James Vanderbilt Gets Scribbling
Back in March 2011, we were all eagerly awaiting Marc Webb's web-slinger reboot The Amazing Spider-Man 's arrival in cinemas.
Little did we know that long before the movie hit cinemas, Sony had hired screenwriter James Vanderbilt to get working on a follow-up.
Having penned comic-book anti-hero fest The Losers and gripping thriller Zodiac, Vanderbilt's appointment gave fans some idea of where the studio was going with the picture.
Days Before Release: 1089
The Amazing Spider-Man Hits Cinemas
Fast forward to July 2012 - the summer of Spider-Man (and Batman, and The Avengers).
Webb's movie received glowing praise, with Total Film giving it a whopping four stars.
Despite the critical appreciation, some fans complained the reboot wasn't different enough from Sam Raimi's Spider-films.
Still, Raimi himself enjoyed it. "It was very hard for me to see the new Spider-Man movie, I felt so attached to it, I couldn’t see Spider-Man with another director; it’s like my love, and I didn’t want to walk in on my love with someone else. It was just like that.
Then I got over myself last week and said, ‘just see the damn thing’. And I did, and I loved it. I actually felt free. I thought, ‘why am I carrying around this baggage?’ Of course the next Spider-Man story should be told, and [Marc Webb] did a wonderful job telling that. I loved the movie, and I’m looking forward like a fan to the next installment. I love the comic book, and now I don’t feel bound, and I’m really glad somebody’s remaking it again."
Days Before Release: 654
Post-Credit Sequel Tease
Is as tradition for a Marvel movie, fans were given a hint-heavy post-credit scene which saw an incarcerated Dr. Connors receiving a visit from a typically shadowy and mysterious figure.
Rhys Ifans teased fans further, adding "Connors is sent to a high-security asylum, as you would be if you threw police towers across the Brooklyn Bridge... And he’s visited by, shall we say, a representative from Oscorp. How he gets into that cell and how he leaves that cell without the guards knowing? We have yet to find out.”
With the whole scene being accompanied by violent flashes of lightning, the talk quickly turned to Spidey's most Electric foe and the chances of him appearing in the new film.
Days Before Release: 654
The Franchise Is Confirmed
Following the roaring success (both critical and financial) of The Amazing Spider-Man , it seemed only logical that Sony would want to keep the Spidey train running.
Confirming the follow-ups that we'd all seen coming, producer Matt Tolmach announced that when it came to sequels they "knew that it was going to be more than one, and at the very least three", and lead actors Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone quickly signed up for the long-haul.
Days Before Release: 655
No Marc Webb?
In September 2012, Sony big-dog Douglas Belgrad gave an interview to The Hollywood Reporter that touched on the rumours that Webb would not be returning to the director's chair for the sequels.
"We'd really like him back," he said. "But there are obstacles. He has an obligation to Fox."
Contractually obliged to deliver 20th Century Fox another movie after they distributed his debut (500) Days Of Summer , it looked as if the franchise would have to continue without the director that reinvented it so successfully.
Days Before Release: 577
Webb Is Back!
Shortlists of possible replacement directors were ripped up as it was announced that regardless of his prior directorial commitments, Marc Webb would be returning to over-see the sequels.
Doug Belgrad gave the official statement, telling the press “We could not be more confident in the direction we are taking this new Spider-Man storyline and we are tremendously excited to be ramping up production again with Marc at the helm".
Days To Release: 568
Enter Mary Jane
In the first big piece of casting news, the studio announced that the infamous Mary Jane Watson would be making her first appearance in the sequel.
The Descendants break-out star Shailene Woodley bagged the covetable role of Peter Parker's 'other girlfriend', and The Hollywood Reporter t old us that although she would only have "a very small part" in the second film, it would be building towards MJ being an "integral lead" of The Amazing Spider-Man 3 .
Woodley's Mary Jane predecessor Kirsten Dunst gave her blessing to the casting, telling MTV News, "I think she’s a sweetheart and such a good actress. I’m happy. If I had to pick someone, I’m happy she’s following in my shoes.”
