[Feb 9 2015 Update: Spider-Man is officially joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.]
Several major Hollywood studios are involved with the great superhero goldmine, but it's safe to say that Sony is the one whose future stake is the most in doubt. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 underperformed both critically and commercially (earning the worst reviews and box office grosses in the series) last summer, throwing a monkey wrench into the studio's master plan for a "shared" Spidey movie universe that involves villain spin-offs, a female-led production, and more sequels focused on Peter Parker.
When the Sony server hack was making daily headlines last month, it became even more clear how much of a mess the Spidey franchise is, as a potential Disney/Sony deal (allowing for the character to take part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), Andrew Garfield's future, and another reboot idea all became public knowledge in a quick period of time. Which route will Sony take? Well, it could still be the one that was originally planned.
A casting call - possibly posted by a fake agency called Bill Beckman Casting - was asking for male and female extras of all ethnicities, aged 18-65. The feature this call was for is, in fact, The Amazing Spider-Man 3, and both Garfield and Dane DeHaan are listed as the project's stars. Now, before everyone gets all worked up, keep in mind: this casting call is probably fraudulent. Last we heard, Amazing Spider-Man 3 was delayed to "sometime in 2018" - so even if it the film does happen, it probably wouldn't be hiring extras already.
So why bring this up? Well, it gives us an opportunity to debate which direction the Spider-Man franchise should go. Is staying at Sony the best option for it, or would the old Web Head benefit from getting to play in the Avengers sandbox?
Many a fan would probably side with the latter scenario, which would give the character a fresh start in the well-received (and highly lucrative) MCU. If a deal between the studios happens, Disney/Marvel would want a new actor in the role and no connections to the previous films.
Here's where it gets tricky; as we asked when these reports first surfaced a few months back, is there be room for Spider-Man in the MCU?
He's a beloved character and one of Marvel's poster boys, yes, but as the Marvel Studios progresses to Phase 3, they will be introducing new heroes and elements of their world to the public. Guardians of the Galaxy proved that they don't need to rely on top-tier titles to earn record-breaking profits, so Marvel may prefer to instead focus on promoting lesser-know properties like Inhumans and Captain Marvel.
On the other hand, there's no denying that the inclusion of Spider-Man in the shared cinematic universe would cause great excitement and jubilation. There may not be enough time to get Peter Parker to play his integral role in the Civil War film, but having the character at their disposal so that he can take part in upcoming crossovers would be a win-win for everyone involved. If a deal did take place, Sony would still make money off the project(s), which would score high box office numbers.
It's harder to argue against putting a new version of the character in the MCU and going the Amazing Spider-Man 3 route, but that doesn't mean all parties will buy in. Hopefully, the executives at Sony (a company that needs all the financial help it can get), will see the possibilities and allow their cash cow to share the screen with Iron Man, Captain America, and the rest.
We'll keep you updated on the progress of The Amazing Spider-Man 3 (and the Spider-Man franchise in general) as more information becomes available.
Source: Bill Beckman Casting
Header image from nefar007 at DeviantArt