There’s a flaw with my hunch that Sony’s going to use the next Spider-Man film to adapt the Ultimate Venom saga. It means that significant chunks of every film in the new trilogy will be spent revisiting things that viewers are already familiar with from the Raimi/ Maguire trilogy. The Amazing Spider-Man already featured Spider-Man’s origin, with Peter Parker as a high school science geek who gets bitten by a radioactive spider, gains superpowers and pisses off a schizophrenic supervillain who learns his secret identity. It’s pretty clear that they’re building up to a battle with Norman Osborn, so at least one of the sequels will include the villain of the first Spider-Man.
There’s a strong case to be made that for the next film the best approach for Webb or the next director is to just go with something new, as if they were working on Spider-Man 4. That would mean that they shouldn’t include any of the villains from the first three films (Dr Octopus, Green Goblin, Venom, Sandman, the Harry Osborn Green Goblin) or the storylines for Peter (Alien Costume Saga, Spider-Man No More, proposal jitters). At least for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. At this point, they probably know who the villain is going to be, so I’m just pondering debates they likely had some months ago.
If the current trilogy is a hit, the studio will likely want to commission more sequels, and the Alien Costume saga would be a logical place to go. And they can split that into at least two films. There will still be the problem that Spider-Man 3 was devoted heavily to the Alien Costume saga, but the gap between the two films would be longer. It makes a difference if Spider-Man dons the Alien Costume costume in a film that comes out in 2014 (seven years after the story was done in the biggest domestic hit of 2007) or 2018, when more than a decade will have passed and Andrew Garfield will have become more ingrained in our consciousness as Spider-Man. The hero gaining a suit that makes him more effective at lashing out at the world can be effective in the aftermath of Gwen Stacy’s death.
Of course, that would mean that Sony would have to delay a Venom spinoff series. I think it’s possible to get started on that immediately after The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It’s something that can make Sony a lot of money. And it has the potential to be good.
They could try to introduce Venom in his own film, but that would require a few significant changes to the characters. It means they wouldn’t be able to do the Alien Costume saga in this Spider-Man series. And Venom wouldn’t be associated as much with the series. It could be part of the same universe, but it might not feel like it. It also complicates the ability of the writers to have interactions between Spider-Man and Venom. It’s easier to do a spinoff in which a hero uses the weapons of a villain than to do a crossover in which one of the heroes becomes a villain.
Another advantage of Venom in the second film is that the audience wouldn’t care as much if another film passes without major questions being resolved. They’ll be happy to see one of the most popular Spider-Man characters. Plus, they’d be get at least one villain who wasn’t in the original trilogy under my pitches, as there’s room for at least the Scorpion or the Vulture.
Excluding Venom does give Sony more room to explore the larger arc. Especially since there are three supporting characters to introduce at some point. J Jonah Jameson is iconic. Mary Jane is Peter’s most famous romantic interest, and it makes sense to do the romantic triangle in a film in which Gwen isn’t killed off. And Harry ties into his father’s story and the overall mystery at Oscorp.
Focusing on another villain also gives more room for Emma Stone. Her Gwen Stacy was the second most important character in the first film, so it would be problematic if the biggest star is crowded out by new villains.
So maybe it makes sense to have a film devoted to the Vulture. Or the man from Connors’s cell, be it the Chameleon, Scorpion or Electro. Or they could feature Kraven as the equivalent of Dark Knight’s Joker, a villain drawn to the city because of his interest in its new superhero, interfering with the carefully laid plans of others. Morbius could be done on film, as a young scientist suffering from the same condition that is killing Norman Osborn, coming between Peter and Gwen. Although I don’t know if its a good idea for the Spider-Man brand to have anything that’s similar to Twilight.
The second film could be used to seed The Amazing Spider-Man 4-6, setting up a larger gang war storyline and introducing characters who will be important after Norman Osborn is taken out in the third film. They could also split the Green Goblin’s story into two films. Although that somewhat defeats the purpose of a sequel which doesn’t revisit any of the major territory from the prequels.