Speculation about who might be replacing Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man's webbed costume can now come to an end. Both Maguire and director Sam Raimi will be returning for Spider-Man 4, according to Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood, and they may be set to return for Spider-Man 5 as well.
According to the report, the studio is looking to film both films at the same time both for reasons of cost effectiveness and because "it wasn't so easy to get everybody back together."
And just who is 'everybody'? Well, it includes Maguire and Raimi. And it's almost a certainty that Kirsten Dunst will be back as well. According to the report Dunst's Mary Jane Watson will be featured, and Sony would "never recast her."
The script for the film was written by Jamie Vanderbilt, and so far the studio is being tight-lipped about the villain and who might play the character. However insiders say that "once you find out who the villain is, you'll know who is playing it." One thing that is certain however is that it won't be a return of Venom. Spider-Man 4 will not follow the trend of The Dark Knight and "going dark".
Principal photography for Spider-Man 4 begins in the fall of 2009.
On a similar note, while the symbiotic alien costume won't be appearing in Spider-Man 4, Sony has hired screenwriters to begin work on a spin-off Venom film. No word yet on whether or not Topher Grace would return for the starring role.