The Spider-Man franchise might just be heading down the road for a divorce from Sam Raimi and all his players, if I'm interpreting Variety and its sources right. Sony has "quietly" hired screenwriter James Vanderbilt to pen the fifth and sixth installments of the web-slinger franchise. Nothing wrong with that at all, of course. Vanderbilt has good work to his name, and a superhero franchise could do a lot worse than hiring the Zodiac screenwriter. However, Raimi didn't care for Vanderbilt's take and replaced him with David Lindsay-Abaire. He's currently having Gary Ross rewrite that script. However, Sony / Columbia and Marvel Studios loved Vanderbilt's ideas, in part because they form a big, interconnected storyline. (I can see Marvel all over that, can't you?) In fact, that was the original plan for Spidey films 4 and 5 which were to be shot back to back, but the idea was scrapped.
But here's where things could get really ugly. Raimi, Tobey Maguire, and Kirsten Dunst are reportedly not signed to installments 5 and 6, and with Raimi boarding World of Warcraft, the studio is even more uncertain that he'll return. So Vanderbilt's scripts are being eyed not as sequels but as a blueprint for a franchise "reboot." Obviously, there's no further details on what that would mean beyond a new cast and crew.
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