Why He Might Do It: The young director looks more and more like an A-list director of the future, even after only two movies. Both "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" show the visual and comedy chops that seem to be vital to a "Spider-Man" movie, and this year's hotly anticipated "Scott Pilgrim Versus The World" blends action and romance in a similar way. Wright'd clearly bring the younger, fresher feel that the studio seem to be after, and he's gotten blockbuster experience at the feet of the masters by co-writing the script for Spielberg and Jackson's "Tintin" movie.
What Might Prevent Him: Wright's already attached to write and direct another Marvel comic movie "Ant Man" (although we're increasingly convinced it won't happen — simply not enough of a priority for Marvel), as well as "Baby Driver," an action-comedy for Working Title. Plus, until "Scott Pilgrim" opens, he's likely to be treated as something of an unknown quality, unless Sony execs flip for early footage the way Jason Reitman did. Plus, we'd rather he didn't do it if it meant another delay in the third entry in the "Blood & Cornetto" trilogy.
Why He Might Do It: A former music video director, Fleischer scored a big sleeper hit this fall with "Zombieland," which nearly tripled its $25 million budget (and the film looked like it could have cost many times that). Fleischer undeniably has visual panache, but for us, the movie worked because of the relationship between the characters, which the helmer proved equally adept at maintaining. Plus, Sony were behind "Zombieland," so there seems to be a pretty good relationship.
What Might Prevent Him: A leap from a $25 million budget to a $150 million budget is a big one, and the studio may be confident in Fleischer, but possibly not that confident. But then again, what was Raimi's biggest budget prior to the first "Spider-Man?" If we were Sony executives, we reckon he'd be a safe pair of hands.
Why He Might Do It: A commenter suggested this one, and we can see why — "Wanted" was a kinetic, visually inventive action movie that made a decent chunk of change, and Bekmambetov isn't immediately attached to anything else — there's been talk of a sequel to that movie, but no real forward movement. And we're sort of tantalized by the idea of the director of "Night Watch" tackling some of the Spidey rogue's gallery.
What Might Prevent Him: Well, "Wanted" may have made money, but it was also repellent and terrible, and the Russian helmer showed no affinity with character, or story, or anything except slow-motion bullets. This isn't necessarily a bad sign for Sony, but it certainly is for us.
Why He Might Do It: The franchise is returning to its hormonal high school roots, and few movies have documented the awkward high school and college years recently than Mottola's "Superbad" and "Adventureland." A major part of the web-slinger's appeal has always been his sense of humor (a side of the character that Raimi, for all his strengths, never seemed to nail), and Mottola's one of the very best comedy directors out there. Plus, he's currently in post-production on the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost vehicle "Paul," which sees him working with a wider scope and FX for the first time.
What Might Prevent Him: Mottola's films prior to "Paul" have been even smaller in scale than Wright and Fleischer's, and he's never really worked with action up to this point, and Marc Forster showed on "Quantum of Solace" how that can turn out... Ultimately, we're just not convinced that Sony are after "Freaks and Geeks" in Spandex, even if that's the "Spider-Man" movie we really want to see. Plus, if EW are right about the "gritty" direction of the reboot (and we hope they're not, to be honest, it's not right for the tone of the character at all...), then Motolla may not be the best pick for them.
Why He Might Do It: Another music video guy, he made one of the more audacious, showy directorial debuts of the year with "(500) Days of Summer," and has become a major hot property since, circling films as diverse as "Jesus Christ Superstar" and, briefly, "Moneyball," the latter at Sony. EW have already mentioned his name directly with the project, suggesting that he's a strong possibility — he's clearly shown a strong visual eye, but he isn't well-established enough to battle Sony for creative control.
What Might Prevent Him: We like '(500) Days' just fine, but we sort of feel that Webb's still in search of his voice, and jumping straight onto a studio tentpole like this could see him go down the Bryan Singer career path, rather than the Spike Jonze one. There's also nothing in his debut feature to immediately suggest an affinity with the material, and, like Mottola, he doesn't have any action experience on the big screen.
Phil Lord & Chris Miller
Why They Might Do It: You may not have heard of them, but this pair were behind Sony's monster CGI animation hit "Cloudy With Chance of Meatballs." We had pretty much no interest in it when it was released, but we caught up with it recently, and it proved to be one of the best surprises we've had in a long time — laugh-out-loud funny throughout, with a great big heart. Nerdy hero? Check. Big scale action? Check. Comedy? Check. And they cut their teeth on the MTV series "Clone High," which bears some more similarities to the Marvel material. Sony may be keen to keep the two within the family, and take over the studio's crown jewel...
