Reports are coming in from Nikki Finke and her new man-about-NYC Mike Fleming at Deadline that Spider-Man 4, as we know it now, is dead in the water. The studio (Sony) has apparently decided to scrap the project and look forward to a potential franchise reboot after director Sam Raimi pulled out of the project, citing that he would not be able to meet the film’s summer release date and maintain the film’s creative integrity.
This means that both Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire are out.
Instead, Fleming reports that “the studio will focus on a reboot script by Jamie Vanderbilt with a new director and a new cast.” Sony will now look to someone new to guide the Spidey franchise, but no word yet as to who that might be. Raimi will move on to one of the many projects he has lined up, including possibly World of Warcraft.
This comes as a great surprise to everyone off the Sony lot, as we’ve been talking about Spider-Man 4 for quite some time. But in recent weeks, the production has hit more than one bump in the road. There were talks of script problems, conflicting reports about villains and other creative quarrels inside the production. Actors were in talks, but awaiting a script. New writers were brought on, then discarded. Now it seems more than likely that these problems built to a boiling point, causing Sam Raimi to decide that he needed more time. And Sony didn’t want to give him that time.
An interesting road lies ahead, as the studio clearly wants to continue making Spider-Man movies. But without Raimi, they could take on an entirely different tone. We in the press will spend the next several years (I’m sure) speculating as to what that tone will be. Should make for an interesting journey…