Days To Release: 547
Jamie Foxx Is Up For A Role
It didn't take long before the casting rumours began to fly, and it was Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx whose name was heard most frequently.
Although the role he was rumoured to be attached to was never named, the buzz was that Foxx would be taking on the part of the movie's big baddie - Marc Webb continued to confuse fans and critics alike as he dropped villain name after villain name in interviews:
"I like Green Goblin. I like Electro a lot. I think Electro is pretty fantastic… I've always liked Craven too. I think Craven is interesting. [And] Hobgoblin."
Foxx added fuel to the Electro fire when he tweeted, "Dressed up as Electro for Halloween last night. Costume fits well."
Days To Release: 534
Marc Webb told of his excitement to take the story in a very new direction and to be able to address the unanswered questions regarding Richard (Campbell Scott) and Mary (Embeth Davidtz) Parker.
"Now, as we're approaching the sequel, it's really exciting because I feel quite liberated. I have a universe that's my own. I don't have an obligation to the origin story. It's pretty fun and exciting and I can dig deeper into the parents".
Andrew Garfield echoed Webb's anticipation, saying, "I feel like we got over a hump with our first one. We had to reinstate the character [and] reinvigorate an audience... And I hope to bring more of this theme - the theme of the orphan".
Days To Release: 534
"Bigger eyes. Gnarly web shooters".
This was Marc Webb's response to a fan asking about the Spider-Man suit in TASM 2, and sounded like we'd be seeing a very different costume in the sequel; one that looks much more like the traditional suit seen in the original comics.
However, Andrew Garfield's reasoning behind the switch was less homage, more practicality, as he confessed that "the suit is undergoing a redesign because I couldn't urinate in it last time”. Nice.
Days To Release: 527
The Osborn Short-List
Casting the part of Peter's best mate and rich-kid-gone-bad Harry Osborn was always going to be a tricky task.
There were whispers aplenty around who would be taking on the role, with names like Brady Corbet ( Melancholia ), Dane DeHaan ( Kill Your Darlings ) and Alden Ehrenreich ( Stoker ) coming out as the firm favourites.
DeHaan addressed the rumours head on, saying "I have a lot of respect for Andrew Garfield as a person and an artist... If that opportunity were to come along, I would be really flattered and humbled to be a part of it".
Days To Release: 520
Jami Foxx finally officially confirmed that he would be joining the cast to play Max Dillon / Electro: a Spidey villain never before seen on-screen and a character that Marc Webb considers Peter Parker's greatest foe.
Webb told fans "We’ve got the biggest, most dangerous villain Spider-Man has ever faced: Electro".
Foxx shared his excitement to join the cast, adding, "I think Electro will be an exciting character to play because he's a... genius electrician-type person, and he gets the short end of the stick from the whole world".
Days To Release: 502
Dane DeHaan Wins Role
Webb took to Twitter to announce the casting of Dane DeHaan with the simple and very effective message, "Meet Harry Osborn. @danedehaan".
He went on to add: “Dane is an exciting and extraordinary young actor and he is a fantastic addition to our cast."
DeHaan comes with previous superhero experience, having already played a troubled teen tackling superpowers in Max Landis's 2012 action movie Chronicle .
Days To Release: 502
In December 2012, relatively unknown actor Asim Ahmad claimed to have been cast as Spider-Man nemesis Morbius, The Living Vampire.
Ahmad tweeted "Morbius is only mentioned in two pages, not a big part" suggesting that the team are setting him up for a bigger part in the sequel.
However, reports are now stating that the casting was mere folklore, and Ahmad isn't thought to have any connection to the movie. Whether or not this is a clever studio double bluff remains to be seen...
Days To Release: 492
Casting Call Spoilers
Until this point, the studio and crew had remained fairly tight-lipped when it came to revealing major plot points, but that all changed thanks to one advert.
On Location Productions were seen advertising for extras "to portray friends & family mourning at a funeral/ wake", immediately sending fans into a frenzy over who might be being mourned.
It's possible that this could be the cast saying goodbye to Captain Stacy (Denis Leary), but a major funeral scene suggests a major character getting the chop. Gulp.
