When The Amazing Spider-Man hit theaters in July, it was inarguably a hit. Though it didn’t attract the kind of massive box office returns seen by this summer’s other big comic book movies (read: The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises), it did manage to rake in nearly $262 million here in The States, and about $490 million worldwide. With that kind of profit, it was only a matter of time before the film’s producers greenlit work on a sequel, and while we’ve heard scant details so far, today Variety has published a series of interesting claims. Some are legit, some are obviously rumors, but either way they provide interesting talking points.
Those of you who saw The Amazing Spider-Man know that Emma Stone played the female lead in the film, a girl named Gwen Stacy. For comic book geeks this was seen as a brilliant move. The young Ms. Stacy was Spider-Man’s first love in the comics, so it just made sense that she should be the love interest in a movie centered on Spidey’s early adventures. However, most people who know Spider-Man either through Sam Raimi’s film trilogy or that awesome early 90s Fox cartoon, were likely wondering when Mary Jane Watson might pop up. Though she appeared after Gwen, following her introduction in 1965 Mary Jane has become directly associated with Spider-Man over the years, to the point that the two characters spent years as a married couple.
According to Variety, the producers behind the imminent Amazing Spider-Man 2 are currently in the process of casting their Mary Jane. More accurately, Variety claims that actress Shailene Woodley (pictured above) is in “early talks to play the redheaded love interest.” To date, Woodley’s most famous role has been as Alexandra King in 2011′s The Descendants, where she starred as George Clooney’s eldest daughter, a role for which she received numerous accolades including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.
Though featuring Mary Jane in the sequel would go a long way toward capturing that always helpful mainstream nostalgia appeal, it’s Variety’s less-solid rumors that are the truly intriguing part of this story. To wit:
In addition to Mary Jane Watson and an unspecified villain, the studio is seeking an actor to play Harry Osborn, Peter Parker’s best friend and eventual enemy…
Harry Osborn, as you may know, is the character portrayed by James Franco in Sam Raimi’s aforementioned Spider-Man trilogy. He’s the son of wealthy industrialist Norman Osborn, though you may know Papa Osborn better as the megalomaniac who eventually becomes The Green Goblin. Further, if we are to assume that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will follow official Marvel Comics canon, Peter and Harry will become bast friends until Harry drifts into madness and eventually follows his footsteps and takes up the mantle of “The Hobgoblin.” With the character of Norman Osborn never seen but constantly mentioned in the recent movie, it seems certain that he will eventually take on that role, but how Harry fits in is still a mystery.
Like the Goblins, Electro (aka Max Dillon) has long been a prime antagonist for Spider-Man. We don’t have space to cover the character’s massive, decades-spanning backstory, but we will point out that Electro seems a likely addition to the film, both because he’s never before been seen in a Spider-Man feature film, and because the character’s electricity-based powers offer a wide range of options in crafting aesthetically spectacular fight scenes.
<Minor spoiler from The Amazing Spider-Man> If you have yet to see the recent movie, you may want to stop reading now.
At the end of the film, a mysterious person is seen talking to Curt Connors. Some rumors — emphasis on the rumors, as they are unsourced — suggest that the mysterious figure may turn out to be Electro due to the lighting storm in the background of the scene. If that is the case, it suggests that the entire trilogy will revolve around Spider-Man and Norman Osborn. The first films saw Dr. Connors working to cure the never-seen Osborn, and it Electro is also on his payroll, it would suggest that the filmmakers are focusing on the later iterations of Norman Osborn, who is far more of an amoral behind-the-scenes manipulator than Willem Dafoe’s take on the character. If Sony follows the now traditional trilogy model, The Amazing Spider-Man 3 could see the payoff as Spider-Man and Norman Osborn face off.
Whether this all pans out as rumored remains to be seen, and with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 not scheduled to enter actual production until 2013, there’s plenty of time for the producers to change their minds on who Spidey might be romancing and/or fighting in this flick. That said, there’s a lot to think about here for Spider-Man fans, so please take to the comments below to express your giddy anticipation/disgust/ideas for alternate characters for this film to feature.