We've known for some time that Sam Raimi had brought in Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst for yet another sequel to his Spider-Man franchise. However, Variety is now reporting that Sony has brought in screenwriter James Vanderbilt to pen what would be the FIFTH and SIXTH Spider-Man films.
That, however is not the most notable tidbit of news with this situation. Things seem to be pointing in the direction that Sony is entertaining the possibility of Vanderbilt's films being the first of a franchise reboot for Spidey.
Bringing merit to this rumor, are a few things:
First, is the fact that (while they obviously cannot play these characters forever), Maguire and Dunst are not confirmed for any wall-crawling project beyond the upcoming Spider-Man 4. Also, the plans of director, Sam Raimi may have revealed themselves with the news that he will direct the feature film adaptation of World of Warcraft. (And while it may not be a comedy, I will be disappointed if there are no "Leeroy" references.)
Secondly, James Vanderbilt was initially hired by Sony to pen the Spider-Man 4 script. However, Sam Raimi was apparently not satisfied with it, and used his directorial clout to have it re-written by David Lindsay-Abaire. (In a move that may have rubbed Sony the wrong way.) The fact that Sony has brought Vanderbilt back to the table, seems to imply that Raimi will not be a factor in those fifth and sixth films.
I think I speak for fans everywhere when I say, "REBOOT, PLEASE." Let's move forward and get something more conducive to the atmosphere of the current Marvel films that Paramount is putting out there. Make a stronger story, work out some deals, and get some crossover potential. Sure, Raimi's films had their strong points (Spider-Man 2 will always be a great film in its own right), however, with Spider-Man 3, the franchise made the critical mistake of trying to wrap-up its storylines into a neat little package, when there was just too much going on. They may have gotten away with it in the first two films, but "screwing up Venom" might as well be the broken 11th Commandment.
A new Spidey franchise that is structured to be told in a serial manner, with villains that are a bit more faithful to source material (while obviously injecting some modern aesthetic sensibilities) will practically make itself. So, NO Green Goblin in metal gimp suits, NO cheap attempts to garner sympathy towards supervillains with sick daughters, and NO supervillain deaths (at least not in the first film.)
Want to make it right? Peter needs to fall in love with, and eventually lose Gwen Stacy BEFORE he gets with Mary-Jane. (Anything otherwise would be sacrilege.) Eddie Brock needs to be established as a professional rival of Peter's before we even think about Venom. Also, Harry Osborne's struggles with drug addiction (which changed the face of comics in the early 70's) needs to be documented in more detail. I could go on...