Sony and Raimi Can’t Decide on a Spidey Villain

As much as they like the idea of Sam Raimi returning to direct the fourth (and possibly fifth) installment of their mega franchise “Spider-Man”, Sony is apparently a little weary of the director’s choice of villains for the fourth movie. According to the trades, while Raimi would like the Vulture to be Spider-Man’s latest villain, Sony is thinking more of The Black Cat as a villain and potential love interest. As a result, the film may be knocked from its expected May 11, 2011 release date.

Word is, the source of the conflict stems from the last “Spider-Man” movie, which, let’s face it, wasn’t exactly the franchise’s high point. Its many problems have been documented here and elsewhere, so I won’t get into it again. The problem, apparently, was that Raimi wanted to use the Vulture in conjunction with Sandman back on the third part, but the studio pushed him to swap the old winged geezer with Venom instead. Now that he’s back for part four, Raimi is once again pushing to get the Vulture in the movie, while Sony isn’t so sure. The amusing thing about Raimi wanting the Vulture for “Spider-Man 3” is that, well, it probably wouldn’t have mattered. The movie would still have had one villain too many.

So what’s the solution? Whatever it is, they better come up with it quick, because production on “Spider-Man 4” was scheduled to commence this summer. Of course, it’s just a script issue, and as soon as Raimi and Sony agree on a villain (or two), it wouldn’t take a writer too long to bang out an appropriate script to get the film ready for a summer start date. Some high-profile names have already worked on various drafts of the script, from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire to Gary Ross. There has to be something there worth filming by summer.

So who is right here? Does Raimi wanting The Vulture sound better than Sony wanting the Black Cat? I guess we’ll find out when “Spider-Man 4” lands in 2011. Maybe.

Really? An old geezer with wings or me? This is, like, a hard choice?