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The cast and crew of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 did a fair amount of press tied to the release this week of the first full trailer for Marc Webb’s sequel. We watched it. We dissected it. And we listened to every bit of insight they chose to share. But I can’t think of anything quite as major as Andrew Garfield admitting, on the record, that he might not be back for the already announced Amazing Spider-Man 4.
Garfield (and the rest of the cast) sat down with Yahoo Movies after the trailer was released, and answered questions about how they are approaching this sequel differently than they did the origin/reboot film. But when it came time to talk about continuing the story in Spider-Man 3 and 4, which Sony already gave release dates to, the actor hedged his bets by saying:
I mean I’m under contract for another one after this… as far as a fourth one? That’s not anything to do with me."
That has the potential to be a bomb shell. Let’s give Garfield the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he just means that it’s not up to him if Sony wants him back or not. He’s under contract for Webb’s planned trilogy, and if the studio wants to expand the universe beyond that, they might not WANT Garfield back. Audiences responded to Tobey Maguire in the role of Peter Parker at first. Some audiences moved on to embrace Garfield in the part as of last year. Will we want a new Spidey after Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man 3? Possibly. Maybe not. Who can say?
I’m not intentionally trying to sound vague. We just don’t know what is on the horizon when a franchise tries to plan this far in advance. Marvel is going through something very similar with its own franchise players. Robert Downey Jr. is owed a lot of money for playing Iron Man on screen. The studio has him locked up – as well as Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth. But when you keep adding sequels and spinoffs, it can be very difficult to maintain the cast that you started with and still keep everyone financially satisfied.
Here’s what we know. Garfield is 30. He’ll be 35 when Spidey 4 is supposed to come out in 2018. By then, he could be done with the franchise. Now, will we need to reboot? Recast? Start all over again? I, for one, don’t want to go down this road again. But it’s a real problem expanding franchises need to address. (I’m looking at you, Fox and Hugh Jackman and the Wolverine saga.) Here’s Garfield, on the record. Listen to him. It’s at the very end. What do you think he’s trying to say?