Raimi, Maguire and Dunst all off Spider-Man 4, which is now set to be a prequel

Right on the heels of news that John Malkovich was still attached to Spider-Man 4 as a villain (SEE HERE), Sony’s Columbia Pictures has reportedly scrapped the project all together and is rebooting the franchise, according to THR.

The studio is apparently parting ways with director Sam Raimi and franchise stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, and taking Spidey’s alter ego, Peter Parker, back to high school, in what looks to be an origin story? That’s right. The new film will still be produced by Avi Arad, Laura Ziskin and Marvel Studios, and is eyeing a summer 2012 release.

A new script will be penned by James Vanderbilt, that puts the focus squarely back on a teenager grappling with normal teen problems while also dealing with his radioactive spider-given powers.

The news follows weeks of script issues between the studio and Raimi over which villains to use in the fourth movie. Things finally came to a head when Columbia realized it wouldn’t meet its start date nor its May 6, 2011, release date.

The scrapping of Spider-Man 4 is not without cost, as millions have already been spent on the sequel and its script, whose writers have included Vanderbilt, along with David Lindsay-Abaire and Gary Ross. Alvin Sargent was in the middle of the latest draft when the debacle unfolded. Preliminary effects work had also been rendered for the project.

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