With Amazing Spider-Man 2 out of the way now – and see last Friday's blog for my thoughts there – thoughts turn to the future of the franchise. In the build up to the release Sony announced they had plans for not only ASM 3, but 4 as well. This brought comments from Andrew Garfield that he's only contracted for one more, and he's not had any discussions about anything after that. You couldn't help get the distinct impression that he wanted out. We're not going to be getting any Hugh Jackman type love affairs with his character and still playing him fifteen years later.
In another interview Garfield quickly brings up the possibility of relative newcomer to comics Miles Morales taking centre stage of a future movie. It's an interesting idea handing the film franchise over to the Spider-Man who replaced Peter Parker in the Ultimate comics. Garfield is clearly laying the groundwork for him leaving, but is Morales the best idea?
It depends. If/When Andrew Garfield decides to hang up the tights it might be the best option. Sony are clearly trying to create a big movie universe in hopes of matching Disney and the MCU, they've already announced two spin-off movies with the Sinister Six and Venom. Garfield leaving gives them three options. The first is the obvious recasting of Peter and just keep going, like James Bond change the actor and pretend it didn't happen. The most likely of events, but you find with big studios and franchises, a new actor usually leads to the second option.
Yet another reboot, and dear god I really don't want to see that spider bite again. It would also undo all the universe work that they hope to do in the next few years. It seems a step backwards, and I'm not entirely sure the general public will stand for Spider-Man being rebooted every three films.
That leaves finding a different Spider-Man. Right now Morales seems to be the most likely option. He's certainly been taken to the mainstream more than any other previous other wall crawler. The story of a black kid behind the mask was genius by Bendis. Morales being Black Hispanic gives another section of society an in with Spidey, and besides his mask has always allowed it to be ambiguous to exactly which race is behind the mask. Something a couple of comic creators played with on occasion, even before Morales.
Unfortunately, Sony have outright thrown the idea out the minute a reporter put it to them, as if it was imbecilic, and that's a shame because it's the perfect excuse to keep the franchise alive post-Garfield. If not Miles Morales then who? My absolute favourite, Ben Reilly, is just a clone of Peter, and so you still need Garfield. The same goes for Kaine. Having barely read Miles I have no real connection to the character, and therefore have no real desire to see him on the screen other than the powerful message it would send. The only other one I can think of is Miguel O'Hara aka Spider-Man 2099, and while Miguel is awesome, he just wouldn't have the same impact from the media as Miles Morales would.
Then again, you could just take a break from Spider-Man and concentrate on the larger universe. Maybe Sony can talk Garfield into staying a bit longer if he only has to do cameos. Go for what Fox is rumoured to be thinking with X-Men and step away from the core. Admittedly it's a bit more difficult with Spider-Man than X-Men though. What about a Black Cat movie? She's perfect for a standalone, and a more heist style superhero film would be a great departure from what people expect, something Disney has been the only studio willing to do so far. And who owns Spider-Woman? Jessica Drew is incredibly unconnected to Spider-Man in-universe, but obviously she's just a distaff counterpart created so DC or anyone else couldn't cash-in on Parker's popularity. You could even take the Ultimate route and make Jessica a female clone of Peter, after all Brian Bendis made clones cool again.
Sony really do have a lot of options to keep Spider-Man running without actually using Andrew Garfield/Peter Parker for awhile. Miles Morales is a good option, and I hope Sony change their mind, at least from an outright refusal anyway.