Days To Release: 490
We all know that the origin story sees Harry Osborn putting on the infamous Green Goblin suit after his father's demise, and so it seemed logicial to assume that Harry wouldn't be turning bad anytime soon.
However, John Krokidas (who directed DeHaan in Kill Your Darlings ) got the fandom all a-flutter when he introduced his young star to their Sundance audience as "Dane DeHann...The Green Goblin!"
Whether it was a genuine mistake or an accidental teaser we don't quite know, although the numerous trailers since have certainly suggested it...
Days To Release: 453
Two New Names
As if the movie couldn't get any bigger, two names were announced as new additions to the cast.
Chalet Girl star Felicity Jones would be appearing in an unnamed role, and the always amazing Paul Giamatti had signed on to play back-up baddie and all-round super-criminal Aleksei Sytsevich, aka The Rhino.
Giamatti had been very vocal about his long-term love for the character in the past, saying, “I always thought, ‘Why don’t they have The Rhino in one of their movies?,’ but maybe The Rhino wasn’t that big of a deal for anybody but me... If they ever go with The Rhino, I would be ready and waiting.”
Days To Release: 446
Social media savvy Marc Webb teased fans with a pic from the set, along with the words "Day 1".
It was official - principal photography was go, and the crew prepared to start filming a movie with huge media interest.
Marc Webb shared his amazement at the press reactions, saying, "When I made (500) Days of Summer it was completely under the radar. There were no paparazzi around snapping pictures of the set. As we were shooting this movie, you realise just how big and curious the audience is for Spider-Man".
Days To Release: 439
Official Press Release
The Feburary 2013 press release finally offered a full cast list, teased a few new tidbits about the plot and officially announced the script takeover from Star Trek Into Darkness writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci as well as Jeff Pinkner:
"Peter hasn’t forgotten about the promise he made to Gwen’s father to protect her by staying away – but that’s a promise he just can’t keep. Things will change for Peter when a new villain, Electro (Jamie Foxx), emerges, an old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, and Peter uncovers new clues about his past."
Days To Release: 438
A Venomous Tweet
When Marc Webb tweeted a seemingly innocent photo of a school locker last year, nobody could have predicted the wild response.
So much more than 'just a locker', Locker 14 is the spot where Peter Parker and his buddy Eddie Brock discovered the Venom suit in The Ultimate Spider-Man comic books.
In a movie this carefully crafted, it seems unlikely that the photo was mere coincidence, and fans everywhere were convinced that Webb was warning them of the arrival of the black-suited bad guy.
Scriptwriter Kurtzman added to the rumours when he told an interviewer of his love for the character saying, "Part of what's interesting about Venom is that he can do all of the things that Spider-Man can't do, in a lot of ways. And I don't know, I guess that's why I respond to him."
Days To Release: 436
We finally got to see the brand-spanking new Spidey suit in all its glory as the movie's first official image was released, and fans were pleased to see the "cool improvements on the suit" that Webb had promised - slightly larger eyes and brighter colours.
In addition, a few days before Sony had proudly announced that "the film is the first in the history of the franchise that will be filmed entirely in New York City and New York State", and it wasn't long before leading man Andrew Garfield was spotted filming in New York - paps caught him inconspicuously dangling upside-down from a building.
Days To Release: 418
Welcome Chris Cooper
We had Harry, now we needed Norman.
American Beauty star Chris Cooper signed-on to play ailing (yet still intimidating) patriarch Norman Osborn, and gave a few hints as to what's in store for the Head of Oscorp.
It doesn't sound as if we'll be meeting Norm at the peak of his phyical fitness, as Cooper confessed, "It's an introduction to Norman Osborn, and, apparently, this leads to better things in Spider-Man 3 . I think it’s fair to say that he’s on his last legs and I don’t know if I can say anything more.”
Days To Release: 416
"Day 30. Ravencroft".
Yet another telling tweet from Marc Webb. This one gave us a glimpse inside the set of Ravencroft, the Spider-Man universe equivalent of Arkham Asylum.
