More Spider-Man news: A Dark Knight reboot?

With yesterday's shocking news that Sony was pulling the plug on Spider-Man 4, now come more details about that high-school-based reboot, which Zodiac's James Vanderbilt is reportedly already writing.

The New York Times says that script focuses on Peter Parker in high school and would debut in the summer of 2012 with a new cast and filmmaking team.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man director Sam Raimi issued a gracious statement about the news:

"Working on the 'Spider-Man' movies was the experience of a lifetime for me. While we were looking forward to doing a fourth one together, the studio and Marvel have a unique opportunity to take the franchise in a new direction, and I know they will do a terrific job."

The Los Angeles Times reported that Raimi and Sony parted ways in part over budget: The studio wanted to spend $230 million for the fourth installment, quite a bit less than the earlier films, and Raimi felt this was inadequate.

Entertainment Weekly, meanwhile, said the studio is seeking a more Dark Knight approach to the franchise, which it had been developing in secret:

The next Spider-Man film will be a reboot of the franchise, not a continuation of series Sam Raimi created back in 2002—in a move similar to Batman Begins restarting the Batman franchise seven years after Batman and Robin underwhelmed fans and critics.

This time around, the series will place Peter Parker in a more contemporary setting, as a teenager battling today's issues. The decision to go with an origin story stemmed from Sony developing two Spidey projects simultaneously. According to studio insiders, Sony was working on both Raimi's Spider-Man 4 and the new origin story from James Vanderbilt, who wrote Zodiac. The original plan was to keep the Spider-Man gang together for one last film in 2011 before rebooting the series in 2012. When it became clear that Raimi would not be able to make the summer 2011 release date planned for Spider-Man 4, the studio opted to scrap Spider-Man 4 altogether, and focus solely on the series reboot.

What do you think of this new direction?

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