What Might Prevent Them: Animation directors may be jumping into the live-action world in a big way — like "Horton Hears A Who" helmer Jimmy Hayward, who's directing "Jonah Hex," and "Monsters Vs. Aliens" director Rob Letterman, who's behind "Gulliver's Travels" this year — but there's no proof it's worked yet, and Spidey may be too big a risk to entrust to these guys. Plus, they might be seen as a little too subversive and silly — the studio has attached them to helm Jonah Hill's redo of "21 Jump Street," which is probably a better fit.
Why He Might Do It: OK, bear with us. "Donnie Darko" is, in a way, kind of a superhero movie, and blends teen angst and world-saving pretty well. He knows SFX, and his dark, sly sense of humor could prove fun in the franchise. If he brought his long-absent A-game, Kelly has the potential to be the most interesting, albeit left field, choice of the bunch, particularly if he was directing someone else's script.
What Might Prevent Him: Nothing in "Southland Tales" or "The Box" has suggested that Kelly should be let near an Etch-a-Sketch ever again, let alone a billion dollar franchise. Considering the way he's cast his last couple of movies, we'd anticipate a Kelly-helmed "Spider-Man" to star Jon Lovitz as Peter Parker and a cast member from "Jersey Shore" as MJ.
Plenty of people are mentioning James Cameron's name — he wrote a treatment in the mid-90s, which fell apart due to rights issues. But frankly, the man's a god right now, as far as Hollywood's concerned — he could write a script that consisted entirely of himself masturbating outside a Catholic girl's school, and someone would still give him $200 million to make it — he's not going to take on someone else's franchise. David Fincher too, came close to making a version, and he could fit the alleged darker spin on the character, but we reckon he's too expensive for the studio, and probably too much of an auteur (and at this point, probably has very, very little interest). A lot of sites, including Anne Thompson, have mentioned Neill Blomkamp ("District 9"), but he, too, seems more interested in pursuing his own projects, and we'd be very surprised if he ended up on board (again, he's paved the way for his own voice and we hope he sticks to it). We'd love to see David Cronenberg's body-horror take on the origin story, if anyone's going to tackle that aspect of the character, but Sony aren't going to hire him. Or maybe Julie Taymor will end up filming the Broadway musical version?...
Why He Might Do It: We've got to give Hitfix props for calling this one first, and it's a damn good choice. Aside from struggling with a comedy accent and an underwritten part in "Star Trek," Yelchin's impressed in pretty much everything he's appeared in — he showed real leading man chops in "Terminator: Salvation," and nerdy high school charisma in the underrated "Charlie Bartlett." He's the right age, and shouldn't yet be too expensive.
What Might Prevent Him: The "Star Trek" sequel is also set for release in Summer 2012, so there's likely to be a direct scheduling conflict, unless he can get out of his contract with Paramount. It's a shame, he'd be great otherwise.
Why He Might Do It: The younger version of Patrick Fugit in "Almost Famous" has turned into a formidable young actor, with a really good performance in David Gordon Green's "Snow Angels" a few years back. He's the lead in the intriguing-sounding "Ceremony," set for release later this year, and he's proven he has action chops in the Jackie Chan-starrer "The Forbidden Kingdom," as well as just joining Soderbergh's "Knockout." Plus, in the better-than-it-had-any-right-to-be "Sky High," he basically took the role of Peter Parker for a test drive, and it fit pretty well.
What Might Prevent Him: He's 22, but looks much younger — will he be able to convince as Spidey, as well as Peter Parker? But then, people said the same about Tobey Maguire, back in the day. He's also relatively unknown — more of a Chris Hemsworth than a Ryan Reynolds, as it were.
Why He Might Do It: Having impressed since his debut in Judd Apatow's series "Undeclared," and in appearances since in the likes of "Knocked Up" and "Million Dollar Baby," the Canadian actor is poised to have a big year, with lead roles in "She's Out of My League" and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." He's got the right 'sexy nerd' look, and has generally proven an appealing presence in everything he's appeared in to date — he was the heart and soul of "Tropic Thunder," for instance.
What Might Prevent Him: Physically even slighter than Angarano, it'd take some serious training to beef him up. Plus, by the time 2012 rolls around, Baruchel will be 30, making him a fairly unlikely high school kid.
Why He Might Do It: British actor Garfield ("Red Riding") is poised on the edge of stardom — like Baruchel, he should have a good year off the back of "Never Let Me Go" and the co-lead in David Fincher's "The Social Network." His performance in "Boy A" is one of the best of the last few years, and he's probably the strongest actor on this list, at least on current evidence. We reckon he'd be a fine Spider-Man, and we're not alone — Movieline also pointed to him.
What Might Prevent Him: Born in 1983, he's not much younger than Baruchel, and he also doesn't strike us immediately as an action hero and his interest probably (hopefully) lies in real acting.
