Nikki Finke dropped a goblin bomb on Friday in her Deadline Hollywood column. According to her sources director Sam Raimi and leading man Tobey Maguire are signed to return to the franchise that made them great and film 'Spider-Man 4'.
The movie will utilize 'Zodiac' writer James Vanderbilt's screenplay.
The news reaches Finke just weeks after she'd heard Sony was shopping around for a new star, since Tobey was apparently playing hard to get.
The above info was subsequently corroborated by The Hollywood Reporter which also reports that the studio is contemplating shooting 4 and 5 back-to-back, which may relieve many fans who felt that the over-stuffed third film should have been told over two installments. From the studio standpoint it's all about managing costs.
The Reporter's account refutes the idea that Sony was shopping replacements for Peter Parker however.
"The studio never considered any other actor. Tobey was our only choice and the only person we've discussed the role with," Sony spokesman Steve Elzer said.
Principle photography is slated for fall of 2009, plenty of time to hit the May 2011 deadline. Finke says the studio is keeping the villain and the casting thereof quiet, with insiders telling her "once you find out who the villain is, you'll know who's playing it.". Presumably this means that it's someone we've already seen in th previous movies.
Fans know that Dylan Baker has been present as Dr. Curt Conners, who later becomes The Lizard, a classic Spidey villain that would appeal to Raimi's sensibilities. Of course, actor Daniel Gillies also appeared as John Jameson, who transforms into the Man-Wolf in 'Amazing Spider-Man' #124. That would be a less classic choice and it's hard to imagine either character carrying the emotional weight of the movie's first two villains.
Let's not rule out a return by Willem Dafoe either. Norman Osborn has been ressurected in the comics, so why not on film as well?
And hey, is it too far-fetched to imagine some version of the clone saga happening with Tobey in a dual (quadrupal) role? Yes...yes we hope it is too far-fetched.
Kirsten Dunst is not signed at this point but Mary Jane is in the script and Finke's sources say the role will not be recast.
Post your own villain speculation in the comments below!