Tobey Maguire returning as Spider-Man

Regardless of how you feel about the quality of the three recent Spider-Man films, you have to give them credit for essentially catapulting comic movies to the forefront of studios' collective minds. Much like the comic did when it first debuted, the Spider-Man films showed that you could have movies based on comic books that still had mainstream appeal. Part of that appeal came from the character itself, but the other part came in Tobey Maguire's excellent grasp of the role (with Sam Raimi's vision of Spider-Man guiding him). And now it seems that we're getting more Maguire and Raimi in future incarnations of the franchise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, both Maguire and Raimi are close to a deal that would have both of them returning for not just Spider-Man 4, but for Spider-Man 5 as well. That's right kids, they're going to the Lord of the Rings route and are filming the two films simultaneously. The fourth installment is targeting a May 2011 release, with the fifth most likely the following year (if they are filmed at the same time). Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad will be producing the film based on a script by Jamie Vanderbilt. "The studio never considered any other actor. Tobey was our only choice and the only person we've discussed the role with," Sony spokesman Steve Elzer said. No word on any other cast members returning, but one would presume that everyone would be back with the exception of Kirsten Dunst. But with Maguire and Raimi on board you would think that Dunst would follow suit and sign on as well. There's also been no announcements as to villains or story, but I wouldn't be surprised if we finally saw Dr. Connors transform into the Lizard. This news also doesn't affect the standalone Venom film in the works (and no word yet on that film as to whether Topher Grace will reprise his role as Eddie Brock/Venom). Maguire and Raimi returning for Spider-Man 4