Face it, Tiger, We Hit the Jackpot!

With director Marc Webb and stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone signed, sealed and delivered for a sequel to this summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man, it’s time to start speculating about the working-titled Amazing Spider-Man 2.

While people wonder which members of the rogues’ gallery Spidey should battle next, the filmmakers are concentrating on complicating Peter Parker’s personal life first. The Hollywood Reporter says Shailene Woodley (breakout star of The Descendants) has secured the role of red-haired temptress Mary Jane Watson, who was the primary love interest in the three Spider-Man movies starring Tobey Maguire, in which Kirsten Dunst played M.J.

The addition of Mary Jane sends a strong signal about the direction of the sequel and gives a big hint about the baddie. THR also confirms that the “studio seeks to build to the classic ‘Death of Gwen Stacy’ story.” In the comic book series, Gwen Stacy was Peter’s first love — until she became collateral damage in a battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. As a consequence, M.J. will play a very tiny role in movie, laying the groundwork for a bigger role in any possible third film.

Peter meets M.J.

I think Woodley is a terrific choice for this character; she’s gorgeous and has a feistiness about her that doesn’t seem bitchy. So she appears to be a great blend of strong and sexy, which is M.J. all the way.

After getting noticed playing the lead in ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Woodley was cast as George Clooney’s rebellious daughter in The Descendants — a role that earned her a boatload of critical adoration, including a Golden Globes nomination for best supporting actress, and won her an Independent Spirit Award.

As luck would have it, TSLOTAT was just canceled, so Woodley is filling her schedule. In addition to the Spidey flick, Woodley has also booked the lead role in Divergent, the adaptation of the Young Adult novel tipped as the next Hunger Games.

Webb of Intrigue: Spidey’s New Director

Marc Webb

So there’s a new director at the helm of the Spider-Man movie franchise: Marc Webb (no pun intended), whose (500) Days of Summer made such a splash last year, is taking the reins from genre fave Sam Raimi. Some reports indicate that Webb has signed to make a trilogy of films for Columbia.

First of all, a round of applause for all of Raimi’s hard work and creativity. His first two Spidey films were great fun, and the second is certainly one of my favorite superhero films to date; it will go down in cinema history as a classic. The third installment? Well… not so much. Spider-Man 3 fell into the textbook trap of how to ruin a superhero movie: overstuff it with everything (including the kitchen sink) you can lay hands on. So, the less said about that, the better. Let’s remember Alfred Molina’s stirring turn as Dr. Octopus, and Spidey’s heroic rescue of the runaway commuter train in Spider-Man 2.
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