Peter Parker is headed back to the big screen in 2012, but he'll be without "Spider-Man" franchise director Sam Raimi or star Tobey Maguire when he swings back into action.
The demise of "Spider-Man 4" was first reported by Deadline Hollywood
on Monday (January 11), with the site claiming Raimi had left the project and the studio had decided to reboot the franchise entirely rather than replace him. According to the report, Raimi's departure was the result of studio pressure
to meet the film's summer 2012 release date despite a variety of much-publicized script issues. The site also claimed that Tobey Maguire and the rest of the cast will not return for future films, and the studio will look to reboot the franchise entirely with a script by James Vanderbilt.
Sony later confirmed the report to MTV News, but indicated that a new "Spider-Man" movie is still planned for summer 2012.
"Peter Parker is going back to high school when the next 'Spider-Man' hits theaters in the summer of 2012," the company said in a statement, adding that the planned film will focus on "a teenager grappling with both contemporary human problems and amazing super-human crises."
Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said in the statement, "A decade ago we set out on this journey with Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire and together we made three Spider-Man films that set a new bar for the genre. When we began, no one ever imagined that we would make history at the box-office and now we have a rare opportunity to make history once again with this franchise. Peter Parker as an ordinary young adult grappling with extraordinary powers has always been the foundation that has made this character so timeless and compelling for generations of fans. We're very excited about the creative possibilities that come from returning to Peter's roots and we look forward to working once again with Marvel Studios, Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin on this new beginning."
Earlier reports had pegged the choice of villain as one of the primary obstacles to "Spider-Man 4" production, with Raimi and the studio differing over potential casting that, most recently, included John Malkovich as winged villain the Vulture.
Earlier Monday, a report surfaced that Malkovich had confirmed his involvement in the film now leaving many questions regarding his attachment to a new film.
With production deadlines looming for a 2012 premiere, the studio has promised more updates regarding Spider-Man's next big-screen adventure in the near future.