3 Things We Know (and 3 We Don't) About Spider-Man's Future

Spider-Man usually triumphs over his adversaries, but should he keep a closer eye on his friends? The entire franchise is at a critical point after Sony's decision yesterday to jettison director Sam Raimi and the cast in order to reboot the story in high school. Movieline's already taken a look at who could fill Tobey Maguire's spandex super-suit; since then, here are three things we know conclusively about the new direction of the series, and three questions that could make or break it.

What we know for sure:

1. It's going to be (sigh) "dark and gritty." That's according to EW's Nicole Sperling, which confirms some of my worst fears about The Dark Knight's long tail. Certainly, there's a little room for tonal exploration in the Spider-Man franchise, but do we need to see a gritty Peter Parker who's "battling today's issues"? And what the hell are today's issues, anyway? Health care?

2. The script is already written. Though the next Spidey installment's release date was pushed back a year to 2012, screenwriter James Vanderbilt has already written it -- in fact, Sony had always eyed a reboot for Spider-Man 5 and 6 and commissioned scripts ahead of time.

3.The studio's got certain directors in mind. Sperling says Sony has murmured about Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer), Gary Ross (Seabiscuit), and...yes, Michael Bay. Because Mary Jane wasn't objectified enough in Spider-Man's famous wet t-shirt scene.

Here are the three things we've yet to learn:

1. Will it be an origin story? Though the new Spidey will be set in high school, the press release didn't clarify whether the film will retell Spider-Man's origin story or simply begin with that already under his belt. Unless producers plan on a radical revision, I'd like to lobby for the latter -- who needs this origin story retold so soon after Raimi's iconic version?

2. Who will the villain(s) be? If the reboot is taking its cue from Christopher Nolan's Batman overhaul, it may emulate Nolan's decision to have Batman battle new filmic foes Scarecrow and Ra's al Ghul in its first installment. You've got to earn the right to redo the villains that Raimi's already tackled, though I worry Venom (already shunted into Spider-Man 3) will appear in the next film anyway.

3. Seriously, was this all because of the Vulture? One villain we can absolutely assure you Vanderbilt won't include is the Vulture, who became an incredible sticking point for Raimi. The director had originally cast Ben Kingsley as Spider-Man's elderly adversary in Spider-Man 3 (before Sony replaced Vulture with Venom), then found himself overruled yet again when he lined up John Malkovich to don Vulture wings for Spider-Man 4. Seriously, Sony? This was a franchise where the villains were almost always played by men in their forties and fifties, and nobody seemed to mind then. Right now, Alfred Molina is thinking, "They were fine with me but John Malkovich was the deal-breaker?"


  • WATCH as Spider-Man battles Tea Partiers! THRILL as he slings his webs in the face of underwear bombers! CHILL as he confronts the gay marriage issue head-on!

  • TimGunn says:

    Today's teenage issues are obviously which cell phone plan to get so your parents don't get charged extra for your sxts. That and underage drinking.

  • KittenKagome says:

    Ugghhh they are rebooting it! With "today's issues"! Oh please, people, stop while your ahead. Is a story not appealing anymore unless the hero cuts himself, huffs glue and hates himself? It is not worth watching unless popular political figures make a cameo every five seconds! Not looking forward to this one bit... It better have some darn good reviews if I am to even consider seeing it. The super hero enterprise has had the reboot disease way too long. Hmm, New material, what a novel thought.

  • Spider says:

    Well...when I heard i wasn't going to have to put up with Raimi direction or Maguire acting again, I was thrilled. Then I read this. "DARK AND GRITTY"??? We are talking about Spider-Man right? Yea he's got problems, but....dark and grity? Was the emo-overhaul of Spider-man 3 not enough to tell people that that is a bad idea? Spider-man is a wisecracker who faces his problems head on. People, news flash: Dark Knight's dark gritty feel worked because it fit Batman. This sounds like a really bad idea

  • pppp says:

    way to go from one horrible director to three other horrible potential directors. hopefully micheal bay croaks before anyone gives him the chance to screw up spider man as well as transformers..not that raimi didnt already take a giant dump on spidey.

  • stolidog says:

    there's been a lot of discussion about who would play the new spiderman role....but what about Mary Jane?
    If it's a re-boot to relate to today's issues, I would say Lindsey Lohan is currently dealing with just about every issue known to young people. On the other hand, she may be a little too "old" (jaded, used up, hoarfrost). I hear Demi Levato is developing some major issues......

  • John says:

    Batman being Dark & Gritty, works. Spiderman being Dark & Gritty, kinda sucks.
    And for the Record, The Vulture's Black costume was WAY cooler then his Green costume.

  • John says:

    The artist Terry Dodson's black suited version of Vulture, to be more specific. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulture_%28comics%29