"Spider-Man 4 No More"?! Not exactly… (updated)

Deadline Hollywood broke the news earlier today, and a subsequent Sony press release confirmed it: Spider-Man 4 will not make its May, 2011, release date. Spider-Man 4 will not be directed by Sam Raimi. And Spider-Man 4 will not star Tobey Maguire. But is Spider-Man 4 “scrapped”? Deadline Hollywood’s sensationalistic headline indicates they think so. And, fine, if they call the next Spider-Man film The Amazing Spider-Man instead, then DH was right, but, really, what’s in a name?

Sony is still moving forward with a script by James Vanderbilt, but they’re now aiming for a 2012 release — after a lengthy search for a new director and star, no doubt. Even with a polish, it’s still the same story. It could very well be a “soft” reboot for the franchise and still be called Spider-Man 4. It’ll almost certainly be considered Spider-Man 4 by the general public, anyway.

The full text of Sony’s official release follows after the jump:

Culver City, CA (January 11, 2010) — Peter Parker is going back to high school when the next Spider-Man hits theaters in the summer of 2012. Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios announced today they are moving forward with a film based on a script by James Vanderbilt that focuses on a teenager grappling with both contemporary human problems and amazing super-human crises.

The new chapter in the Spider-Man franchise produced by Columbia, Marvel Studios and Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin, will have a new cast and filmmaking team. Spider-Man 4 was to have been released in 2011, but had not yet gone into production.

“A decade ago we set out on this journey with Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire and together we made three Spider-Man films that set a new bar for the genre. When we began, no one ever imagined that we would make history at the box-office and now we have a rare opportunity to make history once again with this franchise. Peter Parker as an ordinary young adult grappling with extraordinary powers has always been the foundation that has made this character so timeless and compelling for generations of fans. We’re very excited about the creative possibilities that come from returning to Peter’s roots and we look forward to working once again with Marvel Studios, Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin on this new beginning,” said Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“Working on the Spider-Man movies was the experience of a lifetime for me. While we were looking forward to doing a fourth one together, the studio and Marvel have a unique opportunity to take the franchise in a new direction, and I know they will do a terrific job,” said Sam Raimi.

“We have had a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration and friendship with Sam and Tobey and they have given us their best for the better part of the last decade.This is a bittersweet moment for us because while it is hard to imagine Spider-Man in anyone else’s hands, I know that this was a day that was inevitable,” said Matt Tolmach, president of Columbia Pictures, who has served as the studio’s chief production executive since the beginning of the franchise. “Now everything begins anew, and that’s got us all tremendously excited about what comes next. Under the continuing supervision of Avi and Laura, we have a clear vision for the future of Spider-Man and can’t wait to share this exciting new direction with audiences in 2012.”

“Spider-Man will always be an important franchise for Sony Pictures and a fresh start like this is a responsibility that we all take very seriously,” said Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures. “We have always believed that story comes first and story guides the direction of these films and as we move onto the next chapter, we will stay true to that principle and will do so with the highest respect for the source material and the fans and moviegoers who deserve nothing but the best when it comes to bringing these stories and characters to life on the big screen.”

The studio will have more news about Spider-Man in 2012 in the coming weeks as it prepares for production of the film.

UPDATE: There seems to be a little confusion about the nature of this “reboot.” The film is not going to be an origin story at this point. The release is a little unclear as to which script by James Vanderbilt they’re proceeding with; Vanderbilt wrote the original script to what would have been Raimi’s Spider-Man 4, but he was also hired to write two more sequels which were “being plotted as a franchise reboot (if necessary)” — implying a soft reboot, not a “go back and do the origin over again”

It’s possible, with Raimi’s departure, the producers are actually scrapping the script for Spider-Man 4 (which would have featured the Vulture and possibly the Black Cat) and skipping forward to the plot for #5, which could explain Deadline Hollywood’s phrasing.

In any event, whatever movie comes up next was plotted before Raimi’s departure with the possibility that Raimi could have directed it as part of the current franchise — meaning whatever it is, it’s not an origin story. Still, a soft reboot backing up to tell tales from Peter’s high school days wouldn’t be a bad thing — but it wouldn’t necessarily need to be another origin story.

Posted on January 11, 2010 at 17:02 by Gordon@MovieMakeout · Permalink
In: News

13 Responses

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  1. Written by Faye
    on 2010-01-12 at 00:03

    All reboots do is make it hard for retailers to have logical stores.

    “Oh, that's under I for The Incredible Hulk.”

  2. Written by Lincoln
    on 2010-01-12 at 05:12

    …Didn't we already get the origin story? As in, the first movie? I'm not too excited about this.

  3. Written by Gordon McAlpin
    on 2010-01-12 at 05:14

    It is not going to be an origin story!

  4. Written by Lincoln
    on 2010-01-12 at 05:18

    The article I caught before I checked your blog was this one.
    Makes me nervous. But if it's not an origin story, then I'm ok.

  5. Written by snatreaper
    on 2010-01-12 at 16:38

    I will refer to this as Spider-Man: Brand New Day, and probably skip it for the same reasons I now longer acknowledge the Spider-man books.

  6. Written by Gordon McAlpin
    on 2010-01-12 at 16:40

    Because Spider-Man 3 was so good?

  7. Written by molnek
    on 2010-01-13 at 12:53

    We're going down, down, down to Mephisto's cafe. I just don't want to see them turn this into a highschool thing, the kids already have a TV show and a comic for that specifically and all we have is sad bachelor Peter with an angry roomate and a cushy job his surrogate father figure got him. Let's have a movie with and adult hero who just has wit and some bad luck.

  8. Written by Gordon McAlpin
    on 2010-01-13 at 15:57

    I've seen this sentiment elsewhere, and I don't get it.

    In the comics, Spider-Man WAS a high school student for, what, the first 50 issues? In the first film, they just jumped past all that and stuck him in college because Tobey Maguire was too freakin old, I guess.
    Part of the really great thing about those issues was that Peter was a high school kid with some grown-up problems: trying to help pay the mortgage (or rent) on Aunt May's house with his photography, etc.

    (I highly recommend the first 4 or 5 Essential Amazing Spider-Man collections. The Ditko stuff, through the John Romita era was all great — if occasionally seriously corny — stuff. My personal favorite art, though, was when Gil Kane was inked by Romita.)

  9. Written by Simon
    on 2010-01-13 at 19:08

    I've got to agree with you on that. Back when the Sun-Times was reprinting the originals I had a blast going through them. That's why I ended up liking Ultimate Spiderman so much. Teenage spiderman is how he started out, and I see no reason for them not to bring it back.

    Though I certainly hope they don't try and turn it into Twilight for guys. That could suck.

  10. Written by molnek
    on 2010-01-13 at 19:56

    See that's my greatest fear and why we should stay clear of the high school stuff. I have read every issue of Amazing and I've always enjoyed Peter after high school where he gained some backbone and wasn't just puny parker. Despite some of those issues having a villainous baseball pitcher and Paste Pot Pete.

  11. Written by Gordon McAlpin
    on 2010-01-13 at 20:04

    I guess I can see that, but I'd like to think the arc of him gaining some backbone would make for a good two (maybe three) movies, and then the new actor will be too old to play a high school kid, too.

  12. Written by snatreaper
    on 2010-01-16 at 20:08

    Most of the bad parts of Spider-Man 3 (anything revolving around Venom) was forced on Raimi by the Studio. If Raimi is now off the project so that the studio (and Avi Arad) has more control, then it will suck more. Nuff said! See the theatrical release of Daredevil (versus the Director's Cut) as more evidence.

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