Marvel Studios chairman and CEO Avi Arad told a group of reporters Saturday that he wants to see everyone’s favorite comic book web slinger on the big screen for at least another decade. When asked if the franchise would continue beyond the third film (now in preproduction), Arad said, "We want it to go up to part nine," implying that Marvel was committed to extending the series as long as box office remained strong.Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 director Sam Raimi indicated that he was devoting his talents exclusively to keeping the franchise going with the third installment. The in-demand filmmaker said he would have no time or energy left for side-projects, but cast doubt on the prospect of coming back for a fourth Spidey outing.
Star Kirsten Dunst has been vocal about her plans to exit the series after Spider-Man 3 wraps. "Parts one and two are great, and I’m sure the third one will be great, but how much can you squeeze out of it?," she asked, adding, "Besides, I wouldn’t do it without Sam." When asked if she would ever do another franchise, she replied, "Not if I want to have a meaningful career." Next up for Dunst is Wimbledon, a romantic comedy set against the world’s most prestigious professional tennis championship. Paul Bettany (A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) co-stars in the latest from the team that brought us Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’s Diary.
A fourth Spider-Man installment is also likely to see another actor slip on the red-and-blue tights. Tobey Maguire, who injured his back on the set of Seabiscuit and was nearly replaced for the second film by Dunst’s real-life love interest, Jake Gyllenhaal, is also leaning toward leaving the role of Peter Parker behind after fulfilling his trilogy contract.