Variety reports that Sony Pictures Entertainment is having screenwriter James Vanderbilt begin preliminary work on Spider-Man 5 and Spider-Man 6. The studio is currently working on Spider-Man 4.

Vanderbilt wrote the first draft of Spider-Man 4 but that didn't stop director Sam Raimi from bringing in David Lindsay-Abaire to rewrite him.

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Currently, rewriting the Spider-Man 4 script is Gary Ross. Sony wants to have it production in early 2010 with a release slated for May 2011.

Even though Raimi brought in another writer, executives at Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios like what Vanderbilt has brought to the table. Spider-Man 5 and Spider-Man 6 have a connected storyline, so it make sense to have one person write the scripts (at least initially).

Apparently, that was the plan when Vanderbilt came on to write Spider-Man 4, but the idea of shooting a fourth and fifth film back to back with the original cast was eventually jettisoned.

It isn't currently clear whether Raimi, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst will be back after Spider-Man 4. Should they not return, "Vanderbilt's script would be the blueprint for a franchise reboot."

Some are wondering why Vanderbilt would be doing any work on Spider-Man 5 and Spider-Man 6 when it isn't clear who is even going to be in the movies. It seems that Sony wants to release Spider-Man films more often. There was a two year lapse from Spider-Man to Spider-Man 2. And it took three years for Spider-Man 3 to come out.

When Spider-Man 4 debuts, four years will have passed.