Saturday, December 04, 2010

Will There Be Multiple Villains in The SpideReboot?

I'll say one thing for Sony Pictures' ill-advised, deeply-unnecessary "Spider-Man" reboot: It's actually been fun for everyone to get to play detective again. Feels like old times.

Some of you may be too young to recall this (or you're old enough but didn't care, either one works) but prior to - well... prior to "Lord of The Rings," pretty much - movie studios didn't go kissing movie-blogger ass when it came to "geek" projects. In fact, they hid them from view as much as possible, generally regarding fandom as a collective blight whose concerns had to be dodged and "dealt with" in order to get a finished product to The Masses. There were no "accidental leaks" to geek sites, no info-dumps at Comic-Con, no nuthin'. The reporting on upcoming films was more like crowd-sourced crimesolving - fans and "spies" on sites like AICN or Corona pouring over blurry set-photos and scraps of casting-call sheets to try and determine what was going on.

Well, given that Sony seems to know they've got a guilty-until-proven-innocent item on their hands, it makes sense they've been old-school tight-lipped about it. Hence, everyone's been dusting off the magnifying glasses for old-fashioned gumshoe work - with a Google-age twist, of course....

Take, for example, this Hollywood Reporter story about the casting of Peter Parker's parents. A blurb item to anyone else, but to seasoned film-geek detectives its... well... still a blurb item, yeah - but a blurb item that MIGHT shed light on what form the film may take.

See... it doesn't really come up much inside or outside of the comics, but in addition to all his other issues Peter Parker IS technically an orphan - his birth parents died when he was a baby, leaving him in the care of (Uncle) Ben Parker and his wife May. The obvious question: WHY bother casting established actors to play two characters who depart the story entirely while the title character is still in diapers? It's not like they have a bunch of extra money on this thing  (it's an $85 million "quickie" at last count) to blow on fancy cameos... so is this an indication of some sort of radical reworking of the origin story?

FWIW, in the original continuity i.e. when they were first introduced, Peter's parents turned out to have been (I shit you not) high-level top-secret international super-spies framed for treason and killed in the field. I honestly have no recollection as to whether or not that's been retconned away yet, but if THAT'S in this new movie I am prepared to change my entire anticipatory stance right-here, right-now.

Slightly more-likely scenario: The (very) early claims that most of the reboot's story was being pulled from "Ultimate Spider-Man" still hold true. "Ultimate" Peter Parker's dead-dad was a famous scientist whose miracle cancer-cure ultimately becomes - sigh... Ultimate Venom.

Brief sidebar: This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine - when someone is adapting some long-running franchise and decides to "streamline" things by cramming everyone's backstories together into a ginormous coincidence-ball. See: Joker killed Thomas and Martha Wayne, Dr. Doom was up in space with The Fantastic Four, Kingpin killed Jack Murdock, despite history being altered James T. Kirk randomly "bumps into" every single important buddy he's suppsoed to have, etc. This happens all the damn time, and it's ALWAYS fucking annoying as hell.

Incidentally, Ultimate The Lizard is also tied-in to Ultimate Eddie Brock's transformation into Ultimate Venom. Because everything ties-in to Venom. Because the primary goal when making any translation of "Spider-Man" into another medium or continuity is always, for some reason, to move more merch surrounding a middling 90s/"Dark Age" evil-doppleganger character who hasn't been interesting since his first arc ended. Egh.

But the REAL "zuh?" in the article turned out to be the casual dropping of a secondary villain name: Irrfan Kahn as "Van Atter." Who? Well, quick-digging by responders at Chud, BadassDigest and others turned up the likely answer in record time: Nels Van Adder, aka "The Proto-Goblin." A forgotten one-and-done baddie from a "flashback" story, the idea is he was the gineau-pig for the serum that later turned Norman Osborn into The Green Goblin. It made him look like Carnage with a blonde wig, because this was the 90s and every "creature" character wound up looking "like Venom/Carnage but with a ______." Coincidence? Someone's idea of a cutesy fanboy reference?

