A topic on the tip of every fanboy tongue of late is, “How did the Spider-Man franchise lose its way?” While racking up over $700 million worldwide, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the lowest-grossing in the 13-year-old franchise and managed to alienate longtime fans, but the screenwriter behind Sam Raimi’s 2002 blockbuster Spider-Man, David Koepp, talked to Empire about where he sees the future of the franchise.
Says Koepp, “If I were in charge of Spider-Man right now, and money was no object, I would… (Pauses) Well, now you can see why they are having trouble! (Laughs) Not so easy, is it?”
Indeed it is not. After the lackluster reception of the last film, Sony’s plans for the franchise are currently in flux, though Koepp has an idea of how they can foster a diverse audience and keep the series creatively vibrant.
“When I was doing Spider-Man the first time, I remember distinctly having thoughts about three movies, each of a different kind: ‘Spider-Man,’ ‘Amazing Spider-Man,’ ‘Spectacular Spider-Man,'” Koepp said. “The classic ‘Spider-Man,’ that would be the top-of-the-line, studio Sam Raimi ones, then the ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ ones, they’d be done for $75-80 million, and have a rougher, edgier, almost R-rated feel to them – if not R-rated, though I don’t think they could ever bring themselves to do that. Tougher, nastier, a rougher look… shorter movies. I don’t like superhero bloat, personally.”
Adding that these could be released concurrently due to the vastly different tones. He said there’s even room for a little kid-friendly version without the intensity. This mirrors a reported idea on Sony’s part to bring in Phil Lord and Chris Miller of The LEGO Movie to do an animated version with a comedic tone.
“I also thought there should be a ‘Spectacular Spider-Man’ series, because Spider-Man leaves out a large group of its audience,” Koepp said. “Little kids are fascinated by Spider-Man by the time they are three, or younger. But when I was a kid, I loved the animated series, so I always thought there should be separate lines to cater for different ages of Spider-Man fans.”
Sony’s current agenda seems to be moving away from Andrew Garfield as the web slinger towards exploring different aspects of that universe, be it the villains of The Sinister Six or catering to women (and men) with an Untitled Female Superhero Spider-Man Movie.
“And I’d certainly develop other characters in the Spider-Man universe, which is what they are trying to do, I know,” Koepp acknowledged. “Black Cat deserves her own movie series. As for the superhero genre generally now, I am stunned at its viability, its quality, its longevity, and its ability to grow and deepen. I think they’re great. I was so continually wrong about where superhero movies were going that now I am just an audience member, thrilled to see them continue to improve.”