Fans were quick to point out that the sign for Voltage Cells was undoubtedly related to the Electro storyline, and with notorious Spider-Man villains Carnage and The Chameleon being just a couple of Ravencroft's very dangerous residents we're hoping for baddie cameos galore.
Days To Release: 397
Webb's online diary of filming continued as he shared a pic that demonstrated just how powerful (and indeed dangerous) Jamie Foxx's Electro was going to be:
"Day 45. This is what happens when you try to give Electro a ticket".
Andrew Garfield showed a certain level of reverence when talking about his new arch-enemy, saying that "Electro is a god in terms of the power that he wields. To be faced with that creates a whole host of problems, obstacles and drama. That's great to have between those two people."
Days To Release: 375
Electro Shows Himself
The first shots of Jamie Foxx on set as Electro came as something as a shock, as his traditional green and yellow costume seen in the comics appeared to be long gone.
Foxx talked to Black Film about his iconic costume, saying "they want to have it more grounded and not as comic bookie, so it won’t be green and yellow. They want to try new things, like a liquid rubber", and the result was suitably terrifying - his face was a violent blue, with glowing lightning bolt veins clearly visible through his skin.
"We shot his exterior and then created a glowing light source that is buried deep within his core that exudes and generates electric light," Webb explained. "If you look at a cloud when a thunderstorm is coming and the lightning is within that cloud, we use that as a natural inspiration for the character."
Days To Release: 367
Fans were blessed with a veritable barrage of photos from the set, as the whole of New York went on Spidey watch.
Bystanders caught both pics and phone camera footage of Peter Parker hanging with Harry Osborn, as well as (perhaps more excitingly) Spider-Man taking on both Electro and Paul Giamatti's The Rhino in a spectacular showdown.
Andrew Garfield responded to those who called him an unlikely action hero, saying, "I think what’s great about Spider-Man is his physicality and his way of fighting is very specific to him. He’s not going to just throw punches and push his chest out. He has a trickster element, which Spider-Man has always had, with his wisecracks and his impossibly fast movements".
Days To Release: 416
Uh oh. Emma Stone was spotted on-set wearing a very familiar outfit - the mint green coat fans will recognise from her devastating death scene in Amazing Spider-Man #121.
Emma Stone herself came forward to defend the killing of Gwen, saying, “I think [her death is] a hugely important part of her story and of this incarnation of Spider-Man.. I think it’s a really important element to her character.
I mean, she is kind of most famous for how she departs. So that’s a weird thing to play, knowing about such an iconic part of her existence.”
However, Webb gave the impression that he might not be quite ready to let Emma (and Gwen) go just yet, as he said, "There are parts of the canon we feel really obligated to. There are parts that we deviate from. The Gwen Stacy saga is a very important and powerful one, but Emma is an incredibly beguiling actress, and I like having her around."
Days To Release: 347
Too Many Villains...
After the downfall of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 being largely due to the story's over-stuffing with unnecessary baddies, the announcement of more and more villains was getting even loyal fans all nervous.
Screenwriter Alex Kurtzman reassured the worried, telling them that decisions had not been made lightly when it came to character: "I think you have to go into it and say, 'is this character essential to the story or are you just throwing him in for no reason whatsoever".
Webb also weighed in on the debate, saying that "The main villain in this movie is Electro. That's the obstacle that he's got to fight, and Paul Giamatti simply makes an appearance".
Days To Release: 347
Aleksei Sytsevich Appears
We finally got to see a close-up of Giamatti as an angry-looking Aleksei Sytsevich in this brand new pic, and the oh-so-scary head tattoo only cements Sytsevich's hardman reputation.
There were no pics of the full Rhino suit just yet, but Giamatti promised that it would be something very special:
"In the comic books of old, he had a suit on that made him look like a rhino and it made him super strong... It's updated now. I have a particular type of suit but I don't think I'm supposed to talk about it. He's a Russian mobster because he's a Russian guy in the comic books."
Days To Release: 342
Webb tweeted yet another cryptic photo from set, showing us a futuristic and very minimal room, given the simple caption "The Future".
Fans have desperately been trying to discover whether it's another sneak peek inside Ravencroft, or something a wee bit more... OsCorp-y (it's a word).
