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UPDATED: Amazing Spider-Man 2 Rumors and Facts: A Major Character Death, Another Dropped Entirely & Too Many Villains

To check out any of our other coverage of The Amazing Spider-Man and its related sequels, please go here.

UPDATE: 12/10/2013 – When asked about The Amazing Spider-Man 4 in an interview with Yahoo Andrew Garfield responded, “I mean I’m under contract for another one after this… as far as a fourth one? That’s not anything to do with me.”

It was almost one year ago that director Marc Webb and distributor Sony Pictures acknowledged our collective short-term memory and rebooted the Spider-Man film franchise a mere 5 years and two months (give or take a couple of days) after Spider-Man 3.  Released July 3, 2012, The Amazing Spider-Man told a familiar tale in a post Dark Knight/Kickass cinematic landscape and the influences, for better or worse, definitely showed.  Around these parts, I wasn’t particularly fond of the film whereas Julianne took quite a shine to it.  However, it ended up making $752 million worldwide with a production budget of roughly $230 million. While this total is less than any one of the Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man films, even before adjusting for inflation, it’s still good enough business to warrant a sequel.

As such, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is scheduled to be released May 2, 2014, and it wrapped filming two days ago.  It is now headed into post-production to prepare for its release and plan for a sequel.  However, they did so much on-location filming in New York that it seems like every other day brought another fan photo of one of the actors on-set.  In fact, director Marc Webb helped this quite a bit by sharing one photo a day through social media for every 100 days of filming.  Casting news has been leaking out left and right, and this past week the internet went into overdrive when The Descendents star Shailene Woodley admitted in an interview that her part had been cut from the film.

But who was Woodley supposed to play?  Why was she cut?  Who else has been cast?  Will they ever deliver on the “untold story” part of the origin tale that the first film’s marketing promised while the actual film failed to deliver?  Just how many sequels are there going to be?  Here is what we know:

*POTENTIAL SPOILERS AWAIT YOU BELOW.  READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!*

Who’s Coming Back?

The-Amazing-Spider-Man

Cast-wise, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone will be back as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Gwen Stacey respectively.  Sally Field is also back as Aunt May.  Cue the sarcastic “big surprise” comment.  However, a bit more surprising is the news that those we saw die in the first film (Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben and Dennis Leary as Gwen’s father) are apparently back as well, presumably in flashbacks (or as mystical ghosts ala the Raimi Spider-Man 2).

Behind the scenes, Sony eventually decided to give Marc Webb a second chance, bringing him back as director. This is surprising because Sony and film producer Columbia Pictures weren’t exactly effusive with their praise of Webb during the promotional period of the first Amazing Spider-Man, and the disconnect between what the film’s marketing promised (“the untold story”) and what the actual film delivered indicates a disconnect between director and studio.  Plus, there was quite a lot written about how Webb was contractually obligated to direct another film for Fox Searchlight which would make him unavailable for a Spider-Man sequel. They obviously made it work somehow because he’s back. 

Who Are the New People?
the-amazing-spider-man-2-new-photos-of-electro-and-harry-osborn
Jamie Foxx as new villain Electro, and Dane DeHaan as frenemy Harry Osborn.

Cast-wise, Jamie Foxx and Paul Giamatti are on-board as the villains Electro and Rhino, respectively.  On-set footage confirms these two will be involved in high-level action sequences.  There are also quite a few other new cast members whose character name indicates they could be baddies as well, though not necessarily in this particular sequel.  We’re talking about Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn (who we know as The Green Goblin from the Raimi films), Chronicle star Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn (we we know as The 2nd Green Goblin from the Raimi films), and Colm Feore as Adrian Toomes (a new character to the films who becomes the villain Vulture in the comics).  Additionally, Hysteria star Felicity Jones is on-board in an unidentified role rumored to be that of Felicia Hardy, who becomes Black Cat in the comics and serves as Catwoman to Spider-Man’s Batman (a potentially contentious assertion if made in the presence of comic book faithful, though).

Paul-Giamatti-in-The-Amazing-Spider-Man-2-The-Rhino-1
This on-set shot of Paul Giamatti as Rhino reading an Amazing Spider-Man comic probably won’t make it into the movie.

Behind the scenes, The Amazing Spider-Man 1 screenwriters James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, and Steve Kloves were not invited back. Prior to the first film’s release, Sony brought in J.J. Abrams’ go-to writers Alex Kurtzman, Robert Orci, and Jeff Pinkner to write a sequel script, basing it off of a story by Vanderbilt.  So, if you’re a Spider-Man fan I hope you liked Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Trek, Fringe, Lost, and Alias because those are the things those guys did prior to this.

What’s All This I’m Hearing About One of the Main Characters Dying in the Film?

Earlier this month, photos from the set depicting Spider-Man saving Gwen Stacey set off fan’s spidey senses because of the outfit Emma Stone is wearing in the pictures.  Here is one originally published over at TheHuffingtonPost.com:

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone on location for  "The Amazing Spiderman 2"

So, what’s the big deal?  She’s wearing a horribly mismatched dress and coat.  We don’t have to go all fashionista on it. Well, yes we do when it is an exact replica of a dress Gwen wore in the comic books.  You see, Gwen is kind of a notorious character in the comic books for one rather memorable reason: she dies, and she did so at a time when comic book characters just did not do that.  What is she wearing when she dies?  The same thing Emma is in the on-set photos.  Here’s her death in the comics:

o-EMMA-STONE-GWEN-STACY-570 (1)

This could be a simple homage on the part of the filmmakers, or it could be an outright spoiler.  However, anyone who dares be surprised that Gwen might die in this film hasn’t been paying attention.  Her death is one of the most iconic storylines from the comic books, and both director Marc Webb (talking to HuffingtonPost) and star Emma Stone (talking to IGN.com) have made no secret of their awareness and affinity for the storyline.  Plus, in the form of the dying wishes of Leary’s Captain Stacey at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man (wishes Parker ultimately chooses to ignore) they’ve already heavily tipped their hand that she is ultimately not safe around Peter Parker.  That still doesn’t mean Gwen is definitely dying in this film, but this is shaping up to be the summer of 2014’s “John Harrison is Khan”, aka, the big storyline twist everyone figures out months prior to seeing the actual film.

