[Feb 9 2015 Update: Spider-Man is officially joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.]
Sony Pictures is going through probably the most troublesome period of their existence. They were already struggling financially before hackers leaked countless personal and professional communications from their employees, some of which have been extremely embarrassing, and some of which have been ... well, revealing. For instance, we now know that a 21 Jump Street/Men in Black crossover is in the works. We also know that the budget of the next James Bond film has ballooned past $300 million and there are HUGE SPOILERS about the plot thanks to a leaked script.
But hands down, the most talked about piece of the hacker leaks - at least when it comes to movie news - has had to do with Spider-Man. Not only were (are?) Marvel and Sony in talks to share Spider-Man's movie rights, but Andrew Garfield might not be returning, and an animated movie is apparently in the works from the LEGO Movie directors.
That's not all, though. A newly revealed email from producer Jeff Robinov (dated November 13th, 2014) - courtesy of The Daily Beast - details potential plans for a NEW Spider-Man reboot from Sony.
First, Robinov seemed to attempt to justify future Sony Spider-Man movies after the last film underperformed for them (critically and financially):
To argue that there’s plenty of other superhero movies with levity in the marketplace, so why make more Spider-Man movies, would be akin to saying there’s no room for James Bond films because of all the espionage films and franchises that have come out over the years. There will always be room for this beloved, iconic hero.
He also argued against the need for a new origin story, which many fans should be pleased with. Said Robinov:
In the next Spider-Man movies, we can’t go back to his origin story. Think of the 25 films in the James Bond franchise; just because a new creative team comes aboard, and breathes new life into a classic property, doesn’t mean the origin story has to be retold
Robinov went on to say that he didn't think that Sony producers should come up with the storyline for the next Spider-Man film. Rather, they should sit down with and listen to various filmmakers before making their decision.
That said, he does think one particular classic comic book arc could be ripe for adaptation - that of Kraven's Last Hunt:
I might suggest looking at what is widely thought to be the most beloved Spider-Man storyline of all time – “Kraven’s Last Hunt” – which ran across 'Amazing Spider-Man' #293-294, 'Spectacular Spider-Man' #131-132, and 'Web of Spider-Man' #31-32. (In fact, Comic Book Resources polled their readers in 2012, and this storyline was voted as the single greatest Spider-Man storyline of all time.)
In it, Kraven the Hunter tracks down Spider-Man, shoots him repeatedly, and leaves him for dead, buried underground. He then dons a Spider-Man costume and savagely starts attacking criminals.
What makes this story resonate with fans is that it proves it takes more than just the costume to become “Spider-Man.” No matter what he’s wearing, or what predicament he’s facing, Peter Parker is sensitive, passionate, and connected to those he’s interacting with in a very powerful way. It’s not Peter’s powers that make him special – Kraven, and every other superhuman in the Marvel Universe, all have powers. Peter is special because of his values, because of what drives him, because of the lessons he’s learned from Uncle Ben’s death, and because of his love for Mary Jane. I’ve pasted a few pivotal pages from this book so you can see just how intense this storyline is.
We also get to see how Mary Jane deals with Peter’s disappearance, and how she would react if Peter ever died in action.
It's true that fans love Kraven's Last Hunt - in fact, they've been clamoring for an adaptation for years. Some even thought there was a reference to Kraven in a Sinister Six video tied to The Amazing Spider-Man 2, though it was vague enough that Sony could've never followed up on it and few would've noticed.
Furthermore, Robinov thinks they should move past the teenage/college-aged version of Peter Parker and utilize the adult version of the character from the comics, who got married, became a science teacher, et cetera.
According to Robinov:
Another side of Spider-Man that might be interesting to explore in a reboot is seeing him as an adult. Spidey hasn’t remained a teenager over the 52 years he’s been around. He’s moved in with his girlfriend, gotten married, and in some storylines, even became a science teacher at a high school.
It might feel fresh to see Peter Parker juggling with adult issues. He’s done so in the comics for decades, and kids still found this fun to read.
What's interesting is that Marvel basically retconned the "adult" version of Peter Parker years ago with "One More Day," which saw Parker make a deal with the devil (well, Mephisto) to save Aunt May from a bullet wound. The price of her life? Peter Parker would have to forget his own marriage to Mary Jane. It also inexplicably transformed him from a nearly 30-year-old to a man in his mid-'20s.
The point is, Marvel Comics thought a more "adult" Spider-Man made him less entertaining, so they had a big (and heavily criticized) comic book event to remove that aspect of his character. And now, Marvel Studios is interested in a jointly-produced new trilogy of Spider-Man films - without an origin story - where the character would be a teenager a la Ultimate Spider-Man.
As for who might direct this new Spider-Man reboot, Jeff Robinov has ideas. Here's a few "filmmakers that come to mind" for him:
- Brad Bird (Mission: Impossible 4)
- Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee (Frozen)
- Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
- Joe Cornish (Attack the Block)
- Glenn Ficarra & John Requa (Crazy, Stupid, Love)
- James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy)
- Don Hall & Chris Williams (Big Hero 6)
- Phil Lord & Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie)
- Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki)
- Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World)
- Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim)
- David Yates (Harry Potter)
This is where Robinov's outline gets kind of weird, in my opinion. Sure, I can see why you'd want Brad Bird, Joe Cornish, Edgar Wright, and James Gunn (among others on the list), but the directors of Frozen, the directors of Crazy, Stupid, Love, and the directors of Kon-Tiki? Not that they couldn't do a good job - they're just all so different that it almost sounds like they were picked at random.
Anyway, it's clear that this plan is just one of MANY possible ways forward for Sony and Spider-Man. Ultimately, Sony could go with Robinov's outline or they could join forces with Marvel or they could produce an animated Spider-Man film or they could just say screw it and go through with their plans for Sinister Six, Venom, an all-female superhero team, and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 as originally intended.
If there's one thing that these leaks have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, it's that Sony, at the moment, truly doesn't know what they're doing with this character. Hopefully, they figure it out soon. It seems that some decisions might get made at the upcoming Spidey summit in January, though perhaps that's been pushed back due to the recent troubles.
What say you, Screen Ranters? Do you like the sound of Jeff Robinov's proposal? Drop us a line in the comments.
And stay tuned for more Spider-Man news as it becomes available.
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.
Source: The Daily Beast