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If I told you this story involved James Franco, Marvel Studios, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Sony Pictures, Spider-Man, computer hacking, and Seth Rogen, would you buy it? I hope so, because here is the stranger-than-fiction scoop.

Late this month Rogen and Franco will star in a action-comedy called, The Interview. The screenplay was co-written and directed by Rogen and follows a bumbling news team who get sent undercover to assassinate the North Korean dictator. The movie looks to not take itself seriously and to be satirical in tone, however the North Korean government was not pleased. After sending threatening messages to the U.S. government to not release the film, North Korea took action. Sony recently had their systems hacked and it has been strongly suggested that it was in fact North Korea in retaliation.

Sony's confidential files are being leaked and it has been revealed that there has been a lot of ongoing talks between Sony and Marvel Studios in recent months. These negotiations go all the way to the heads of Sony and Walt Disney, Kaz Hirai and Robert Iger. A series of emails was uncovered proving that the recent rumors of Spider-Man joining the Marvel cinematic universe, not only was a possibility, but almost happened. We know that there has at least been open dialogue between the studios for years. It has been known that the Oscorp tower from The Amazing Spider-Man series was almost included in The Avengers, but the only reason that it wasn't inserted was that they simply ran out of time.

In a report published yesterday in the Wall Street Journal explains what exactly happened between the two studios:

In an Oct. 30 e-mail, Sony Pictures president Doug Belgrad tells Ms. Pascal about a potential scenario that would see Marvel produce a new trilogy of Spider-Man movies while Sony retains “creative control, marketing and distribution.”
In a separate e-mail, Ms. Pascal tells a business partner that Marvel wanted to include Spider-Man in its planned third “Captain America” movie...
The talks with Marvel eventually broke down and Sony is now planning to go ahead with its own Spider-Man slate, according to people familiar with the matter.
As of late November, executives were planning a “Spidey summit” for January to discuss future plans. Among projects in development are an animated Spider-Man comedy that would be produced by Chris Miller and Phil Lord, the team behind “22 Jump Street” and “The Lego Movie,” as well as previously disclosed Spider-Man spin-offs focused on villain team Sinister Six, super-foe Venom, and women from the webslinger’s life.

Marvel Studios was initially trying to do a true adaptation of the epic Civil War storyline by including Peter Parker in the saga. In the comic storyline, Spider-Man reveals his identity and becomes torn between the two sides of the political conflict, represented by Captain America and Iron Man. The inclusion of the character would have created a cinematic event whose impact would have only been equaled by the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. From a narrative standpoint it shouldn't affect Captain America: Civil War much since it is widely assumed that Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther will be more than capable of stepping in and filling the void of the webslinger.

The most unfortunate part of the story is where it now leaves the state of the Spider-Man franchise. There was almost a deal in place where a new Marvel produced trilogy of Spider-Man films would have been made and Sony would have distributed them. However it is unclear how Sony intended on maintaining "creative control" in that scenario, since their creative control has put the character in the dark spot that it is currently in. According to Slashfilm, Sony is now so directionless that they have been trying to woo the original Spider-Man trilogy director, Sam Raimi, back to either direct or produce another Spidey movie. It looks as if January will be crucial for the future of Spider-Man on film.

Honestly, all of the options that they have laid out seem like losing propositions. The best option of the bunch seems to be the animated project to be produced by Chris Miller and Phil Lord. However there have been successful Spider-Man cartoons for decades. That should not be a substitute for a quality live-action film. Making a Venom spin-off movie simply does not make sense without the character being introduced in the proper Spider-Man universe. The same principle holds true for a movie about the "women from the webslinger's life." (What does that even mean anyways? Is Sony planning on making a Spidey's Angels movie?) And an effort to make a Sinister Six movie at this point would seem derivative of Warner Bros' A-list filled Suicide Squad, which is sure to set a new standard for how to put together a quality anti-hero team-up movie.

This is a huge story and we surely have not gotten all of the details yet. We will be sure to bring you the latest on the state of Marvel and Spider-Man on film. What direction do you think that Sony should go in with the Spider-Man franchise now? Let us know on the comment boards!

Source: Point of Geeks


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