When Marc Webb started adding actors the caliber of Chris Cooper, Jamie Foxx and Paul Giamatti to an Amazing Spider-Man roster that already included the likes of Sally Field and Martin Sheen, it became clear that the studio was mapping out a much larger Spider-Man cinematic universe. I wrote this piece explaining my expanding Spider-Man theory. It was retweeted by Webb with the message, “Think bigger.”

The fact that Webb retweeted my column was special. A career highlight, given the fact that I grew up on Web head and loved the director’s Amazing Spider-Man reboot. The fact that Webb brought it up at the start of our conversation at San Diego Comic-Con blew my mind.

What follows is a spirited, in-depth conversation about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and the world that Webb is trying to build on screen. I held very little back in terms of specifics, and Webb was as gracious and open as he could be … while still trying to protect the integrity of his sequel. We talked about Ravenscroft, Norman Osborn, Felicity Jones’ recent comments about dating a Goblin, and Webb’s hopes for a Sinister Six fight. I think Spider-Man fans will find it very informative. Here’s Marc Webb:

Marc Webb: Are you from North Carolina?

I am.

You wrote that piece. The one I retweeted.

You remember that?

Sure. “Think bigger.”

Yes! Damn, man. The fact that you retweeted the column made my world and the fact that you remember it, is blowing my mind.

Of course. Well, it was nice because … listen, I’ve listened to the Internet sometimes if I’m bored on a Sunday, or feeling insecure, which really is not a good time to go online.

Stay off Twitter.

But, yeah, that article that you wrote -- we had been talking about, you know, there’s so much possibility. And what I tried to do with the first movie was build out, or create, a foundation that had levels of nuance and teases that would continue on in an ongoing way. It’s incredibly complicated to think too far ahead of the game, because you want everything to feel right. And yet, you have to be very careful to not hold out or withhold the excitement you have, where you’re trying to create the movie that’s in front of you. That’s an all-consuming task.

That said, we are trying to create a world that feels a little bit more nuanced and a little bit bigger and I think there are a lot of characters in the Spider-Man universe that could justify their own movies. And I get really excited and titillated by that possibility. The reality of that is sort of dependent on a lot of factors that are sort of beyond my control, but certainly there is a lot of conversation that goes on behind closed doors about how to give life to that.

Is it scary that Marvel set up this expectation now for bigger worlds? Like with Sony, it feels like they’re trying to do with Spider-Man … not exactly what Marvel did, but they’re at least thinking of that blueprint.

Well, it is Marvel, but I think what people are realizing is that people love to spend time in these worlds, and the audience demands and expects and is curious about how well you can develop sort of little characters that are in the shadows. As a storyteller, it’s really fun to think about that kind of stuff.

But when you start putting people like Paul Giamatti and Chris Cooper into these roles, it’s obvious you’re not using them for one scene.

Exactly. You want to build out, yes, the possibility of something more. And I think, not just since The Avengers, but even Harry Potter, I think they created a universe. I mean, obviously the books were incredibly well crafted and well thought out, and that allows for really wonderful actors to come in and chew off deep, meaty roles. Again, it’s really fun as a filmmaker, as a storyteller, to think about those possibilities.

You know, you say you check the Internet. One of the theories fans keep throwing out involves The Sinister Six. How much of that is wishful thinking on a passionate fan base aside and how much of it is discussed?

Listen, I don’t want to give away too much. I really don’t. I don’t want to give away too much. I want to preserve the surprise -- which is always under attack, for the right reasons. People are enthusiastic and they’re curious, but you know, it’s really difficult to let people get into that theater for the first time and experience it, that sense of awe and curiosity, and I think that’s a little bit tragic.

But I think ... I’m a fan of The Sinister Six, I’ll say that. I think if you pay attention to this second movie, you’ll see hints of what’s to come.

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