We've already been hearing rumors that The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is set to be delayed - but if what Roberto Orci has just revealed is true, that delay might just be set to be pretty darned indefinite...
Orci, who has also confirmed that he has officially left the Spider-franchise, opened up to IGN about what Sony has planned - and hinted at it not being quite what you'd expect:
"I don't know what their plans are for that franchise...I don't ever want to say never, but we have to figure out what their scheduling is in terms of when they want each movie. I've read probably as much as anyone else. There's a love for the Sinister Six, the idea of Venom -- there's an idea of Spider-Man's going to be one of these characters that's part of our business. He's such a popular character. Spider-Man's not going to go away any time soon. When it all happens and how and all that has yet to be determined."
What he pointedly didn't mention, though, is The Amazing Spider-Man 3 - and when asked specifically about it, had only this to say:
"I don't want to say anything about what they should do...I don't want them to think I'm spilling the beans about something."
Which leaves us with two major takeaways: One, that Amazing Spider-Sequel could yet be a way away, and two, that there's something being planned that Orci isn't supposed to be telling us about.
Let's take a closer look at each:
Now, there's no guarantee that there will, in fact, be any delay at all. We could yet see Spidey take back to the skies of New York in 2016 - and despite the mild critical mauling the second installment of the Garfield-as-Spidey-saga received, that would obviously be a good thing. Even if they could probably live with having a few fewer villains:
It's also possible, of course, that the Summer 2016 release window is being eyed up by Sony for one of their other Spider-ventures - The Sinister Six, for instance, could be seen as a potentially game-changing option.
The alternative, though, could fundamentally alter the nature of the superhero movie world: What if Sony have lost faith entirely in the value of the franchise? On the surface, a $700 million plus box office haul is nothing to sniff at, but factoring in the huge production and marketing budgets, you can see how Sony might be sensing a dwindling return from their prime asset.
If so, there's one much-discussed possibility that's never been taken completely off the table...
It's possible - just possible - that a major rethink at Sony regarding their future plans for Spider-Man could lead to something that only a few months ago seemed almost unthinkable: a teaming up of the company with their arch-est of rivals - Marvel Studios.
This could take the form of a major purchase of the Spider-Man rights - though that seems unlikely given that the deal would be unlikely to suit either party financially, with Sony likely valuing the character far more highly than Marvel. It could also, however, form the basis of a pragmatic, fan-pleasing, joint-venture.
With Sony's box office takings failing to match those of Marvel Studios', this could be the rare, unlikely scenario that has so often be discussed - the one in which it could actually be in both studio's interests to consider a crossover of some sort. Marvel would gain access to the most iconic Marvel hero of them all, and open up storylines *cough*CivilWar*cough* that depend on the webslinger. Sony, in turn, would be able to tap into the richer heritage of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - and perhaps even borrow a spare supporting character or two.
Say, just in time for the lead up to Avengers 3.
It's most likely a pipe-dream - but if there was ever any chance of it happening then this moment - with Sony seemingly questioning the value of their crown jewel - would very much be it.
Now we just need to hope Kevin Feige is thinking the same thing.
[The Amazing Spider-Man 3](movie:671279) is currently set for release Summer 2016 - but for how long?
What do you guys think? Will Spider-Man be delayed from its 2016 release slot?