Sony have announced, much to my surprise, the writing talent they've tapped for two Spider-Man spin-off movies.
Finally confirming the Sinister Six movie I've been telling you about for several months, the studio went one further and named Drew Goddard as the project's writer and possible director.
This is while he's also employed over at the Marvel mothership, working on the Daredevil Netflix series. I guess he's the "street level New York" guy.
Meanwhile, Alex Kurtzman, Bob Orci and Bill and Ted and Men in Black's Ed Solomon will write a new version of the long proposed Venom movie.
At the same time, Kurtzman, Orci and Jeff Pinkner – the Amazing Spider-Man 2 team – are writing part 3 with an eye on Marc Webb returning to direct.
While there's no single "overlord" figure, as Marvel supposedly have with Joss Whedon or Kevin Feige, depending on your point of view, and Fox with Mark Millar or Joss Whedon, the plan is nonetheless to create an ongoing arc, spread over several movies. This was already the case with the Amazing trilogy, and it's obvious that any Sinister Six plans would grow out of that, but at least it's been made explicit.
Why did Sony splurge all of this info now? Maybe it's because Andrew Garfield recently said he wasn't signed on for a fourth Spider-Man film despite there being one on the studio's calendar. It could be a kind of damage control – and it's even more obvious now that what was being called Spider-Man 4 is going to be a spin-off.
Or it could simply be that they just got all of the deals signed off.
Here's the full announcement:
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT TO EXPAND THE SPIDER-MAN UNIVERSE ON
SCREEN WITH ALL-STAR WRITING TEAM
Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Ed Solomon, and Drew Goddard to Collaborate with Marc Webb and Producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach on Developing the Universe and Expanding the Story in "The Amazing Spider-Man 3," "Venom," and "The Sinister Six"
CULVER CITY, Calif., December 12, 2013 – In a move to forge a new legacy in the story of Peter Parker on screen, Sony Pictures Entertainment, in association with Marvel Entertainment, is developing several new projects in the Spider-Man franchise, with Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Ed Solomon, and Drew Goddard to collaborate on overseeing the developing story over several films that will be produced by Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures, and Hannah Minghella, president of Production for the studio.
The five writers, along with the two producers and Marc Webb, have formed a franchise brain trust to expand the universe for the brand and to develop a continuous tone and thread throughout the films. Under the deals, the studio announced that Kurtzman & Orci & Pinkner are writing the screenplay for The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which the studio hopes Webb will return to direct; the film will go into production next fall for release on June 10, 2016. In addition, the team will build on the cinematic foundation laid by Webb, Arad, and Tolmach in the first two movies. They will expand the franchise as Kurtzman & Orci & Solomon will write the screenplay for Venom, which Kurtzman will direct; also, Goddard will write, with an eye to direct, The Sinister Six, focusing on the villains in the franchise. Hannah Minghella and Rachel O'Connor will oversee the development and production of these films for the studio.
In tapping these five writers, the studio and the producers are guiding the future of the franchise with the writer/producers who have each played significant and key roles in developing such highly successful franchises, films, and series as Star Trek, Transformers, "Alias," "Fringe," Men in Black, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, World War Z, "Lost," Cloverfield, The Cabin in the Woods, and Marvel's upcoming "Daredevil" series.
Commenting on the announcement, Belgrad said, "The Spider-Man film franchise is one of our studio's greatest assets. We are thrilled with the creative team we have assembled to delve more deeply into the world that Marc, Avi and Matt have begun to explore in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. We believe that Marc, Alex, and Drew have uniquely exciting visions for how to expand the Spider-Man universe in each of these upcoming films."
Arad and Tolmach added, "This collaboration was born out of the great experience we and Marc had working with Alex, Bob, and Jeff on The Amazing Spider-Man 2. With more than fifty years' wealth of stories in the comic books to draw upon for inspiration, the Spider-Man universe is truly boundless; in addition, the Spider-Man comics have the greatest rogues gallery of any series, and to have the chance to explore that on film is truly thrilling. Until now, we have approached each film as a separate, self-contained entity, but with this move, we have the opportunity to grow the franchise by looking to the future as we develop a continuous arc for the story. That is what Alex, Bob, Jeff, Ed, and Drew will do in this unprecedented collaboration, and we're excited about the directions they are taking the character and the world."