The Spider-Man franchise is loosely plotted out to at least six instalments — but don’t expect any of the key actors or director and guiding light Sam Raimi to last that long.
Raimi says three is enough for him, even if the series remains as popular as the 2002 original was and the current first sequel is expected to be.
“I can’t imagine that I’d have the strength to direct another one after the third one,” Raimi says in Los Angeles, where Sony Pictures Studios has already begun preliminary production on Spider-Man 3, with a tentative 2007 release date.
The stars are all poised to return, Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Kirsten Dunst as Spidey’s achy breaky love Mary Jane Watson, and James Franco as young industrialist Harry Osborn, Peter’s best friend and Spider-Man’s worst enemy.
“I really want to take Peter Parker to the next step in his journey,” Raimi says of his enthusiasm for part three. “I’m very curious about him myself: What will happen? I have some things that might happen and I really think I know the character very well.”
After that? Let somebody else worry about it, Raimi says of the long-term.
Dunst is just as adamant that she won’t be back as Mary Jane Watson either. “Three’s enough. I think. You know, don’t wear out a good thing too much. It will be it, yeah! I’m only contracted to three and I don’t see me signing on to a fourth and a fifth and a ….”
Dunst is hoping that the filmmakers will not kill off Mary Jane in Spider-Man 3. Too cliched, she says.
“I don’t know what will happen. I hope she doesn’t die in the third. That’s kind of an obvious way to go: ‘We have to end it so let’s just kill her!’
“It would actually be really interesting if Spider-Man died,” she adds with a mischievous grin. “Why doesn’t the superhero ever die? It would be so sad and beautiful. I think that, if Mary Jane was alone and pregnant and he dies, she could give birth to a Spider-Baby and carry on the series with another young boy, or something like that. Because I doubt that Tobey would come back for a fourth or a fifth either.”
Maguire did leave open the possibility, however, as unlikely as it seems to him now.
“Well, I don’t know if I would make a statement like that,” Maguire says when told of how final both Raimi and Dunst made their position seem.
“But I don’t anticipate doing a fourth movie, you know. Look, I think that three’s probably enough for me, but you never know. If they sent me a script that was better than any other script I’ve ever read and offered me a piece of Sony Corporation … (he smiles, knowing he has already taken in a reported $20 million for his re-negotiated salary for Spider-Man 2 and stands to make even more next time) … Never say never, you know. Sony’s a big corporation.”