The Amazing Spider-Man Not Exactly a Reboot?

This week’s Entertainment Weekly (featuring new Superman Henry Cavill on the cover) is all about the upcoming wave of superhero movies with a lot of cool information on all the movies coming out this summer as well as those in production and a few that haven’t even started filming.  One of the more interesting sidebars is about Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man, due out on July 3, 2012 and it features an intriguing quote from the film’s executive producer Avi Arad implying that the movie (as they put it) "won’t erase what came before but will try to weave a narrative that could take place within the framework of the earlier films."

Here’s Arad’s exact quote: 

"It’s not a comeback. You have to look at it this way.  Do you want to know more about Spider-Man? This movie is going to tell stories that you didn’t see in movies 1, 2 and 3."

Essentially, this means that we’re not necessarily looking at another Spider-Man origin story with Andrew Garfield recreating what Tobey Maguire did in the original Spider-Man directed by Sam Raimi, but more of a story that takes place sometime over the course of Peter Parker’s early days in the Spider-Man suit.  Our clever pals at ThinkMcFlyThink may have the right idea when they compare the movie to the Marvel series "Untold Tales of Spider-Man," a comic mostly produced by Kurt Busiek and Pat Oliffe between 1995 and 1997 which told stories about the webbed wallcrawler that took place in between the issues by Spider-Man creator Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

One thing which makes one wonder about the actual continuity of the upcoming movie compared to Raimi’s Spider-Man is that it has Martin Sheen playing Ben Parker, whose death spurred Parker to use his powers to become a superhero, so we have to imagine some of the movie will take place before he was bitten by the spider or will be a flashback to when Peter’s Uncle Ben was still alive.  The fact that Emma Stone is playing Gwen Stacy and there’s no word of Peter’s future comic book wife Mary Jane Watson appearing in the film is also interesting from a continuity standpoint. Stacy appeared in the comic books roughly a year before Mary Jane was introduced, but put into context with the first movie, if we are indeed meant to do so, the new movie would take place sometime after Mary Jane moved to New York and before Peter eventually followed her. 

Maybe we’re reading too much into Arad’s words and maybe the filmmakers aren’t putting as much thought into trying to make The Amazing Spider-Man fit into any sort of continuity with the three Sam Raimi movies, so we’ll probably all have to wait until the summer of 2012 to find out whether this is a straight reboot ala Batman Begins or possibly something more like Louis Letterier’s The Incredible Hulk, in which all the actors were changed but it could theoretically fit into continuity with Ang Lee’s The Hulk

Any thoughts on the relation of the new movie to the previous three based on what Arad had to say?