In my last post about the troubles of "Spider-Man 4," I mentioned how there were brewings of a reboot of the "Spider-Man" franchise in the works due to problems between the studio and Sam Raimi.
That reboot is now official as Raimi and Tobey Maguire have left the project.
Nikki Finke and Mike Fleming at Deadline Hollywood have confirmed that the cast and director have pulled out entirely and Sony will instead go the route of the reboot with Jamie Vanderbilt’s script.
Raimi was promised creative control over the next film installment after being somewhat of a puppet for the studio on villain selection in "Spider-Man 3." Problems arose between Raimi and Sony about the selection for the villain in "Spider-Man 4" as well and the creative control promise seemed to have disappeared entirely.
According to Finke and Fleming’s sources, Raimi told Sony that he cannot make their scheduled release date. The heads of Sony Pictures and Columbia Pictures were not fond of the idea of waiting to replace the director, so they will instead reboot the franchise all together.
When Marvel Studios moved "Thor" into "Spider-Man 4"’s key release date at the opening weekend of summer 2011, we knew "Spider-Man 4" was officially on the move, but it’s a little surprising to see that turn into a full blown cleansing of the slate so to speak.
The studio later confirmed the report in an official announcement (posted in full below) that, along with outlining plans to start over with a teenage Peter Parker, indicated that a new "Spider-Man" movie was still planned for 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," reported the studio. "Peter Parker is going back to high school when the next Spider-Man hits theaters in the summer of 2012."
The James Vanderbilt script that they are using is one that will re-tell the origin story of Spidey. This new chapter in the "Spider-Man" franchise will have an entirely new cast and filmmaking team.
Vanderbilt had written the first draft of "Spider-Man 4" but Raimi hadn't embraced his ideas and the studio instead asked the writer to turn them into "Spider-Man 5 and 6," which would probably have served as a reboot of the series. That plan has now been brought forward, with Vanderbilt's ideas becoming the fourth film instead.
"I am so proud of what we accomplished with the Spider-Man franchise over the last decade," Tobey Maguire said. "Beyond the films themselves, I have formed some deep and lasting friendships. I am excited to see the next chapter unfold in this incredible story."
"Working on the Spider-Man movies was the experience of a lifetime for me," Raimi said. "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."
Matt Tolmach, president of Columbia Pictures, said: "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.
"Now everything begins anew, and that's got us all tremendously excited about what comes next. 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."
EW's Nicole Sperling even brought up "Batman Begins" as an example to describe how the studio is "interested in a more gritty, contemporary redo of the series." A few directorial candidates are tossed around such as "(500) Day of Summer" helmer Marc Webb, "Seabiscuit" director Gary Ross and even Michael Bay (X_x).
While director possibilities are being put out there, Movieline took advantage of the news by posting a list of nine possible actors to take over the role of Peter Parker less than two hours after reporting on the fourth film's demise. Among the names mentioned are Logan Lerman, Zac Efron (X_x), Michael Cera and Daniel Radcliffe.
Everyone ready to learn about how Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man again…
I hear it has something to do with a spider…
But just because it's a reboot doesn't mean it has to be an origin tale! An ideal reboot would be to return to Peter Parker's high school days, with him already established as the wall-crawler, and simply tell a great "Spider-Man" story from that point forward.
Does this news break your heart or make you cry for joy? What do you want to see from the reboot? What will you miss most from Raimi's involvement in the franchise? For me...it's the Bruce Campbell cameos.
More news to come! Catch ya' later!
Sources: First Showing (1,2), Rope of Silicon (1,2), Screen Rant, Latino Review, MTV News, USA Today, The Geek Files
Full text of the "Spider-Man" movie statement follows:
Spider-Man: Summer 2012
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. 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.