Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 3

When Sony debuted the teaser trailer for Sam Raimi's'Spider-Man 3' about a month back, it took a lot of fans by surprise with a feel that is decidedly darker than the first two installments. Its depiction of a black-suit wearing Spidey and the awesome CGI Sandman were met with resounding awe and excitement. But after loyal fans wiped away the tears and calmed their pulse rate down to a humanly safe level, they had some questions. What's the plot of the film? When do we get to see Venom? Are there really going to be at least three villains? At last, I have some answers (though, unfortunately, not all of them).

Sam Raimi and the cast -- Tobey Maguire (Peter Parker/Spidey), Kirsten Dunst (MJ), Topher Grace (Eddie Brock/Venom), Thomas Haden Church (Flint Marko/Sandman) and Bryce Dallas Howard (Gwen Stacy) -- showed up at Comic-Con yesterday to screen some never-before-seen footage and then speak -- albeit very tight-lipped -- about the film. I also had the opportunity to sit in and do some roundtable interviews with the cast and a one-on-one with Thomas Haden Church. Below is EVERYTHING I learned about 'Spidey 3.'

Topher Grace in Spider-Man 3

1) First, and this is the big one, the footage reveals our first look at Venom. At the very end of the clip, when the 'Spider-Man 3' logo has already come up and the footage appears to be over, it cuts to Eddie Brock standing in a church with the symbiote (the black gooey thing that presumably makes Peter/Spidey into a little bit of a badboy) dripping down on him. He then goes into massive convulsions as the symbiote engulfs him. The clip ends with a straight-on shot of Venom -- long face, sharp teeth, forked-tongue and all -- screaming into the camera. Pretty badass. The pic to the right is a little taste of this metamorphosis. You can download it as your wallpaper from the official 'Spidey' Web site.

2) Here's a quick rundown of the rest of the footage, some of which was unfinished computer animation: It opens much like the teaser, asking the question: "How long can one man fight he darkness before he finds it in himself?" and then dives right into the meat. We see Eddie Brock in a church flat-out asking God for one thing: a way to kill Peter Parker. We also see some more in-depth shots of Harry Osborn (James Franco) wreaking havoc using his daddy's old Green Goblin toys, and once again he isn't wearing the Goblin mask -- a good call, I think. Then there's some pretty epic footage of Spidey fighting Sandman. We see Spider-Man fighting Flint/Sandman in human form, but when Spidey mashes Flint's head up against a moving subway car it disintegrates into sand. There was also an unfinished animated shot of Spidey punching Flint and having his fist pass straight through him.

3) Raimi revealed that Harry Osborn's villain is neither the Green Goblin nor the Hobgoblin, although he does have elements of both.

4) The cast and Raimi couldn't really disclose much about the plot or the Peter-MJ-Harry-Gwen love square hinted at in the trailer. But Topher Grace did indicate that Eddie Brock/Venom pretty much wants Peter's life, women included -- so that could mean that yet another dude is vying for MJ's affections this time around. He also hinted that he will join the long line of villains to kindnap and terrorize the lovely Mary Jane.

5) Raimi and the cast insist that they are open to doing more 'Spider-Man' movies after this installment if there are good stories left to tell. That said, they also revealed that a couple of story lines that have been in the works since the first movie will be tied up here, just in case this is the final chapter. They wouldn't say what those story lines will be, but I've got a strong hunch one of them will be the Peter-MJ love story and another will be the Harry-Peter conflict. But I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

That's it from me for today. Come back this week for my full interview with Thomas Haden Church as well as more highlights from Comic-Con. There was just way too much cool stuff to write about in one weekend.

Watch the 'Spider-Man 3' teaser trailer

Tags: Spider-Man 3, Comics, Comic-Con, Summer Movies
categories Features, Cinematical