With Spider-Man 3 arriving on DVD today, it's fitting that we should receive a major announcement regardingSpider-Man 4. Entertainment Weekly reports that James Vanderbilt (who penned the very awesome Zodiac) has been hired to write the script for Spidey 4, and Sony plans to swing the fourquel into theaters in 2009 (most likely early summer). Whether or not Vanderbilt will be the only writer to take on the project is not known; I wouldn't be surprised if this thing passes through the hands of at least two more writers before it moves ahead. Personally, I don't see the impending writer's strike lasting too long (if it happens at all), and so Vanderbilt should start plugging away almost immediately ... if he hasn't already done so. Most likely he pitched his idea to Sony with a full outline, and so I can't see it taking that long to punch out a draft or two.
What we don't know at this moment is whether Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and Sam Raimi will return to the franchise. Raimi has already stated that he wants to be involved in some capacity (most likely as producer), and after taking a critical lashing following Spider-Man 3, it'll be interesting to see if Raimi decides to direct one more. Of course, it probably depends on Maguire and Dunst to a certain degree, but if you ask me, I'd like to see them start from scratch with a new cast and director. Feel free to continue the storyline, but this franchise could use some new blood. There's a writer. There's a potential release year. What say you?