We're still pretty far from getting any substantive news on Spider-Man 4. However, in a recent interview with Sci-Fi, Director, Sam Raimi talks about a few of the major subjects in play; namely the possible influence of the huge success of The Dark Knight and the status of Kirsten Dunst.
On the possibility of Dunst returning to reprise her role as Mary-Jane Watson, Raimi seems to be optimistic. His words seem to lack the typical Hollywood posturing you usually see towards stars who have abandoned franchises.
"I'm hoping that she is going to come aboard, and I've got a meeting coming up with her. I think she would like to. But I don't want to speak on behalf of her."
On the inevitable question concerning The Dark Knight, Raimi responded:
"I hope we don't react to these very good and sometimes bad superhero movies around us. I hope that we just [look] ever deeper into the truth of who Peter Parker really is—as a human being and the unique character, and that we celebrate that, which is a lot of the reason I want to make this next picture. I still believe I have an understanding of Peter Parker as the character that I have not quite put onto the screen yet."
Raimi goes to say:
"I'm not talking about Tobey Maguire's performance, which I very much love; I'm talking about my understanding of the character. I feel like sometimes a kid at the piano recital. And I know this piece really well. I know it by heart. And I sometimes get it right, and sometimes I don't. But I want a chance to really play it the way I feel it. So I'm hoping it's a really good screenplay and I can express the character through that. I've got a really good writer [David Lindsay-Abaire]"
We can gather from these comments, that Spider-Man 4 is not going to be fazed by the "dark is chic" trend set forth by The Dark Knight (and I guess Watchmen?), but will instead try to delve deeper into a more accessible representation of the Peter Parker character. The fact that Raimi is opting to go with his heart, makes for encouraging news. He also (indirectly) makes another concession about Spider-Man 3 with the "I sometimes get it right and sometimes I don't" comment. Again, this is a good sign that Raimi understands what went wrong with that film, and in turn, understands what this new film NEEDS to become.
We're still without a clue in the villains department, however, I can't imagine that Raimi would go through the trouble of setting up the Dr. Curt Connors character in the previous films and not follow-through with his full realization as legendary Spider-Villain, The Lizard. His presence could definitely accommodate a storyline about being consumed with the temptation to be "normal" and run away from the responsibility of power. (Something Spidey struggled with in Spider-Man 2.) Also, the (very loose) rumor about Morbius: The Living Vampire being featured in the film would also fit nicely into the whole "genetically altered villains" idea. Let's just hope, if we do get multiple villains again, that they don't pull another "Venom" and instead handle the characters respectfully and not in a rushed manner.
With Spider-Man 4 projected for a May, 2011 release, the franchise will return from what will have been a four-year hiatus. Is that too long of a lay-off? Can it recover? Will we still care by then?