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You know that little thing about Sony developing other characters related to Spider-Man? It’s far bigger than you thought. The studio just announced the Venom movie that has been rumored for years, and a Sinister Six film as well. That’s right — unlike some other studio approaches, when it comes to Spider-Man and Sony, the spin-off films are for the bad guys. That’s pretty wild.

To make these movies a creative “brain trust” has been formed, including Marc WebbAlex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Ed Solomon, and Drew Goddard. Together they will collaboratively develop these films as a linked set of projects.

More details are below.

It gets more unusual than just the fact of developing villain movies: the fourth Amazing Spider-Man film now seems to be the Sinister Six film, which Drew Goddard will write and possibly direct. Now we know why Andrew Garfield just said the fourth film is “not anything to do with me,” as the movie will presumably focus on characters such as the Lizard, Rhino, Electro, Green Goblin, Vulture, and Doctor Octopus.

Alex Kurtzman, meanwhile, will direct Venom, and that means they’ve got an alien symbiote to work in to the story. And that probably explains why he’s no longer part of the writing team for Star Trek 3.

The press release comes from Sony, via the Electro Arrives viral site:

CULVER CITY, Calif., December 12, 2013 – In a move to forge a new legacy in the story of Peter Parker on screen, Sony Pictures Entertainment, in association with Marvel Entertainment, is developing several new projects in the Spider-Man franchise, with Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Ed Solomon, and Drew Goddard to collaborate on overseeing the developing story over several films that will be produced by Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad,president of Columbia Pictures, and Hannah Minghella, president of Production for the studio.

The five writers, along with the two producers and Marc Webb, have formed a franchise brain trust to expand the universe for the brand and to develop a continuous tone and thread throughout the films. Under the deals, the studio announced that Kurtzman & Orci & Pinkner are writing the screenplay for The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which the studio hopes Webb will return to direct; the film will go into production next fall for release on June 10, 2016. In addition, the team will build on the cinematic foundation laid by Webb, Arad, and Tolmach in the first two movies. They will expand the franchise as Kurtzman & Orci & Solomon will write the screenplay for Venom, which Kurtzman will direct; also, Goddard will write, with an eye to direct, The Sinister Six, focusing on the villains in the franchise. Hannah Minghella and Rachel O’Connor will oversee the development and production of these films for the studio.

In tapping these five writers, the studio and the producers are guiding the future of the franchise with the writer/producers who have each played significant and key roles in developing such highly successful franchises, films, and series as Star Trek, Transformers, “Alias,” “Fringe,” Men
in Black, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, World War Z, “Lost,” Cloverfield, The Cabin in the Woods, and Marvel’s upcoming “Daredevil” series.

Commenting on the announcement, Belgrad said, “The Spider-Man film franchise is one of our studio’s greatest assets. We are thrilled with the creative team we have assembled to delve more deeply into the world that Marc, Avi and Matt have begun to explore in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. We believe that Marc, Alex, and Drew have uniquely exciting visions for how to expand the Spider-Man universe in each of these upcoming films.” Arad and Tolmach added, “This collaboration was born out of the great experience we and Marc had working with Alex, Bob, and Jeff on The Amazing Spider-Man 2. With more than fifty years’ wealth of stories in the comic books to draw upon for inspiration, the Spider-Man universe is truly boundless; in addition, the Spider-Man comics have the greatest rogues gallery of any series, and to have the chance to explore that on film is truly thrilling. Until now, we have approached each film as a separate, self-contained entity, but with this move, we have the opportunity to grow the franchise by looking to the future as we develop a continuous arc for the story. That is what Alex, Bob, Jeff, Ed, and Drew will do in this unprecedented collaboration, and we’re excited about the directions they are taking the character and the world.”

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We don’t have a release date for Venom at this point, but the previously announced date for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is June 10, 2016, and since The Amazing Spider-Man 4 was set for May 4, 2018 we’ll assume for the time being that’s when Sinister Six will arrive.

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