Shortly before the holidays, IESB reported that production on Spider-Man 4 had grounded to a halt due to problems with the story. Essentially, Sam Raimi wants Vulture to be the main baddie in the sequel, but Sony wants any villain but Vulture. Not long after that news broke -- along with word that the title being used in-house was Spider-M4N -- MTV spoke with Sony who blasted the rumor and claimed production offices were closed because of the holidays.

Well, the holidays are over now ... so that means the production offices are back open, right? Wrong ... according to Nikki Finke over at Deadline Hollywood. Without crediting IESB (though Nikki never credits anyone, so that's not a shocker), she says (via her own sources) that production is most certainly being pushed back and there's a very good chance part four won't make its original release date of May 11, 2011, which is a big deal since Spidey has owned that early May start since the Raimi series began.

The main problem continues to be the script, though Finke doesn't mention any specifics except to say that Sony chief Amy Pascal refuses to move ahead without a completed script. The quote Finke uses is, "But I'm not going to start a movie where the script isn't right yet. Not unless I want my career to be over." So, yeah, obviously all the bad mouthing of Spider-Man 3 is why the studio is playing it ridiculously tight story-wise, and I'm just afraid all the suits who think they know what the fans want will actually play a critical role in ultimately ruining this franchise.

My opinion: Trust Sam Raimi. Let him do his thing.

What do you think?