Kevin Feige might be the sorcerer supreme of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but when it comes to the "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (and it's own expanding universe), Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are it. Arad is the guy who, back when he ran Marvel, got the comics company back on its feet and started Marvel Studios that would eventually rival any of its Hollywood contemporaries. (It's also worth noting that without his aggressively innovative management, Disney would have never bought Marvel). Arad now shepherds the crown jewel property that is, as of yet, out of Disney's hands: Spider-Man. Together with Tolmach, Arad's new goal is to challenge Marvel's sprawling cinematic landscape, complete with a whole continuum of spin-offs and sequels. We recently sat down with the pair and talked about the possibility of multiple cinematic Spider-Men, if the Mary Jane footage will ever see the light of day, and whether or not they see the Spider-universe infecting the small screen too.
First and foremost, this piece contains spoilers. So if you're squeamish about that sort of thing, it might be a better idea to come back after you actually see the movie. If you know the comics well and have a strong constitution, please, read on.
These two are the keepers to an entire vault of secrets regarding "The Amazing Spider-Man" and the planned "Venom" and "Sinister Six" spin-offs, as well as things that we're fairly certain are in the works but have yet to be announced. They're also politicians, so please read between the lines with some of this stuff...
With Webb and Garfield both confirming that they're done after the third movie, will you be continuing on with "The Amazing Spider-Man" movies?
Arad: Spider-Man is the biggest character and can be filled in by able actors; he's survived for over 50 years. And I think that he will around for at least another 100 years or more. He is just is one of the most enduring role models and one of the only superheroes who starts at this age and keeps going.
Tolmach: We're also nowhere near there. Because we've got "Sinister Six," "Venom," "Spider-Man 3." Here is what we will tell you: they all come out of the universe of Spider-Man. Who you see, who you don't see, we're not going to tell you now. But we're nowhere near done with them.
Are Miles Morales ("Ultimate Spider-Man"), Ben Reilly (clone Spider-Man) or Miguel O'Hara ("Spider-Man 2099") on the table? If you want a Spider-Man movie every year why not bring in some of the other variations?
Arad: No. The one thing you cannot do, when you have a phenomena that has stood the test of time, you have to be true to the real character inside – who is Peter Parker? What are the biggest effects on his life? Then you can draw in time, and you can consider today's world in many ways. But to have multiple ones… I don't know if you remember, but Marvel tried it. And it was almost the end of Spider-Man.
So Spider-Man in the cinematic realm will always be Peter Parker?
Tolmach: As far as we're concerned. The guys who take it over after us… Who knows…
Is "Venom" the beginning of a separate franchise? Are you looking at sequels for that?
Tolmach: It certainly could be. But again: they're all going to converge in some way.