Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood Daily is reporting that Sony has signed both Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire for Spider-Man 4. DHD further notes that while Kirsten Dunst (Mary Jane) hasn’t been signed yet, her character is in the film and Sony “would never recast her”. Sony is also happy with the script turned in by James Vanderbilt which leaves open the possibility for moving directly into a fifth film so they are hoping that Raimi and Maguire are willing to shoot the two films back-to-back.
Additionally, Finke reports that there is no interest in Sony in pursuing a darker tone, ala The Dark Knight, with her source saying “Spider-Man is its own thing” and unlike Batman “Peter Parker has no dark side himself”, instead “Peter Parker’s struggle is about sacrifice.” Also, Finke’s source talked about the villains in the film and hinted that “once you find out who the villain is, you’ll know who’s playing it”. Meanwhile on the Venom spin-off front, Sony is apparently interest in keeping Topher Grace (who played the character in Spider-Man 3) despite his demise in the film because the “likeable actor could be a sympathetic evildoer”.
The news has also been confirmed via the trades.