Assuming for a moment that the most-likely scenario (cute, ultimately-meaningless in-joke) doesn't pan out, this would be my... nerdy "theorizing," I guess:

1.) Peter's dad, Curt Connors, Van Atter will scientists/employees/whatever whose work and/or backstories are connected to the various experiments/accidents that ultimately create Lizard and Spider-Man. I wouldn't be surprised to see some version of Eddie Brock in there, too (Ultimate Eddie Brock's dad, Ultimate Edward Brock Sr., worked with Ultimate Peter's Dad on creating Ultimate Venom, so there's that.)

2.) Norman Osborn will either be a character in the film or frequently mentioned, and whatever stuff Connors/Van Atter/whoever are doing that turns him/them/whoever into Lizard/whatever will be heavily implied to set-up Green Goblin as the heavy of the sequel, a'la "that new guy with a flair for the theatrical" from the end of "Batman Begins."

3.) Whatever else may or may not happen, Venom WILL be teased, referenced, alluded-to and all-but assured to be "coming if you let us have a sequel or two!" That one isn't even a guess, it's a damn innevitability.

Eh... anyway, we'll know more once they start shooting the bloody thing.


Cevian said...

There really need to be an Ultimate Limit on how many times you have to say Ultimate in a blog post, Ultimate Bob.

Chris Cesarano said...

I've said it plenty of times before and I will say it again: Venom is not a bad character, he is just a character that has been handled poorly.

Now most of my experience with the Spiderman universe, I confess, are the films and the Saturday Morning Cartoon that used to air on Fox. Oh, and Maximum Carnage, which looking back was probably a shitty game in truth despite seeming awesome at the time. Either way, this basically means I'm no authority on the subject. However, that doesn't mean Eddie Brock, and thus Venom, cannot be interesting.

You say repeatedly that you can make a good movie out of anything. Isn't it possible that the same can be done with a character? On the surface, Venom and Carnage are lame characters that have been used to try and make Spiderman "grim and gritty" (it's frightening to consider that video games are trapped where comic books were in the 90's). That doesn't mean everyone after has to keep those characters that way and can't explore them to make them, well, something more.

jameshayes said...

Peter's parents would be the perfect way to tie Spider-man into the world of the Avengers....too bad that's never going to happen. But...just for kicks.....

1. Richard Parker is recruited by Nick Fury to the CIA, where he meets Mary Fitzpatrick, with whom he falls in love and to whom he gets married.

2. Later, on a job together, they investigate a case involving Logan (Wolverine), and rescue him from Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (of HYDRA), after which it's discovered that Mary is pregnant with Peter Parker. (Logan's the first to know).

3. Peter's born several months later.

4. The Parkers go to Algeria to investigate Albert Malik (AKA RED SKULL!) but are discovered and later assassinated by the Finisher.

5. Peter is put into the care of his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, and the rest is history.

How amazing would that be?

Smashmatt202 said...

God damn, reading more about this just keeps getting me pissed off.

ZAENGO said...

i dont want to make you uncomfortabnle, but you just gave me a continuity boner.

Elessar said...

Aside from the Spider-Man news, which I'm not going to go into, but I would assume the reason they've yet to release anything to the geek press is...well they're still in pre-production. Which means story, script, cast, costume, set and even director are not set in stone.

When they start shooting, then we might hear something.

Dave said...

@ Chris.

Spectacular spiderman. Excellent TV show that was screwed by the disney buyout. Made by the guy who did gargoyles. Once you get past the art style it gets really good, really fast.

The manage to make both sandman and electro into interesting somehwat sympathetic characters and don't need to give them a daughter with a disease of the week

And they've also got the best use of venom. Aside from his overuse of the word 'bro' its the best characterization of the dark suit storyline and venom I've seen in any medium.

SS essentially specializes in doing things that bob is absolutely adamant could never ever work because raimi didn't do them. Also, Tricia helfer.

john said...

Oh god, I think I've got it. (And I don't even read the comics!) Dad Parker and the other Scientists! are responsible for an experiment that, ala the 2003 Hulk movie, imbues young Peter with latent superpowers, which will of course be the key for wedging in the "superpowers = puberty" theme that every damn super-teen movie since Teen Wolf has been obligated to use, which will of course tie into the angsty-teen Twilight demographic the movie's shooting for. I'd put money on it.

OBryan said...

I'm surprised no one here has mentioned that there is going to be a Spiderman on Broadway. You think Bob would go apeshit over that--you'd think that iteration would be worse than this reboot.