Writer hired for Spider-Man 5 and 6

Spider-Man 4 is eyeing a production start early next year, and Sony Pictures has already hired screenwriter James Vanderbilt to draft chapters five and six, Variety reported.

Vanderbilt was the first writer on Spider-Man 4; director Sam Raimi brought on "Rabbit Hole" playwright David Lindsay-Abaire to rewrite him, and Gary Ross is now rewriting that script. Spider-Man 4 is aiming for a May 2011 release.

Here's what the trade paper reported:

Raimi didn't embrace all of Vanderbilt's ideas, but execs at Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios have. Vanderbilt has been hired to pen the fifth and sixth movies, which have an interconnected storyline. That's what was originally discussed when Vanderbilt signed on to write Spider-Man 4, but the idea of shooting a fourth and fifth film back to back with the original cast was scrapped.

Sources said it was unclear whether Raimi, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst will be back. If they aren't, Vanderbilt's script would be the blueprint for a franchise reboot.

After committing to his fourth Spider-Man film, Raimi signed on to direct a new franchise based on the massively multiplayer role-playing online computer game World of Warcraft for Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros.

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