When Marc Webb began adding jaw-droppingly awesome character actors like Paul Giamatti, Chris Cooper, Colm Feore and Jamie Foxx to an Amazing Spider-Man ensemble that already included the likes of Sally Field, Denis Leary and Martin Sheen (in a promised flashback) – as well as up-and-coming megastars in Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Shailene Woodley – I speculated that Sony was planning for something much bigger than a simple, stand-alone sequel in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
As it turns out, I was on the right track.
Locking up dates for subsequent sequels, Sony today revealed that The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4 will reach theaters on June 10, 2016 and May 4, 2018, respectively. That means that we’ve got guaranteed Spider-Man plans for the next five years, beginning with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on May 2, 2014, which kicks off next year’s summer blockbuster season.
What does this mean?
I think it means that Sony is mapping out a massive Spider-Man universe that’s in line with – if not quite as big as – Marvel’s The Avengers, with various characters weaving in and out of storylines but no real push for closure or overkill, which Sam Raimi did in Spider-Man 3. Sony not only locked up key dates for future sequels – they’ve bought time to develop important characters in Peter Parker’s life.
Here’s what we basically think we know. The Rhino (Paul Giamatti) and Electro (Jamie Foxx) will be the main antagonists in Spider-Man 2, with Norman Osborn (Cooper) lurking in the background. We believe that Oscorp will be responsible for the creation of Rhino and Electro – much the same way that experiments at the company created the Lizard (Rhys Ifans) in the initial movie. And we have heard rumors that these characters won’t necessarily have to die in the immediate sequels (as has often been the case) because Sony might be building to the inclusion of the Sinister Six.
What’s interesting is that we’ve kind of been thinking of Webb’s current story as a trilogy, as in, “Gwen might die in part two, leading to a massive Green Goblin fight in part three.” But with Sony blatantly stepping out and saying it is planning on parts three and four, Webb doesn’t have to sprint through major beats in Parker’s emotional development. Fans now have time to get comfortable in this world, which is amazing, because Webb has done a brilliant job of creating a lived-in New York City that feels like an exact replica of the universe Lee and Ditko created back in the character’s heyday. I left The Amazing Spider-Man begging to spend as much time as possible in this fantastic Spider-Man environment, and I’m ecstatic that Sony’s trusting in Spider-Man to develop and appreciate this world.
So what do we think we’re going to see? The emergence of the Green Goblin; the death of Gwen Stacy (Stone); a love affair with Mary Jane Watson (Woodley); and a massive Sinister Six battle all seem possible. More than anything, though, this news solidifies the reason why such amazing actors were cast for a superhero franchise, and now we know that Sony has long-term plans for an impressive ensemble, and long-range plans for what’s shaping up to be a tremendous superhero series.
The Amazing Spider-Man will be in theaters on May 2, 2014… and it will be the beginning of amazing Spider-Man movies for the next five years. Excelsior!