That's right, the novelty of guy named Webb directing a Spider-Man movie might very well be one we only enjoy for one movie. Sony Pictures has long planned for The Amazing Spider-Man to be the first in a planned trilogy. When Webb first got the job of rebooting Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's fifty year-old Marvel Comics icon, it was believed that he had signed on to direct all three movies.
But it looks as though that might not be in the cards.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Columbia Pictures President Doug Belgrad touched upon a number of subjects, including whether or not Webb will return. "We'd really like him back," he said. "But there are obstacles. He has an obligation to Fox."
Webb is contractually required to deliver another movie to 20th Century Fox, which distributed his debut feature, (500) Days of Summer, through its Fox Searchlight label. If Fox calls on the director, his commitment to the studio will supersede the Spider-Man sequel. Since Sony is working towards the May 2, 2014 release date it announced almost a year ago, that means Webb have to step aside.
Belgrad also briefly addressed some of the behind the scenes issues with The Amazing Spider-Man, which called for several rounds of reshoots and eliminated significant plot elements still present in marketing. Asked directly about any problem areas in the film, he responded, "Yes. The section where Rhys Ifans' character turns irrevocably into the Lizard. It took several months to figure out, and the filmmakers cut a bunch of scenes. In software parlance, it required a patch."
While the "obstacle" of Webb's obligation to Fox may very well be legitimate, am I the only one who gets the feeling that perhaps it's a bit of an excuse? Sony ended up paying more for The Amazing Spider-Man than initially intended, and it feels as though the sequel may change gears with a new creative team. In April, the studio brought Star Trek and Transformers writing duo Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci into the fold to produce and rewrite James Vanderbilt's screenplay, after all.