Another day, another big revelation from the large-scale hacking of Sony that’s sent shockwaves throughout Hollywood. And this one’s for the fanboys.
In addition to venomous comments about everyone from President Obama to Angelina Jolie, Real World-style drama over the Steve Jobs biopic Jobs, and a disturbing gender pay gap that compensates Jennifer Lawrence less than her male co-stars, there’s been quite a bit of superhero news uncovered in the leaked emails of Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Emails between Pascal and various Sony execs express disappointment with the turnout of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as well as director Marc Webb’s deal on The Amazing Spider-Man 3. There are also hints that Sony was (or is) courting the Russo brothers—of Captain America: The Winter Soldier fame—to produce an upcoming Spider-Man film, and possibly direct one of the Avengers: Infinity War movies.
But The Daily Beast has now come across a detailed 8-page document outlining a plan to reboot Sony’s Spider-Man franchise. The email is dated November 13, 2014, and was sent by Jeff Robinov, head of the Fosun-backed Studio 8 (which has an output deal with Sony), to Pascal.
The first two pages of the 8-page attachment gushes about what makes Spider-Man such an indelible hero, saying, “To argue that there’s plenty of other superhero movies with levity in the marketplace, so why make more Spider-Man movies, would be akin to saying there’s no room for James Bond films because of all the espionage films and franchises that have come out over the years. There will always be room for this beloved, iconic hero.”
Then, under the bold headline “Rebooting Spider-Man,” Robinov describes a broad vision for the future of the franchise. “In the next Spider-Man movies, we can’t go back to his origin story. Think of the 25 films in the James Bond franchise; just because a new creative team comes aboard, and breathes new life into a classic property, doesn’t mean the origin story has to be retold.”
What follows is “a list of filmmakers that come to mind” to helm the Spider-Man reboot, and they are: Brad Bird, Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee (Frozen), Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), Glenn Ficarra & John Requa (Crazy, Stupid, Love), James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), Don Hall & Chris Williams (Big Hero 6), Phil Lord & Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie), Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki), Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World), Edgar Wright, and David Yates, of Harry Potter franchise fame.
As for the storyline, Robinov says that instead of coming up with it himself, he’d like to sit down with the filmmakers and embrace how they’d like to approach it—but also discusses some potential plots to tackle.
I might suggest looking at what is widely thought to be the most beloved Spider-Man storyline of all time – “Kraven’s Last Hunt” – which ran across Amazing Spider-Man #293-294, Spectacular Spider-Man #131-132, and Web of Spider-Man #31-32. (In fact, Comic Book Resources polled their readers in 2012, and this storyline was voted as the single greatest Spider-Man storyline of all time.)
In it, Kraven the Hunter tracks down Spider-Man, shoots him repeatedly, and leaves him for dead, buried underground. He then dons a Spider-Man costume and savagely starts attacking criminals.
What makes this story resonate with fans is that it proves it takes more than just the costume to become “Spider-Man.” No matter what he’s wearing, or what predicament he’s facing, Peter Parker is sensitive, passionate, and connected to those he’s interacting with in a very powerful way. It’s not Peter’s powers that make him special – Kraven, and every other superhuman in the Marvel Universe, all have powers. Peter is special because of his values, because of what drives him, because of the lessons he’s learned from Uncle Ben’s death, and because of his love for Mary Jane. I’ve pasted a few pivotal pages from this book so you can see just how intense this storyline is.
We also get to see how Mary Jane deals with Peter’s disappearance, and how she would react if Peter ever died in action.
Another angle Robinov suggests as a possibility for Peter Parker/Spider-Man is a franchise reboot tackling Spidey as… an adult.
Another side of Spider-Man that might be interesting to explore in a reboot is seeing him as an adult. Spidey hasn’t remained a teenager over the 52 years he’s been around. He’s moved in with his girlfriend, gotten married, and in some storylines, even became a science teacher at a high school.
It might feel fresh to see Peter Parker juggling with adult issues. He’s done so in the comics for decades, and kids still found this fun to read.