Production designer Mark Friedberg gave more insight into the architecture of the movie, saying, "I’ve actually been building the ark for Darren Aronofsky’s Noah . But that film’s all about the past, and this one's more about the future.
It’s the place where science and things exciting and things nefarious happen, so that was probably the design challenge."
Days To Release: 334
Welcome Back Stan
You simply can't have a Marvel movie without an appearance from the legendary Stan Lee, and back in June he was spotted looking dapper in a pinstripe suit, filming his cameo in New York.
Hopefully he'll be given a slightly bigger guest spot this time after he complained that his last appearance as Midtown Science High School's distracted librarian was far too short, saying that it "was all right, but it wasn’t big enough. You refer to it as a cameo. Couldn’t we think of it as a leading role? Or couldn’t we think of it as a key scene that the whole movie sort of hinges on?
People haven’t stopped talking about it. But I think in the next one, maybe we ought to go a little deeper and probe the real me, what I have to offer… People are still talking about that cameo and saying 'why wasn’t that longer?'"
Days To Release: 320
Although Colm Feore's name had first appeared on the cast list back in February, there had been no clues as to which role he would be taking on. In June it was finally revealed that the Thor actor would be playing electrical engineer, and member of villain super-group The Sinister Six, Adrian Toomes, aka The Vulture.
Yes, that's right. Another villain.
Marc Webb immediately denied the casting, stating definitively "No. He's not playing that guy", but we don't really know who to believe anymore, especially after the whole Star Trek Into Darkness / Khan cover-up.
Days To Release: 313
Only a few months after the news broke of her casting, it was suddenly announced that Shailene Woodley and her character Mary Jane were being chopped from the movie.
Commenting on the shock cut, Marc Webb said: "I made a creative decision to streamline the story and focus on Peter and Gwen and their relationship. Shailene is an incredibly talented actress and while we only shot a few scenes with Mary Jane, we all love working with her."
Woodley praised Webb's brave decision to axe her, saying that "they were introducing so many characters, it didn't really make sense, because she is such a vital character to the comic books. So, they are holding off for future films."
Days To Release: 337
The Black Cat
Felicity Jones cracked under the pressure of constant questionning over her role in the movie, and gave a very telling answer when a journalist told her how excited he was to see her as the light-footed Felicia Hardy / Black Cat.
Jones replied with "Um, well, uhhh... possibly. I don't know, yeah. I kind of, it's umm...yeah, if that happens, that would be wonderful, yeah."
Days To Release: 337
The Franchise Expands
In June, Sony confirmed that not only would we be seeing The Amazing Spider-Man 3 , but a fourth movie as well, due for release in 2016 and 2018 respectively.
Sony Chairman Jeff Blake had the happy job of announcing the continuation of the series, saying "Spider-Man is our most important, most successful, and most beloved franchise, so we’re thrilled that we are in a position to lock in these prime release dates over the next five years".
Days To Release: 302
Marc Webb signalled the end of filming and the beginning of the long countdown to the release date when he tweeted "One Hundred Days of Spidey. That's a wrap. Thanks!"
Days To Release: 297
Spidey Swings Both Ways
The news that Mary Jane would be appearing in the Spider-Man sequels brought more casting rumours ( Cosmopolis actress Sarah Gadon to name one), but Andrew Garfield suggested that the casting director look in a very new direction.
"I was like, 'What if MJ is a dude?' Why can't we discover that Peter is exploring his sexuality? It's hardly even groundbreaking! ... So why can’t he be gay? Why can't he be into boys?"
Garfield even suggested that Friday Night Lights star Michael B. Jordan be considered for the part, raising the question "why not?" and inadvertently inspiring a whole lot of homoerotic fan fiction.
Days To Release: 293
Felicity 'Fesses Up
FINALLY. After months of speculation, Ms. Jones divulged that we'd all be guessing wrong and she was not the new reincarnation of The Black Cat.
She confided that she'll be playing "the Goblin's girlfriend. [She's] in a relationship with him, and his accomplice. [She's] on the dark side", adding more gravitas to the rumours that i