Thanks a lot, Sony and Marvel. By confirming Tuesday that Marc Webb has gotten the call to direct "Spider-Man 4," you've sentenced the Peter Parker populace to at least 18 months of dreadful, painful punning.
That said, by your tabbing the filmmaker of "(500) Days of Summer," at least we've got Sam Raimi's replacement in place for the franchise's reboot to high school. Which means we can turn our full attention to the question: Who will inherit the Spidey suit from Tobey Maguire?
Even Tobey Maguire has to wonder who will step into his Spider suit. (Merrick Morton / Columbia Pictures)
So let's see: Right off the bat, we can cross off such young Hollywood commodities as Shia LaBeouf and Jesse Eisenberg and Michael Cera and "Star Trek's" Anton Yelchin. For them, for various reasons, just not gonna happen. And the "Twilight" twins Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson? No chance.
Sure, Sony and Marvel could go with an unknown, but it worked so well nearly a decade ago when "Spider-Man" went with a known actor who already had such successes as "Pleasantville" under his slim belt. So for our purposes, we'll stick with seven known quantities. And they are:
Emile Hirsch (Getty Images)
1. EMILE HIRSCH:
THE WHY: One of Hollywood's better under-30 actors who has carried a film, Hirsch showed he can do winning sweetness and moody gravitas in films like "Into the Wild." He was also willing to try a would-be potential CGI-happy franchise with the sputtering "Speed Racer."
THE WHY-NOT: Has fully moved into playing close to his real age, so neither he nor the studio might think he can believably regress to high school.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Reuters)
2. JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT:
AGE: Turns 29 next month.
THE WHY: Has already worked successfully with Webb on "(500) Days." Also proved he can athletically scale a wall, while hosting "Saturday Night Live."
THE WHY-NOT: Boyish, yet is almost 30. (Note: Maguire was in his mid-20s when he took over the role.) Also: Boyish, yet hasn't shown he can carry off gravitas.
Jim Sturgess (Columbia Pictures)
3. JIM STURGESS:
THE WHY: This Brit ("21" and "Across the Universe") has the look and the acting range.
THE WHY-NOT: Although Sturgess can play a decade younger, a reboot to high school is just one step too far back.
4. REEVE CARNEY:
THE WHY: He's already been cast as Broadway's Peter Parker in the postponed musical "Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark."
THE WHY-NOT: He's already been cast as Broadway's Peter Parker in the postponed musical "Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark." Unless the musical -- scored by Bono and the Edge -- is delayed another year, Carney's schedule is blocked out for the foreseeable future. (Note: Cast opposite Carney is Evan Rachel Wood, who starred opposite Jim Sturgess in "Across the Universe.")
THE LONGER SHOTS:
5. ZAC EFRON:
Zac Efron (Getty Images)
THE WHY: He's got a big tween/teen fan base. He can do physical. He's showing growing range ("Me and Orson Welles.") And he's fresh-scrubbed enough to play 17. Again.
THE WHY-NOT: At this point, does he really want to play 17? Again?
6. DAVID HENRIE
David Henrie (Associated Press)
THE WHY: The actor ("Wizards of Waverly Place," "How I Met Your Mother") has the look and the youth and the physicality.
THE WHY-NOT: It's a mighty giant leap from light TV comedy to carrying a big-screen franchise.
7. NICK JONAS
(Getty Images for VH1)
THE WHY: The fan base, the name recognition and the right age. Plus, he's the only JoBro who credibly pulls off "serious."
THE WHY-NOT: Because he's the JoBro who seems the most serious. He's eager to transition as a musician, and he's hinted at wanting to run for national office one day. It's not for nothing that his new band is named the Administration.
Have a credible contender to cast? Then by all means: Fire away.