Now that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has secured director Marc Webb for another round of friendly neighborhood spider-helming, casting for the highly-anticipated follow-up is now officially underway. After the first film was criticized for revisiting too many core origin plot points from Raimi's trilogy (read our review), despite promising to tell "The Untold Story," fans have been eagerly anticipating details on Webb's sequel - to see what the director can do with the character now that he's established the franchise foundation.
While plenty of speculation has centered around which villain, or possibly villains, will appear it now sounds as though Sony intends to bring back a pair of familiar characters from Raimi's trilogy in the second reboot installment - specifically Peter Parker's primary love interest, Mary Jane Watson, as well as good friend, Harry Osborn.
Variety has the exclusive and is reporting that Descendants actress, Shailene Woodley, is Sony's top pick for Mary Jane Watson. Currently, the Independent Spirit Award-winning actress stars as Amy Juergens in ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager but the show will end its run this season - leaving Woodley open for a major production like Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Of course, at this point, it's unclear how large a role the character will even play in the sequel - given that Gwen Stacy hasn't yet reached the end of her story arc. Considering the filmmakers have planned for a film trilogy (at least), it's more likely that Sony, like 20th Century Fox (with X-Men and Fantastic Four) is just attempting to flesh-out the Spider-Man universe with important characters - allowing them to develop across several film arcs. Meaning, given the complaints that Sony endured over the familiarity in their "untold story," Amazing Spider-Man 2 will probably try to place any returning franchise characters in very different story beats - so don't expect the Parker, Watson, Stacy love triangle that was used in Raimi's Spider-Man 3 to be a central point.
As mentioned, Variety reports that casting directors are also looking to bring Harry Osborn (potential Green Goblin and son of Norman Osborn ) into the mix. As with Mary Jane, it's unlikely that Harry will follow a similar story trajectory this round - but audiences could expect to see the character develop into a Spider-Man foe down the line. It's also possible that they just want to introduce a friend for Peter, as well as show different sides of Norman Osborn (who will probably be introduced in part two), even if they have no intention of a Peter/Harry confrontation down the line.
As for which primary villain will be featured in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the report makes casual mention that Electro is rumored to be, at least, one of the potential baddies in the sequel. As regular readers might remember, our own Kofi Outlaw sat down with Webb around the time of the first film's release and asked about the possibility of Electro appearing in the sequel, specifically in reference to the mid-credits tease, which featured a shadowy figure (played by Michael Massee) appearing/disappearing during a pair of lightning strikes in and out of the cell inhabited by imprisoned/recovering lizard Curt Connors. Webb responded:
Oooo, interesting! You’re the only person who’s brought that up! I invite speculation, but I will not give you certainty.
Webb later clarified that the visitor was a representative of Oscorp, meaning that the timing of the mid-credits scene could occur during the events of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - presumably after we're introduced to Electro and shown how he gets his powers. Of course, at this point any villain talk is just speculation and we'll have to wait for further casting announcements before we can draw any concrete connections.
For further discussion about the potential sequel villains check out our Amazing Spider-Man episode of the SR Underground podcast.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is web-shooting for a May 2, 2014 release.