Sony Pictures’ long-term plans for its blockbuster Spider-Man franchise have been getting bigger with each week that brings us a new image, trailer, or poster for their upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Last week alone we were treated to a new banner poster and first trailer that revealed Marvel Comics’ classic arachnid-powered superhero (Andrew Garfield) would be taking on at least three new villains in Electro (Jamie Foxx), the Rhino (Paul Giamatti), and most unexpectedly Spidey’s old friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) suiting up as either the Green Goblin or a Goblin-like baddie of some variation. Early reports indicated that the events of Amazing Spider-Man 2 would be setting up the first appearance of the super-villain collective the Sinister Six in a future sequel.
Just a few days before Thanksgiving, Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal revealed that plans were afoot for spin-off movies based around the Spider-Man universe. Today, the studio has announced that it will be developing solo features starring not only the Sinister Six but another beloved Spidey adversary, Venom, with Amazing Spider-Man 2 screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Jeff Pinkner as well as Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure/Men in Black scribe Ed Solomon and Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard.
Goddard, who is also currently acting as showrunner for Marvel Studios’ Daredevil TV series being made for Netflix, will write and potentially direct the Sinister Six movie, while Kurtzman, Orci, and Solomon (who was one of the uncredited writers on the first Bryan Singer-directed X-Men feature) will collaborate on the Venom movie with Kurtzman likely to direct. The projects are being developed with the participation of producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach along with Marc Webb, director of both The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel being released at the beginning of next summer.
“The Spider-Man film franchise is one of our studio’s greatest assets”, said Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgard in a press release, “We are thrilled with the creative team we have assembled to delve more deeply into the world that Marc, Avi and Matt have begun to explore in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. We believe that Marc, Alex, and Drew have uniquely exciting visions for how to expand the Spider-Man universe in each of these upcoming films.”
This is the first we have heard of the possibility of a standalone Sinister Six film, but a solo Venom film has been in the works with directors such as Gary Ross (Pleasantville, The Hunger Games) and Josh Trank (Chronicle, Fox’s summer 2015 Fantastic Four reboot) attached at different stages of development.
Kurtzman, Orci, and Pinkner will also be returning for scripting duties on The Amazing Spider-Man 3, currently penciled in for a 2016 release. Series star Garfield announced recently that his contract with the franchise is up after the third movie and he has yet to sign on for future sequels. Rumors have been floating around that a fourth movie, which could open in 2018, could focus primarily on the supporting characters in the vast Spider-Man universe and reduce Spidey himself to a minor role. This could all change if Garfield decides to renegotiate his contract, but heaven help the child if he starts thinking the franchise can’t go on without him. Superheroes are bigger than movie stars and that’s the way it will always be.
The character of Venom has never held much interest for me, but a Sinister Six movie could be The Avengers of large-scale villainy. It all depends on Sony’s strategy for their main Spider-Man series working out effectively rather than coming across as a flop sweat-drenched pale imitation of the Marvel Studios plan.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will begin tearing up the big screen starting May 2, 2014.