It looks like Sony is more serious than we thought about pressing ahead with their mega-bucks Spiderman franchise, whether Tobey, Kirsten, or Sam decide to return or not. Variety is reporting this morning that after seeing the first cut of Spiderman 3, Columbia execs have immediately conducted a sit-down with scribe David Koepp about penning the next installment. If Koepp, who is also in the news lately for having turned in an accepted draft for the next installment in the Indiana Jones series, does sign on to the project, he will presumably replace Alvin Sargent, who wrote Spiderman 2 and Spiderman 3. Koepp of course, was the man responsible for writing the first Spiderman, way back in 2002, as well as other giant-budget pieces like War of the Worlds, Jurassic Park and Mission: Impossible. Variety also reports that Columbia would plan on dropping the film in theaters sometime in 2009 or 2010.

The piece also notes the obvious -- that bringing together the entire team for another round of Spidey might be outrageously expensive. Dunst has publicly gone on record as being less than over-the-moon about doing more Spiderman films, and similar noise has come from the camps of some of the other major players. Columbia might just decide that this is the time for a fresh start.