EDITORIALS

Sony Rehires James Vanderbilt to Write Spider-Man 5 and 6

by
August 16, 2009

Spider-Man - James Vanderbilt

Web-heads young and old, rejoice. We'll be seeing a lot of our friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man on the big screen in the years to come. Now, as for the details of who, what, and when - the web thickens. Just as Sony is ready to launch Spider-Man 4 (set for a 2011 release) with Sam Raimi, Tobey Maguire, and Kirsten Dunst all on-board once again, they've hired a writer to start work on Spider-Man 5 and 6, according to Variety. James Vanderbilt, of The Losers and David Fincher's Zodiac, will write an over-arching storyline that will extend from the fifth movie into the sixth - which might mean both films could even be shot back-to-back.

There's no word yet on exactly what Vanderbilt's story arc will contain, or if Raimi or the original cast will return to reprise their roles. Now, Vanderbilt isn't new to the Spider-Man universe, as he wrote the first draft of Spider-Man 4. Many of his original ideas will be seen on-screen come 2011; Raimi and Vanderbilt failed to see eye-to-eye, so David Lindsay-Abaire was brought on to rewrite Vanderbilt, which then led to Gary Ross, who is rewriting the whole thing yet again. In fact, this interconnected storyline was supposed to be a part of 4 and 5, but that idea was scrapped as shooting back-to-back was apparently out of the question.

By forcing the fifth and sixth movies to be shot in succession, Sony is hoping to pump out more Spider-Man films more frequently. As the interim periods have extended from two years to three to four between each franchise installment, Sony hopes to capitalize on the web slinger as often as possible with Vanderbilt's help. But here's the real kicker. Should Raimi, Maguire, and Dunst not want to continue their established roles, Spider-Man 5 will be treated as "the blueprint for a franchise reboot." I know a lot of you are probably seething through clenched jaws and grinding your molars to dust - but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't smiling.

Though I can appreciate the Spider-Man franchise's strengths (by that, I'm talking Spider-Man 1 and especially Spider-Man 2), I've never been a huge fan of what the main creators and cast have brought to the cinematic adaptation of my favorite comic book hero. Tobey Maguire never, ever felt like Peter Parker. And he was no Spider-Man that I recognized (except maybe the Spider-Man in the recent abysmal Brand New Day arc). Kirsten Dunst plays a fine Mary Jane - but she never knocked my costume off like I feel she should have. And while I'm an enormous fan of Sam Raimi's campy horror films (of both past and present), that sensibility never gelled with Spider-Man the way I hoped (and have continued to hope for).

Not to mention it's no secret that the main cast and crew have had their fair share of squabbles creatively. And, for that matter, now that this news has hit - I'm not sure just how excited I am for Spider-Man 4. Originally, Raimi, Maguire, and Dunst weren't even going to return. And with a script now passing through its third writer - I'm thinking we'll be seeing a lot of that discontent on screen. But who knows, maybe because this is their last shot, Raimi et al. will pull out all the stops and send this quadrilogy out with a bang. It could happen, I suppose.

Regardless, my mind is whirring at the mere notion that a new face will be behind those arachnid eyes and those eyes will be behind a fresh pair of taped-up glasses. There's so many directions this reboot could go. Will they incorporate Spider-Man's conception and Parker's most iconic moment of power versus responsibility? Will Peter Parker be in high school again, perhaps a younger take on the hero and a juxtaposition of his transformation as hero as well as a teenage boy raging with hormones (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as filtered through Brian Michael Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man)?

Will they flash forward and welcome us into a more experienced and established Spider-Man universe? A universe (like J. Michael Straczynski's run from #471 to #545) where Mary Jane and Peter Parker are a more mature couple, where Spider-Man has been in the hero profession for a while, yet still struggles to relate to today's youth. As of yet, this is all speculation. And, I'm guessing, will remain as such for a couple of years. Perhaps Vanderbilt's reboot of Sony's Spider-Man franchise will finally provide me the Spider-Man that I know and love from the panels of my Wednesday comics. And - just to get this out there - please, please, please consider Joseph Gordon-Levitt for the role. That's a casting change I can swing behind.

