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The Holy Trinity of The Amazing Spider-Man, at the moment, is Avi Arad, Marc Webb and Matt Tolmach. Oh, they owe everything to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko – the creators of Marvel’s immensely popular superhero. But Arad, Webb and Tolmach are the trio currently driving the current big screen interpretation of Spider-Man, and they came to San Diego Comic-Con with fresh footage and a wealth of information under their arms.
Sony was nice enough to get me a one-on-one interview with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 producer Tolmach during this year’s Con. We spoke during the initial Amazing Spider-Man press run, when the team was still nervous about introducing a new Peter Parker – and a British one, at that, in Andrew Garfield. But given that film’s success, Tolmach seemed more confident in their shared vision, and more eager to share with fans what they have in store for Spider-Man 2.
Here are the five most interesting things I learned about the ongoing Spider-Man universe from Tolmach.
1. As expected, they are mapping out a much larger Spider-Man Cinematic Universe.
Tolmach spoke about the casting of character actors like Paul Giamatti, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan and Chris Cooper for supporting parts in the upcoming sequel, noting that you do not add these players and waste them on one or two scenes. “We’re thinking long term,” he tells me. “As you know, we came out and announced we’re going to make a third movie and a fourth movie. [So] we’re seeding a universe.
“In our movie, Electro is the villain,” Tolmach continued. “He’s the focus of what we’re doing. But how cool is the idea that there are other villains out there? It portends all kinds of trouble for Spider Man down the road … [because] Oscorp is this sort of breeding ground for these creatures and these characters. But yes, we’re world building.”
2. The Sinister Six is a possibility.
One theory constantly floated by Spider-Man fans suggests that Webb’s movies are including villains like The Lizard, The Rhino, Electro and multiple Goblins so that our hero will one day face a massive villain team up in The Sinister Six. When asked about this, Tolmach tells me, “It is wishful thinking on [the fan’s] part, but it doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. It’s a great idea. I mean, we haven’t yet nailed down what … there’s the Spider Man movies, and then there are the movies that grow out of the universe of Spider Man. We haven’t defined those yet. We’re spending a lot of time thinking about it. That’s an honest answer.”
3. Announcing Spidey 3 and 4 didn’t drastically change their plans for part two … despite what Shailene Woodley thinks.
Shortly after we found out that Sony already has two additional Spider-Man movies on the docket, we learned that Woodley’s Mary Jane Watson would be scrubbed out of Spidey 2 altogether … and likely recast. But Tolmach ensures me that the game plan for Webb’s second Spidey was always in place, and the date claiming was more of what he calls “putting a flag in the ground.” He says this shows that Sony and Team Spidey is thinking ahead, a la Marvel, instead of reacting to success with their hands tied behind their back.
“Number Two is always Two, and we’re still doing what we were doing on it,” he said. “Announcing the new dates puts a flag in the ground in terms of, ‘Those are our release dates, and leave that alone.’ It gives you a working structure. If the release date is here, I know when we need to be shooting, when we need the script. It allows you to actually plot your course and to build the universe a little bit more systematically. When you know you’re making this one and that one, you start thinking a little bit more globally. It’s a cool thing.”
4. They sacrificed secrecy and opted to shoot in public to give The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as “New York” an atmosphere as possible.
“We were either going to shoot this in a vacuum on a sound stage and sacrifice, in this case New York,” Tolmach told me about the months-long shoot, which wrapped once Webb posted this commemorative video.
“We shot the whole thing in New York,” Tolmach continued. “And I’d rather go out there and have people catch glimpses of what we’re doing and have real sets and locations. So you’ll get the sense, even more in this movie, that Peter’s a New York kid defending this city because we shot the whole thing [in New York]. The last one, we didn’t shoot in New York. In this movie, you can’t help it. I mean, he is Peter Parker on a building in New York, on a street in New York. It’s real. You feel that.”
5. Finally, we’ll likely see a full trailer in the fall.
That’s what Tolmach tells me. And if I were to guess, I’d say that it will include the same footage of Electro and Spider-Man that captivated the crowds in Hall H. For more on my reaction, watch the clip below.