It’s a long road that the Spider-Man franchise is taking towards a big screen return, but Sony doesn’t intend to lose any momentum once it arrives. Word from Variety has James Vanderbilt, writer of Zodiac and the first Spider-Man 4 draft, being tapped by Sony to write intertwining scripts for Spider-Man 5 and 6.

Sony is looking to increase the production rate of their most lucrative, but slow moving franchise. These are a moves that indicate Sony doesn’t necessarily plan on being in the Spider-Man business with Sam Raimi past the fourth film- which is set to begin production early next year. Raimi, with his plans to helm the Warcraft film (a likely franchise itself) for Warner Brothers, doesn’t show any signs of sticking around.

You may remember the original rumors of a simultaneously filmed Spider-Man 4 and 5, but those plans were soon scrapped. Raimi also made the move to have the first draft of Spider-Man 4 rewritten by David Lindsay-Abaire (and again by Gary Ross). The studios were apparently fond of of Vanderbilt’s original ideas though, and seem to be looking beyond Raimi and preparing for the possibility of a franchise reboot by rehiring their favored scribe. That they are rehiring the original writer (who Raimi wasn’t sold on) and re-engaging the two-movie plan (which Raimi and Co. weren’t down for) sends a strange signal at best.

It’s a shame that the franchise has had to endure such a scattershot development process for so many years. One hopes that the upcoming films manage to emerge from it more successfully than the last messy attempt to please too many different agendas. Emo dancing I can handle, but a half dozen more abortive villain storylines I can not.

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