Peter Parker is set to face his greatest battle when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hits theaters on May 2nd but, thanks to an unprecedented amount of marketing for the upcoming film, some fans have already begun to speculate about future installments in the web slinger's story. Rumors of a post-credits sequence in the second film caused Spider-fans to begin speculating about what villain (or villains) could take center stage when The Amazing Spider-Man 3 releases on June 10th, 2016.
Andrew Garfield is once again set to reprise his role as the titular hero for part three but Sony isn't relying solely on Parker to bring in superhero profits - since the announcement of Venom and Sinister Six spin-off movies made it clear the studio plans to build a long-running Spider-Man centric shared movie universe. At the time, details were scarce (aside from who would write and direct each film); however, following the recent announcement that Marc Webb is returning for The Amazing Spider-Man 3, producers are starting to open up about what moviegoers can expect from the franchise long term.
Speaking to SFX, producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad discussed the upcoming tie-in films - championing the newly formed Spider-Man brain trust of Marc Webb, Alex Kurtzman, Bob Orci, Ed Solomon, Jeff Pinkner, and Drew Goddard.
Discussing the collaborative process, Tolmach elaborated on the importance of symmetry (and quality writers) in such an expansive project:
"We should all be talking so that these movies feel as though they’re of a piece, so the fans feel like there’s symmetry. It’s a crazy luxury to have all these smart writers sitting around in a room brainstorming. Our jobs remain the same in terms of having to produce and direct the movies but it’s like putting together an all-star team – why not have the best players there all the time? So that was kind of a breakthrough idea that we’re just now really tapping into."
Following Sony's announcement of the Sinister Six movie, many fans wondered how a team full of super villains would work as the focus of a standalone story. Viewers even speculated that the Sinister Six project is actually just The Amazing Spider-Man 4, scheduled for May 4th, 2018 - which, if their speculation had been correct, could have seen Venom and Spider-Man team-up to fight the evildoer group.
However, Tolmach added further evidence to a prior claim from Orci that Sinister Six really will be a standalone project - one that will lean heavily on internal group conflict:
“It’s a challenge in every sense. Obviously questions of traditional hero/villain dynamics have to be looked at. At the same time it’s an awesome challenge, because some of the greatest characters are in fact villains, and how you construct that is so much fun. People love those bad characters if they’re good bad characters, and love to watch them. And nobody’s all good, nobody’s all bad, and so where we end up with that story, I think, is a really awesome challenge, and we all smile when we think about what you can do. It’s definitely a bad-ass group of people and I think it’s going to be a ton of fun to watch them."
Tolmach doesn't outright deny that Spider-Man (and other heroes) could still factor into the Sinister Six solo film. Still, considering the conflicted morality of certain villains on the team, it is also possible that one or two members might decide to become less Sinister and fight against their former allies for the greater good.
Arad adds that Spider-Man villains are some of the most complex characters in comic book history - morally ambiguous people who are pushed to villainy (and super powers) due to personal circumstance:
"With Marvel characters, the villains are victims of circumstance. If you look at our villains, none of them were born like that. Our villains are nice and complex and in the world of film writing you can play with that, you can make some wonderful things out of it. The Spider-Man universe has amazing villains, they are all character driven."
No one sums up Arad's assertion better than fan-favorite antihero Venom - a character that has both been foe and ally to Spider-Man. Yet, the version of Venom that ultimately appeared in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 (due to immense pressure from the studio) was a thin caricature - based on a whiney and insecure version of symbiotic host Eddie Brock. For that reason, fans of the series have been eager to see Venom portrayed in a way that highlights his grey sense of justice - a characteristic that Kurtzman and Orci have talked-up for years.
Fortunately, it sounds like the producers are in agreement. During the interview, Arad presented his hopes for the Venom spin-off - teasing the kind of Eddie Brock (or Flash Thompson) viewers will see:
"Venom hated only one guy – Spider-Man. He wasn’t innately bad, he was a shortcut guy, not really into fighting hard for achievement. That’s the Venom story. Can he also be a good guy? As you know, Venom was also called ‘lethal defender of the innocent’. We had a great history with him, especially caring for the homeless, which is a very sensitive issue and something that many of us are very concerned with. Our villains all represent a different side of the misunderstood, and some of them unfortunately turned to the dark side. Venom happened to be a phenomenal character. With Eddie Brock, or if you do Flash Thompson, it doesn’t matter who is going to be inside the suit – what’s important is that a man like him is going to realise there comes a time when you wake up in the morning and say ‘How did I get here? There must be a better way."
Given that Kurtzman, Orci and Solomon will write the film's screenplay, with Kurtzman directing the project, it's safe to assume that Venom won't simply be the throwaway character that he was in Spider-Man 3.
Moviegoers can point to select Kurtzman and Orci scripts that didn't turn into quality final films but, overall, they've helped bring a number of fan-approved projects to the big (and small) screen. Hopefully Arad's choice to re-highlight the character's "lethal defender of the innocent" title is the result of ongoing talks with the brain trust. It would serve as an interesting approach for the solo film - and could provide a fitting juxtaposition between Venom and Spider-Man's (not to mention their methods for righting wrongs in New York City).
In other Amazing Spider-Man news, Sony has released official information about the film's soundtrack - which will feature a new song from Alicia Keys, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams, and Hans Zimmer called "It’s On Again.” Given that Hans Zimmer is credited, it's safe to assume that the track, which was produced by Pharrell Williams, will likely incorporate The Amazing Spider-Man theme.
Speaking about how the song fits with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 tone, Webb asserted that the song will be used in the closing credits - as a way to end on an "upbeat" and "exciting" note:
"We were looking for just the right song to close out the film – a song that would be upbeat and exciting, but also contain a note of foreboding. Alicia’s song, ‘It’s On Again,’ is the perfect end note."
Webb also offered a comment on Zimmer's score, which was composed in collaboration with The Magnificent Six (Pharrell Williams, Johnny Marr, Michael Einziger, Junkie XL, Andrew Kawczynski, and Steve Mazzaro):
"For the overall score, I’m so amazed by what Hans Zimmer and the Magnificent Six were able to achieve with the music in the film. Every director wants his movie to have a unique sound, but this is beyond unique. It’s completely unlike any movie score that’s come before."
Since The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is expected to feature a very difficult blow to Peter Parker's personal life, it's interesting to hear Webb discuss the end of the movie as "upbeat." That said, regardless of the consequences, Spider-Man will have made it through his greatest battle (yet) and considering the expansive plans for the franchise, the future definitely looks bright - at least for Sony's bottom line.
According to the press release, music lovers and Spider-Man fans in the U.S. will be able to pick up The Amazing Spider-Man 2 soundtrack on April 22nd (a little over a week before the film's release). If you'd like to read the full press release for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 soundtrack (featuring quotes from Alicia Keyes, Pharrell Williams, Kendrick Lamar, and Hans Zimmer), click on to the next page.
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 (or one of the spinoff films) on May 4th, 2018. Venom and Sinister Six do not currently have official release dates.
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