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Take this one with a big grain of salt for right now. (Really, just lean towards disbelief.) There’s a report, based on anonymous sources, that Spider-Man 4 — or Spider-M4n, as the studio is reportedly referring to the sequel — is in trouble. Villain indecision is supposedly leading to an unfinished script and an unhappy Sam Raimi. There’s precedent enough to lend vague creedence to this, but it could also be just another part of the development process, or total bullshit. Read on…

IESB and MovieMoron (not the most trust-inspiring name there, guys) are both reporting that, in addition to the working title being the execrable Spider-M4n,  there’s tension in the Spidey 4 camp and that development is currently stalled. The root seems to be disagreement over the villain; Raimi is said to favor the Vulture, while Sony is said to favor anyone else. No surprise there, as the Vulture, even if played by John Malkovich as rumored, has never been the most dynamic guy in the hero’s rogues gallery.

So while that argument goes on, the script stalls. Which is the more difficult part of the rumor to believe, as Sony has had one high-profile writer after another on this thing for the past year. What did all those hirings yield? Nothing more than a pile of notes?

Still, this isn’t the most difficult rumor to swallow, if only because there was well-documented villain squabbling behind the scenes of Spider-Man 3 as well. But development on what will be Sony’s biggest movie of 2011 is bound to be fraught with argument and difficulty, and this could just be an overblown report of what amounts to a routine part of the process.

Sony, for its part, is denying any trouble, through sources quoted on MTV and SuperHero Hype. That report says the production has just broken for the holidays and will resume in the new year.

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