoken and well-respected personality that is actively involved in a campaign to rid New York City of Spider-Man. The fact that Jameson actually ponders the dangerous (and relatable) complications of super-powered do-gooders outside of his newspaper office, and took the time to actually write a thought-provoking editorial on the subject, certainly indicates that future Amazing Spider-Man movie arcs could explore layers to the character that have yet to make the transition from books to the big screen.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens in U.S. theaters on May 2nd, 2014, followed by The Amazing Spider-Man 3 on June 10th, 2016 and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 on May 4th, 2018.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.