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  • Tra la la la la di da
    KILL OFF MJ ALREADY!!!
  • eric estrada
    I agree with number one. I do not like Dunst's as MJ at all. She just seems pathetic to me. As for Tobe as peter parker, i really liked him in the first movie but from then on he just seemed like he didn't put as much effort into it. I never liked sam raimi directing these movies from the beginning. I recognize all his signature zooms and angles to much.
  • SC
    I honestly think i would cry if JGL were to play Peter Parker.....he would bring soooooo much to the character and represent our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man in a way we have all wanted since he first swung into our lives on the silver screen.
  • Xerxex
    thats true SC he would, maybe this will redeem the serious after Spiderman 3?
  • eli
    Kill off MJ! Then reboot the series.
  • cregso
    spiderman 3 sucked balls!!! they had a chance to make a wicked flick with venom and they dropped the ball big time!! they need to get the thumb out fo their asses and deliver a good spidey film!!
  • F.C.
    oh god, kill me now... as if the first three didn't suck already, now there are new 3 movies??? tobey as spiderman was a horrible choice in the first place and they just dragged and dragged it... i don't even want to talk about Spidey3 with "emo" Peter Parker! Why couldn't they just make a movie like the SpiderMan cartoons in the 90s when PeterParker wasn't a pathetic loser but was much more cooler than Tobey's Spidey could ever get! (and they also should stop making the movie for the childen!) and yes, if they are about to reboot the series with a whole new cast, please do consider JGL! he'd be an amazing choice
  • Ben Parker
    Reboot, change the entire cast and crew, kill off Gwen Stacy (as it should have happened) and bring someone who can give MJ justice. Give us what we deserve.. can't take this anymore!!
  • Atrum
    I don't know about Gordon-Levitt, though I see how great it would be the more I think about it, but for a young Spider-Man, I'd have to go with Kyle Sullivan. Give him contacts and make him more fit and he'd be exactly what I saw in Ultimate Spider-Man. Am I right?!
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
    #7 - Man come on, the first two were GREAT! Unlike Brandon (who wrote up this article), I loved the first two Spider-Man movies. I think Raimi was a great director for them. And you can't go around saying that just because the 3rd one "sucked" (or rather, wasn't as good as the first two) that the entire first trilogy was bad! Sure there are others like Brandon who just hate the big screen version of Spider-Man, but really, just because the 3rd one wasn't the greatest doesn't mean the rest sucked. As long as Raimi gets "back to his roots" (meaning, the first two) and gets a great script, then maybe this 4th (plus 5th & 6th) one will kick the ass of that 3rd one (Venom included)!
  • SwampDonkey
    I don't care if Mr Ed plays spiderman I think its safe to say we all have a background idea of what peter parkers psyche is all about. Enough about spiderman, to get me interested, or, so to say," fuel the fire ( that was for u alex ) spiderman needs a villain. Let's find spidermans Joker. Hmmmmm. Should I go any further. CARNAGE! It would be too much to ask for the "true" carnage because the chances of a rated R spiderman movie are slim to none. Got a better chance of seeing Jared fron Subway in a hot dog eating contest. But any Carnage is better than none. Til then I guess ill just wait for District 10. Peace.
  • http://www.andreascliment.com Andreas Climent
    I love the first two Spider-man movies, but it's time for something new and I was really disappointed when I heard that Raimi had someone rewrite Vanderbilt's draft. Not looking forward to Spidey 4 too much, but Vanderbilt's 5 and 6 should be cool!
  • Hatori Hanzo
    There are two sides to the Spiderman movie camp that need to be considered for future movies; The fist camp consists of all of us who thoroughly enjoyed #1 and #2 and supported #3 even though we had to hold our noses to do so. The second camp are the die hard's like me who have been huge life long Spiderman fans who while enjoyed the first round were waiting and hoping for that big breakout moment that I in particular thought would come in #3 and were disappointed. Now, every since #3 and news broke that there would be at least 3 more coming, my feeling has been to not reboot but let them lie as is and have them as the story of a young Spiderman and then continue on with three more as a Spiderman around age 28-30. Bring in new actors to play Spiderman and Mary Jane who look close enough to Maguire and Dunst to pass as older versions and then go into the darker Spiderman. That way, you can have six movies that can basically all flow together as one unit. Rebooting the series as if the first three never existed would be a mistake. Marvel has the creative talent and loyal fan support to make this work. But whatever they decide, no more bloody Goblin shit!
  • MajesticXIII
    Spider-man without Todd McFarlane's vision on the story-character-design level, is Spider-man no more. All the rest is cheap and cheesy attempts to make something look like something that is not. When nobody in the production team fathoms what was so special and unique about McFarlane's run on Spider-man, all they will ever accomplish is to make more stupid, childish Spider-man movies until the end of the world..or better still, until Green Goblin is dead..sorry strike that out..nobody dies in the Marvel Universe forever..so Green Goblin it is in each film from now on, 10 more villains in each film also and Peter Parker with his everlasting psychological problems. If i wanted to see a film about retards i definitely prefer "Simple Jack".
