Tobey Maguire has no choice but to hang up his Spidey suit. Sony Pictures announced Monday that it's moving ahead with the fourth Spider-Man movie without Maguire as Peter Parker and his superhero alter ego. Kirsten Dunst, who played Parker's love interest Mary Jane in the first three Spider-Man films, and director Sam Raimi also will not return.
Maguire said in a statement that he's proud of what has been accomplished with the Spider-Man franchise to date, adding, quote, "Beyond the films themselves, I have formed some deep and lasting friendships. I am excited to see the next chapter unfold in this incredible story." In a separate statement, Raimi called his work on the Spider-Man films an "experience of a lifetime" and had kind things to say about Marvel and Sony.
The announcement comes in the wake of reports that script problems have delayed production on Spider-Man 4. The film had been scheduled to open on May 6th, 2011, but Sony Pictures said it won't be released until 2012. The new Spider-Man movie will turn back the clock and focus on Peter Parker during his high school days. The first Spider-Man movie followed Maguire's Parker in high school and detailed his transformation into the web-slinging hero.
The change in direction for the new Spider-Man project is startling, considering that Maguire just days ago said there was a lot of "great stuff" to work with within the script. He added that he had a lot of ideas for his character -- ideas that likely now won't see the light of day.