Why He Might Do It: A big star in Britain on the back of TV show "Skins" (which also launched Dev Patel from "Slumdog Millionaire"), he's broken through to U.S. cinema with a fine performance in Tom Ford's "A Single Man," and will hit the big-budget world in a few months as one of Sam Worthington's sidekicks in "Clash of the Titans." Plus, he started his career as Hugh Grant's young pal in "About a Boy," so can clearly play nerdy with his eyes closed. He just got a BAFTA rising star nomination this morning, as well.
What Might Prevent Him: Still an unknown quantity Stateside. His adult performances have sometimes tended towards the bland — one thing that Maguire never was.
Jake Gyllenhaal very nearly took over the mask on "Spider-Man 2," but he's too old now, and too big a name. We guess Jesse Eisenberg and Michael Cera are both possibilities, as is, we suppose Paul Dano, but they're all just a little too awkward, and wouldn't convince as Spider-Man — we have faith that Cera will knock 'Scott Pilgrim' outta the park, but Spidey's a little more iconic. Both Ben Whishaw ("Bright Star") and Jim Sturgess ("21") were linked with the role in Julie Taymor's Broadway version, and neither are terrible ideas, though again, possibly both a little old. Emile Hirsch could be a great pick, if "Speed Racer" didn't put him off the tentpole for life. One team member suggested Alden Ehrenrich, from Coppola's "Tetro," who'd be an interesting, left-field choice, although probably not well known enough for Sony.
Why She Might Do It: Julia's niece, and Eric's daughter, isn't yet a superstar, but it seems like it's only a matter of time, and she's certainly a compelling presence, and could well turn out to be a very good actress. She's still only 18, so she's a perfect fit age-wise, and a good match for Mary-Jane. She obviously has the look too and this could be a good way to establish herself as an viable presence in Hollywood without killing her career too quickly (Mary-Jane obviously isn't the star presence here).
What Might Prevent Her: With a future as bright as hers, will she want to be tied down to a multi-film franchise? Otherwise, a very strong choice.
Why She Might Do It: Having seemingly come from nowhere at Sundance last year, Mulligan is one of the hottest properties in town, and, with an inevitable Oscar nomination (and maybe even a win) on the way, and a first Hollywood lead in "Wall Street 2" coming, she's probably near the top of the list for virtually every lead role in her age group in town. She's also a tremendous actress.
What Might Prevent Her: Almost too good an actress — she was so transcendently terrific in "An Education," we'd be a little heartbroken to see her take as generally thankless a role as Mary-Jane Watson. Assuming she gets the love from the Academy, it may also put her out of Sony's price range, and she'd be less willing to play second banana.
Why She Might Do It: Like Sam Worthington, Australian actress Wasikowska has, despite being relatively unproven internationally, suddenly become incredibly hot property, with lead roles in "Alice in Wonderland," "Jane Eyre" and Gus Van Sant's untitled drama all on the way. She was very, very good on HBO's "In Treatment," and has only just turned 20, so again, a pretty good fit age-wise.
What Might Prevent Her: But somehow, she doesn't strike us as a good fit for the character — she's a little too porcelain, a little too delicate, or at least that's our impression from what little we've seen. She's also just too damn good for the material, but then again, "Alice In Wonderland," doesn't look like an actor's delight.
Why She Might Do It: "Superbad" star Stone made a major impression in "Zombieland," and she has her first lead role coming in "Easy A" later in the year. She's much feistier than the other actors on this list, and seems like a much more innate comic talent.
What Might Prevent Her: She's always seemed older than her years, and would be 24 by the time the movie comes out — fine if she's paired with Baruchel or Garfield, but less so with some of the other actors. You feel like she'd walk all over almost anyone who played Peter Parker and partly because she's pretty tall and a big presence.
Why She Might Do It: You may well wonder who this is, but you won't in a year — she's playing the young Helen Mirren in the Mossad thriller "The Debt," and has one of the major roles in Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life," as well as playing Salome in Al Pacino's film/theater project "Salomaybe?" Visually, she's a great fit for MJ; as a natural redhead in Hollywood that isn't Patricia Clarkson or Paul Bettany, that's got to help...
What Might Prevent Her: Jessica who?
Evan Rachel Wood is playing MJ on Broadway for Julie Taymor, so that's certainly a possibility, while people who like their love interests to be continually biting their lips and running their hands through their hair will obviously be on board the Kristen Stewart train. Mary Elizabeth Winstead could be a solid choice, although if she's as iconic as Ramona Flowers in "Scott Pilgrim" as we hope, it may be hard to associate her with another comic book character. "Pineapple Express"'s Amber Heard may not be the strongest actress, but she is, you know, hotter than the sun (the Megan Fox solution, as it were), while Anna Kendrick's got an Oscar nomination on the way, although she seems a little prim-and-proper for the role. Let's face it, though, they'll probably cast someone from "Glee"...