  • Sumit
    I would love Raimi to return but get rid of Maguire & Dunst and model it on the fantastic Spectacular Spider-Man animated series set in high school.
  • zetsu
    reboot the series why because it needs a new cast & director 1. toby maguire needs to be replaced i don't know who this jgl bloke is,what has he starred in ?2.kirsten dunst mary jane is meant to be an a attractive model 3.sam raimi, spider-man= enjoyed the 1st half,the green goblin meant to have a rubber mask not a suit of armour so he take on iron man.2.spider-man 2=pretty good superhero flick.3.spider-man 3 =you fucked up,sandman didn't shoot spidey's uncle,venom was a bag of shit the only good thing to come out of spider-man 3 was me leaving the cinema(no only joking) intro the black costume & the venom transfomation scene in the church.marvel need to get this franchise back into there hands along with the x-men & the fantastic four universes and do what they are doing with the avengers & that is to create a universe where they all exist.
  • Quanah
    Personally, I don't think 3 more Spiderman films can hold the public's interest in the same way the first 3 did (Or, should I say the first 2). This is just another example of Hollywood taking it too far. Sam, walk away please. You're more creative then getting stuck on this one character.
  • http://www.firstshowing.net me
    #10 and #11 I agree( I'm surely in minority ). Put back the original cast and continue the story from Spiderman 3. Carnage is the best villain choice( from my point of view ) for the 4th or 5th or 6th movie.
  • Cat
    Is this good or bad?
  • S
    You actually want an Ultimates universe Spider-Man movie. WTF? I don't know how you can call yourself a Spider fan!
  • Spider94
    first spiderman was kool,second was awsome,third killed the whole entire series off. right now seeing the way they screwed up Venom in sm3,the same thing is gonna happen to Carnage!!!!!!!!!! and that sandman crap with him shooting his uncle was stupid enough to kill more spiderman films IT WAS THE FRIGGIN ROBBER THAT KILLED HIM IT WAS ALREADY WROTE DOWN AS THE ROBBER IN SPIDERMAN HISTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! kick sam off the project,kill off mj and put a flashback with her getting hit by a truck the next good villian to use is the lizard and either the shocker or electro
  • Django
    KRAVENS. LAST. HUNT. It's the only other interesting character arc in Spidey's universe. (b/c THAT was the strength of the first 2 films. Villains w/ something great actors could WORK with. GREAT VILLAINS make these movies. Carnage? Please.) Anyone who knocks me should read that book first. You'll see how right I am. And it provides an excellent opportunity literally "Bring Spidey Back from the Dead".
  • Blue & Orange NY
    this is HORRIBLE NEWS.......to make up for it, the Comic Gods please do a miracle and have our next article say MARVEL to take back their Franchise Player, Spidey then I'll be excited this shit only means MARVEL won't run shit for years to come
  • GM
    #16 is right... who the fuck is this levitt guy... I've never seen him in a movie?
  • Sabes
    I actually liked Tobey as Spiderman. >.> Dunst as MJ was just horrible though. I think the first two movies were great, but 3 more now? Aren't they getting a little ahead of themselves? Instead of shitting out 3 more movies, try concentrating on one at a time. And put effort into making it a great movie.
  • Ezza
    If they create a SM4 then I hope they go back to the nuts and bolts of what made SM a great movie and that is a superhero against bad guys or monsters. I am totally over the concept of MJ's bitching over not seeing her boyfriend and Toby's eyes welling up for his long lost love MJ! If SM4 ends up as another sooky love story I'll end up running out of the cinema in a vomit fit. SM3 was a box office success because everyone had high hopes from the success of SM1 and 2. I think if we all had some concept of what SM3 was going to be about then most people wouldn't have gone. I loved MJ in the 1st movie, the 2nd she became a little annoying and in the 3rd she was an outright pain in the ass! Obviously common sense went down the toilet when SM3 was being made. I think SM4 needs to have a darker feel to it and a MUCH, MUCH LESS focus on MJ and SM relationship. The audience will be looking at SM4 with a much bigger expectation to criticize and will not be forgiving if they stuff it up. If SM4 goes on the same formula as SM3, then they can forget making SM5 and 6, because all you are going to hear are Crickets chirping away in the cinema. Maybe they can rename SM3 as "The Tales Of MJ and her wall crawling boyfriend SM (Cameo Appearance Only). Hopefully the idiots in Hollywood will read this and get the hint.
  • jcyo
    I always thought that Sony would just make 4 and 5 and never make 6 so they could keep the rights to Spiderman and not let Marvel(?) get them and start making more movies.
  • Trey
    all super hero movies should take a page fron Dark Knight...if its not dark then its pointless and forgettable!!
  • Ro
