Every day now appears to bear news regarding Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Spider-Man reboot, which might be titled either The Spectacular Spider-Man or Spider-Man: The New Avenger, and is rumored take place during Peter Parker’s high school years. The title role has yet to be cast, but the front-runners reportedly include Nat Wolff, Asa Butterfield, Tom Holland, Timothée Chalamet, and Liam James.
Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods) supposedly had been the studios’ top choice to write and direct the reboot, but recently a list of possible directors up for the job was released by Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. and Goddard’s name is nowhere to be found. Instead it appears as if Marvel and Sony are on the hunt for someone who will bring a lighter touch to the proceedings because the list features the likes of Jonathan Levine, Jared Hess, Jason Moore, Theodore Melfi, and the team of John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein.
Each name on this list has some respectable credentials when it comes to cinematic levity: Levine’s credits include All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, The Wackness, 50/50, the horror-comedy hit Warm Bodies, and he had once been a prime candidate to direct Doctor Strange for Marvel; Hess has the comedy cult classic Napoleon Dynamite and the endearingly goofy Mexican wrestling farce Nacho Libre to his name; Moore directed the smash hit Pitch Perfect after honing his craft with several successful Broadway musicals, including Avenue Q; Melfi most recently made his directorial debut on the Bill Murray comedy St. Vincent; and Daley and Goldstein collaborated on the screenplay for the comedy hit Horrible Bosses (as well as its 2014 sequel) before making their joint directorial bow on the upcoming reboot of the National Lampoon’s Vacation series.
Levine has the most diverse background of these candidates and his directing style favors getting the most out of his actors instead of relying heavily on flashy visuals, so he would certainly be the experienced choice to work on a Marvel feature. On the other hand, everything about Hess’s films is very stylized and offbeat, and though he would be an inspired choice to direct a Spider-Man movie it’s doubtful his way of making films would go hand-in-hand with the Marvel Studios house style. Daley and Goldstein might get the nod if their Vacation hits later this summer. As for Moore and Melfi, they sure know how to balance humor and heart in their movies, so each director’s chance of nabbing this coveted gig have to be as good as that of the others.
In this case I’m hoping for Levine, but secretly praying that Goddard is still in the mix somehow.
The still-untitled Spider-Man reboot currently has a theatrical release date of July 28, 2017. The new Spidey is expected to make his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Captain America: Civil War, which opens on May 6, 2016.