By now the ink has been dried on the contract for nearly a month and with barely two months until international fans get the first showings of Avengers:Age Of Ultron the speculation is reaching fever pitch.
Will we see Spider-Man debut in Age Of Ultron? Will it be Miles Morales or Peter Parker? Will we see a new, younger actor take the reigns?
Early comments from those involved in the deal indicated that we would be seeing a new actor take the role of Spidey and that Peter Parker's story would be finally told. However an interesting and somewhat contradictory note has appeared with Danny Elfman's addition to the latest Age of Ultron posters.
Do we REALLY need a new Spider-Man? or is there a swerve going on here?
The idea of a younger Spider-Man, inexperienced is appealing in many ways, for all the humor they have, the Avengers are very much a "grown up" team at present with even Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver being presented as mid-20's. A High School age Peter Parker would add a dynamic to the team, especially if they don't know how old he actually is. There is a valid list of young stars from Josh Hutcherson or Logan Lerman to Miles Teller who could all plausibly play a younger, inexperienced addition to the Avengers.
But Elfman's involvement raises an altogether more tantalizing prospect, one that could see perhaps the most audacious move that Marvel have made yet.
Imagine the post credit scene of Age of Ultron not being a post-credit scene at all but the movie ending with a once familiar voice telling us that twice now the Avengers have saved him and his family and the world itself. They allowed him to feel what it was like to be normal again, to be happy and safe but that the time has come for Peter Parker to rejoin the fight. The camera shows a picture of a familiar old lady and an urn and we see Tobey Maguire staring at his Spider-Man suit in the closet once again as a heavily pregnant Kirsten Dunst once again says "Go get em tiger", Elfman's score plays as Spider-Man swings back into action with the traditional "Yahoooo" and "I AM SPIDER-Man"...and what if that segment was directed by Sam Raimi?
Of course there are many options Marvel have when it comes to the Civil War arc, but arguably for any Peter Parker unmasking to be a part of it, for the "I've been Spider-Man since I was 15" to have weight, then would a younger guy be better? Or a Parker with years on the clock, who has lost some friends and loved ones along the way?
A full on integration of the Raimi canon would be ballsy to say the least, after all several characters are known to be dead, but there are also some very strong reasons to do so.
The Supporting cast of the Raimi movies was in nearly all cases perfect.
While it's unlikely Rosemary Harris could reprise her role as Aunt May for more than a flash back, this would fit with an older Peter and his reasons for choosing to "come out". It is somewhat inevitable Aunt May would die, and this is not something we would need to see for it to have poignancy and relevance.
In J.K Simmons they already have the definitive J.Jonah Jameson and with Simmons just landing an Oscar, it would be another feather in the MCU cap to keep him. The fans will pretty much demand he return if there is a new Spidey anyway.
While many disliked Kirsten Dunst, she was always a great foil for Maguire in that she was believable enough as someone who could both inspire and hurt Peter but who he ultimately would risk it all for every time. Gwen Stacey cannot be done better than Emma Stone for many people so arguably a younger Spidey would mean having to re-tread the romance again for either a new MJ or a new Gwen. If we've seen the origin we've also seen both love stories played out.
More importantly though, the villains were with the exception of Topher Grace all excellent.
Now here is where Marvel perhaps unveil what could and should be their masterstroke with and the strongest reason to do it.
They only have to use SOME of Raimi's ideas and movies. Canon is not strict, filmmakers are quickly realizing it's OK to eliminate a bad movie from the timeline or completely retcon, like Days Of Futures Past or the new Alien seems ready to do.
There is no rule that says Marvel have to use ALL of the elements of Raimi. They could easily take the parts that worked and leave out those that didn't.
For example Spiderman 3 could be erased and Otto Octavius survived S2. If Doc Ock could survive then why couldn't Willem Defoe's Norman Osborn?
Imagine Peter's shock if the man he thought long dead actually wasn't and had been working for the government and used the Green Goblin and Peter to allow this..
With 3 off the table it also allows a return of a non-scarred James Franco as Harry Osborn, if they are going to keep Norman dead then why not Harry in that role running the Thunderbolts? Hunting Cap, forming an uneasy alliance with Peter while he is pro-reg and then hunting him again when he is not?
While to some, this may seem like a backwards move what it would mean is instant familiarity and fan appreciation.
We all wanted that 4th Raimi installment or a better 3rd and over at Sony that can now happen with this deal. If we're going to have a Sinister Six movie, most fans would love to see Alfred Molina back as Doc Ock and organizing it with John Malkovich as the Vulture, Franco rather than De Haan and all those other villains that Raimi never got a chance to play with.
While Joss Whedon has the MCU as a whole and the Avengers, if they really are gonna be making Spidey-Movies over at Sony then is there a better guy to be doing it than the proven commodity and who would welcome the input of Marvel rather than the studio execs who ruined his vision to begin with?
Indeed Marvel's model to date has been based on ownership of the particular property leading to quality movies. Favreau at the start, then Joss and now the Russos and the pioneer of this was actually Sam Raimi on the first two Spiderman movies.
So why not bring him back with his team and let them pick up where they could have gone had they had Kevin Feige backing them instead of Avi Arad and the boneheads at Sony who demanded Venom, after all we can surely forgive the Jazz scene if it means we got another Spiderman 2 quality movie.
Commercial reasons may dictate that a new cast has to be found, that this idea could never work. But the reality is that Raimi's universe has the definitive movie versions of many characters already, was very much grounded in the reality of the MCU for the first two films and would pop their audience with the "dream team" aspect of it.
I have a feeling some kind of announcement is coming in the next few days about Spidey. Robert Downey Jr's announcement a few days ago kinda implies this. It may be confirming he is part of Civil War but may also be that there is an Iron Man: Civil War movie as well... if Civil War is done over 2 movies, then using Maguire and Raimi et al is probably the best option they have. It takes away the need for exposition that is better spent focusing on the conflict.
It's going to be exciting whichever way it goes but I have to admit, my geek fingers are well and truly crossed this happens.