    #28 are you forgetting about iron man and the original supermans...i loved the dark knight but if all super hero films were dark it would be a mighty boring world!! admitadly a small bit more darkness in the spiderman franchise would not go astray though! they really have no excuse for spidey4...they need to get their shit together in a major way after the disappointment of no.3....a good script thats reverant to the comics (no more sandman killin spideys uncle tank you very much!!) god knows theres enough decent material to work with from the comics...sumone said kravens last hunt which would be great but its hard to see happening! ders also villians like carnage,electro,mysterio,kingpin any of which wud do the trick! the studio really have to put the story before the money this time and let raimi get on with his job and i believe he can bring us a spidey we wil all enjoy! not overly happy with maguire and dunst returning but i stil believe they can do a good job if given the material to work with..they did ok in 1 and 2 in my opinion! heres hopin for a great spidey4!!
  • jasonmd2020
    Sony, for the love of F#$%ING GOD, back off the creative end of this hand it over to Marvel Studios to write, develop & make the damn thing, and just work a distribution deal. You had your chance. 3 strikes & out.
  • Fisherr
    Not hyped about the Spiderman Series anymore.
  • David Banner
    Milo Ventimiglia as the new Peter Parker!
  • jfc3po
    #24, Seriously? Joseph Gordon-Levitt was in Brick, The Lookout, Mysterious Skin, 500 Days of Summer, Killshot, He played Cobra Commander in GI JOE (I'm not saying that is a good role by any means), and not to mention, he was the kid in the television show 3rd Rock From the Sun. That being said, I could totally see JGL as Peter Parker. When it comes to villains, Kraven or Carnage.
  • Branden
    JGL would be awesome. Loved him in 500 days and I'm sure he'll be great in Nolan's Inception. I think if anyone attached to Spiderman is thinking about him as Peter, Inception could be his try-out as the main character in a "big" movie.
  • Ray
    FUCK Joseph Gordon-Levitt! What they need to do is make a Hard "R" spider-man!
  • Ray
    Joseph Gordon-Levitt sucks ! What they need to do is make a Hard "R" spider-man!
  • Scott
    5......and....6?!? zomg. =___= lets move on to Deadpool and stuff..
  • jasonmd2020
    Sadly Ray they're NEVER gonna make Spidey a hard "R". Too much money would be lost from the kiddie market.
  • Xerxex
    Levitt is a power house in the acting game...but they won't replace Toby McGuire or Kristen Dunst, they just need a compelling story, not a new villian every new movie, just bring in Carnage and have him continue as the villian for the next three films.
  • Ajax
    IMO, they shouldn't make a fourth one, much less a five & six. Spidey became too whiney and the themes became tired by the third.
  • SS
    Why are people considering this early that Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and Sam Raimi will not be returning for a 5th Spider-Man movie? They are definitely returning for a 4th... and what happens to the 5th will be determined by returns on the 4th movie. Until then, speculation about re-boots and re-casting is grossly premature.
  • branden
    #35 you're an idiot, but Levitt is def NOT a powerhouse by any means...that's just ridiculous.
  • DoomCanoe
    Ok spider man 1 was awesome, 2 sucked and 3 was a catastrophe. That's just my opinion Look even though Venom was the worst thing to happen to the movies (ironically the best thing to happen to the comics) We need him. He is the Anti-Spiderman and always will be the best villain for Spidey to fight. Personally i say leave the series dead, but if you were to change anything just make it the MacDonald Gargan Venom and introduce him at the end of 4 (which i think the main bad guy should be Shocker or The Lizard). Then make Venom the bad guy through out 5 ending with the creation of Carnage. Then for the 6th have mad Spiderman vs Venom vs Carnage the entire movie till the end when Venom and Spiderman team up to destroy Carnage. & I don't know about everyone else but i no longer care about Peter Parker and his problems. I just care about Spiderman and his ass kicking abilities. So please just make this one action packed extravaganza.
  • CS
    Just "Brand New Day" the thing already. Frees you up to have Spider-Man be fun without the constant nagging of Kirsten Dunst (sorry, Mary Jane is supposed to be a fun, vibrant, beautiful model/actress, not whatever it is Dunst does). Sure, it wouldn't solve all the problems Spider-Man 3 introduced into the series, but at least it gets rid of Kirsten Dunst. Man, I really hate her in these movies...
  • Xerxex
    #42 "def not a power house" yeah...gotta disagree on that one, the guy is an extremely gifted actor and is a power house in the indie field, but whats that gotta do with Spiderman? If they go for a reboot he's your guy but how can they? That would be an extremely impossible thing to happen, lets give the actors another chance to redeem spidey for us!
  • Branden
    "the guy is an extremely gifted actor and is a power house in the indie field" When I think of powerhouse actors I think of Crowe, Depp, Pitt, Denzel, etc. Being extremely gifted and popular in the indie world does NOT mean you are a powerhouse actor.
  • keondre poliard
    please hurry up with this movie because i love all the spiderman movies and i cant waite to see 4-5-and 6.

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