This May 2nd, Sony will release their first sequel to their rebooted Amazing Spider-Man series. Its cast will feature Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx (Ray, Django Unchained), Dane Dehaan (Chronicle, Lawless), Academy Award winner Chris Cooper (Adaptation, The Bourne Identity) and Academy Award nominated Paul Giamatti (American Splendor, Sideways), and those are just the villains in the movie… Sony has opted to build an on-screen universe in much the same way that Marvel has with The Avengers, except they have chosen to focus on the villains forming their own skewed version of a superhero team, the Sinister Six.
Last year a plan was announced to film a trilogy of Amazing Spider-Man films to be followed by two more films tentatively titled, Venom and The Sinister Six. This super group does indeed exist in the comic books, however a film focusing on a group of super villains would truly be a trailblazing effort that could either break new ground, or be an unprecedented disaster. In an effort to bring all of these story strands together Sony opted to form their own super team of writers, producers and filmmakers. Among those chosen to chart this new Spider-Man universe on film are director Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man, 500 Days of Summer), writers Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci (Transformers, Star Trek), Jeff Pinkner(Lost, Fringe), Ed Solomon (Men in Black), and Drew Goddard (Lost), along with producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad (original Spider-man trilogy). In a recent interview with SFX, Tolmach had this to say about the team:
“…we decided that there are all these other stories to tell: not just Spider-Man movies but the ones that we’ve announced, The Sinister Six and Venom, and they all come from the same place. We realised it would be really good in terms of storytelling to have a grand scheme for where and how these stories grow out of the centrepiece, which is always Spider-Man…We should all be talking so that these movies feel as though they’re of a piece, so the fans feel like there’s symmetry. It’s a crazy luxury to have all these smart writers sitting around in a room brainstorming. Our jobs remain the same in terms of having to produce and direct the movies but it’s like putting together an all-star team – why not have the best players there all the time? So that was kind of a breakthrough idea that we’re just now really tapping into.”
Typical Hollywood blockbuster scripts are handed off from one writer to another, who each do rewrites to put their own unique spin on the story. This can lead to unpredictable results and at times, a script with two many competing voices. Sony is choosing an alternate method. They have formed a brain trust of storytellers who are editing each others ideas, even before pen has touched paper, which may serve to be trend-setting in the modern era of superhero films. We are in a post-Avengers era, where stories are told over multiple installments and typically crescendo in a team-up of characters. It is encouraging to see that creators are adapting to the changes in the medium behind the scenes as well.
What does this mean for the future of Spider-Man? We will get our first clues when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hits theaters May 2nd, 2014.