After all the rumors and speculation about Sam Raimi not liking the script for Spider-Man 4, and his needing to push the prime summer blockbuster release date, the house of cards has finally fallen: Spider-Man 4 has been shut down by Sony.
Director Raimi is not going to be replaced. Rather, the entire Spider-Man franchise is getting rebooted. That's right: Raimi is gone, Tobey Maguire is no longer Spider-Man, and the franchise as we know it is finished. Mike Fleming of Deadline Hollywood broke the story:
My sources tell me that Raimi told Sony Pictures: "I can't make your date. I can't go forward creatively." And, so, once he said "That's it," Sony Pictures co-chairman Pascal and Columbia Pictures' Matt Tolmach decided they didn't want to replace him and instead chose to reboot the franchise.
The rest of the cast from the first three Spider-Man films is also out. The new script is being written by Jamie Vanderbilt, the guy who wrote the forthcoming The Losers, as well as Zodiac.
What say you? Is this too much to take in one day? Is it a tragedy that Raimi's franchise had to end with Spider-Man 3, profitable though it was? Who do you hope helms the new franchise? Anyone in mind for the new Spider-Man? James McAvoy, start dusting off your headshots!
It's hard to say at this point whether or not this is a good thing, though there weren't too many people looking forward to seeing the Vulture in Spider-Man 4, John Malkovich notwithstanding.
It's kind of sad, though, to think that we're never going to see Tobey Maguire suit up as Spider-Man again, as he's come to embody Peter Parker in popular culture. That said -- I don't think anyone's going to shed any tears over Kirsten Dunst never playing Mary Jane Watson again.
Talk about a crazy day for Spider-Man news! Here is a snippet of Sony's press release:
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.
Source: Columbia Pictures