Spider-Man film franchise director Sam Raimi is currently in discussions with Paramount Pictures to revive the studio’s Jack Ryan political thriller series.
Based on the series of novels by Tom Clancy, the franchise ran for four entries through the 1990s before sputtering to a stop with 2002’s The Sum Of All Fears. The books and films center on a brilliant CIA analyst who uncovers threats to America from both foreign countries and at home. The quartet of Ryan films has grossed over a quarter of a billion dollars at the boxoffice.
According to Variety, Paramount is looking to relaunch the franchise at a point early in Ryan’s career and have Raimi develop and direct the first several entries. The studio is looking to have the first film out in 2010.
It sounds as if the idea of rebooting the franchise from Ryan’s early days in the CIA might be more than a little inspired by the recent successful relaunch of the James Bond franchise, 2006’s Casino Royale. It doesn’t take it into account that this was attempted once before with the Ben Affleck-starring Sum Of All Fears, which reset the story with a version of Ryan who was younger than in the original novel. Fans of the original book were not happy with the change.
Reservations about Spider-Man 3 aside, Raimi’s work on the superhero franchise has shown he knows how to manage a movie series well. If Paramount is committing to at least developing several Ryan films, it will allow Raimi the opportunity to long-term plan the development of themes, character arcs and plotlines over several installments.
The Variety article does state that Raimi isn’t abandoning the Spider-Man franchise, though he will have to direct the first Jack Ryan film after he completes his currently in-production horror film Drag Me To Hell in order for the studio to be able to release the Ryan film in 2010. If Raimi wishes to helm a Spider-Man 4, instead of just overseeing it at a producer level, we probably will not see the webslinger back in theaters until 2011 at the earliest.
Raimi’s participation in this new franchise would also presumably take him off the shortlist of directors rumored to possibly helm the two-part Hobbit adaptation for Peter Jackson.