Spider-Man 4 Gets Writer

There’s a possibility director Sam Raimi and stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst may not be back for another round of web slinging but Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures are moving forward with plans to continue the billion-dollar series. According to The Hollywood Reporter, scribe James Vanderbilt (Zodiac) has been tapped to write a screenplay for Spider-Man 4.

Little is known about the plot of the fourth film, but the producers have reportedly learned their lesson from the last installment and are including just two villains rather than trying to cram three baddies into the storyline. Series vet Laura Ziskin is producing.

Vanderbilt is also writing the Marvel Comics adaptation Wolverine for 20th Century Fox. His character-driven take on Spider-Man 4 was apparently better received than that of David Koepp, who scripted the first Spider-Man movie and submitted a draft of the fourth entry.

Raimi, Maguire and Dunst have all expressed doubts about sticking around beyond the first trilogy, so fans may be seeing new blood entering the franchise. The red-and-blue spandex costume may go to Jake Gyllenhaal, who was lined up to replace Maguire in Spider-Man 2 following a serious back injury. Those looking for clues might even draw a connection between Vanderbilt and Gyllenhaal, who starred in Zodiac.

There was little doubt that another sequel would be on the way when Spider-Man 3 earned $336.5 million domestically and $890 million worldwide. The film was released on home video yesterday and is sure to be one of the biggest sellers of the holiday season.