How Does Shailene Woodley Fit Into All of This?

shailene-mary-jane

Woodley was confirmed as playing Mary Jane Watson, Kirsten Dunst’s role in the original Raimi triology. Those who appreciate fine acting loved the choice as Woodley is considered an up-and-comer after The Descendents, but those who want their film characters to look just like their comic book counterparts hated the choice because Woodley was somehow considered not hot enough to play the vivacious, voluptuous Mary Jane (see an argument against that conclusion here).  

Either way, this was the new Mary Jane, and you just had to deal with it.  Then this past week both Woodley and director Webb confirmed the scenes she had filmed were being cut from the film, and then subsequent reports said actress Sarah Gadon was being added to the cast to replace Woodley in the role.  This has been denied, but there still has been no real official explanation for what is going on.  However, an unnamed source from the production offered an explanation that seems to have calmed everyone down:

Emma Stone’s character dies in the next film and that really would take a bunch out of the film if Spider-Man all the sudden starts dating a new girl so close to an important characters death. They were noticing this occurring as they filmed Shailene’s scenes. They want to make the death of Gwen Stacy really mean something and then it will leave room for Shailene to shine in the third film [via HollywoodLife via ScreenRant].

If this is to be believed then it is ultimately a very good sign.  Remember – Gwen Stacey is actually in Spider-Man 3, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, but she gets lost in the shuffle in a horribly over-stuffed film.

Remember the version of Gwen Stacey from Spider-Man 3? Yeah, Bryce Dallas Howard played her, and even she doesn't remember it.
Remember the Bryce Dallas Howard version of Gwen Stacey from Spider-Man 3? Yeah, Howard played her, and even she doesn’t remember it.

It certainly seemed like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was headed toward repeating the same mistake with Mary Jane, and with plenty of  time left to re-plan they figured it out and focused on trying to make the best film possible.  Why do they have the freedom to do this, though?

Just How Many Sequels Are There Going to Be?

Amazing Spider Web Shooter

Two weeks ago, Sony announced via press release that The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is scheduled to be released June 10, 2016, and then surprised everyone by announcing that The Amazing Spider-Man 4 is scheduled to be released May 4, 2018.  This is a remarkable level of commitment considering that while the first Amazing Spider-Man did well it was still the weakest performer in the franchise to date when you count the Raimi films.  Plus, they had originally indicated this was to be a planned trilogy, not quadrilogy.  However, their plan is to release a new Spider-Man film every two years until 2018.  So, if you like Spider-Man but not this Andrew Garfield version of the character you’re pretty screwed because the studio is going all in on this thing.

Why Is It That Some People Think This Sequel Looks Doomed?    
Spider-Man-3_610
This is what The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has working against it – our refusal to forget Spider-Man 3.

Too much, too much, too much.  Even after Mary Jane has been cut from the film, the sequel is introducing two definite villains (Electro, Rhino), three characters who may or may not become villains (Harry and Norman Osborn, Adrian Toomes), and one potential morally compromised ally (Felicia Hardy, if rumors are true).  On top of all of that, Gwen is apparently going to die?  What!

the-amazing-spider-man-2-first-look-at-jamie-foxx-as-electro
Jamie Foxx as Electro on the set of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Basically, everything that’s been coming out about this movie, be it substantiated or rumored, paints the picture of a Spider-Man 3-like disaster of creative overreach.  However, cutting Mary Jane from the film is a good sign as is the news that there will be at least 4 total films in this new version of Spider-Man even if it was initially announced as a planned trilogy.  It indicates that they have a larger narrative arc, and the presence of characters like the Osborns and Toomes in the sequel more likely lays groundwork for the sequels than introduces them as the Green Goblin and/or Vulture.  Remember that Dr. Connors was actually in all three of the Raimi Spiderman films without ever becoming The Lizard.  Plus, it seems highly likely that they scrapped their “untold story” plan from the original and will instead tell that story in the sequels.

The current speculation is that they appear to be building toward some sort of storyline incorporating the Sinister Six from the comic books.  In their version, all of their Spider-Man villains would band together in the end to take him on as a collective unit, sort of like an inverted version of  Joss Whedon’s The Avengers with Spider-Man in the role of Loki and the Sinister Six evil versions of the Avengers.  The producers have already admitted to liking the idea.

Electro, Rhino, Vulture, Black Cat, the Sinister Six-Who Are All These People?
The sinister six fighting Spider-Man in the comics.
The sinister six fighting Spider-Man in the comics.

We don’t know how faithful they’ll be to the comics with these new characters, but you can read about the comic book versions over at the wikia page for Marvel Comics: ElectroRhinoVultureFelicia Hardy, and The Sinister Six.

When Does This Come Out Again?

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is currently scheduled to be released in the UK and other worldwide markets on April 18, 2014, and in the US on May 2, 2014.

UPDATED: The trailer is out.  Here it is:

This article be over, y’all.  Do what you’re going to do – comment, don’t comment, like, don’t like.

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