Sony has confirmed that Marc Webb, the director of the first and second Amazing Spider-Man films, will return for a third, according to Variety. Sony also confirmed its tentative plans to have a Spider-Man universe release in theaters each year, with spin-offs like the tentatively named Venom and The Sinister Six filling the gaps between the primary Spidey outings.
Webb is currently putting the finishing touches on The Amazing Spider-Man 2, starring Andrew Garfield and Jamie Foxx, which hits theaters on May 2, 2014. Sony has set the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 3 for June 2016 (although that might change), which means Webb will likely have to start work on it shortly after the release of the second film. That shouldn’t be too much of an issue for the director though; the first and second releases were also separated by a two-year gap.
The news isn’t a huge surprise, as Webb has been instrumental in rebooting Spider-Man. He helped map out the new storyline that will carry through at least four films. That alone isn’t enough to guarantee a return gig for most directors though. For Sony to go ahead and confirm Webb’s continuing involvement months before the release of the second film shows a lot of confidence in both the coming release and its director.
The report also quotes Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal, who gave a tentative road map of the movie franchise’s future.
“We are expanding the ‘Spider-Man’ universe into ‘The Sinister Six’ and ‘Venom,’ so that we have ‘Spider-Man’ movies every year,” Pascal said.
It isn’t clear which comes first, but there’s a good chance it may be Venom. Sony hired current Amazing Spider-Man scribes Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci to write the film with Ed Solomon, and Kurtzman is set to direct. The other film, The Sinister Six, will be written and possibly directed by Drew Goddard. The Cabin in the Woods director is currently a very busy man though, as he’s currently serving as the executive producer and showrunner for the upcoming Daredevil series, which will appear on Netflix in 2015.
If Sony does intend to put out a Spider-Man-related film each year, it would almost certainly need to wait until The Amazing Spider-Man 3 arrives in 2016 to kick off the annual releases. Both Venom and The Sinister Six are far too early in the development phase to even consider the possibility that they’ll be ready for a 2015 release. If Goddard is busy overseeing Daredevil into 2015, that would likely put Venom forward first, which could mean we’ll see that film in 2017, The Amazing Spider-Man 4 in 2018 (assuming the two-year gap remains consistent), and then The Sinister Six in 2019. There hasn’t been any hint at a fifth Spider-Man film yet, and 2020 is several years off, but after putting this much effort into mining the Spider-Man property, the studio is unlikely to just let it fade away.