"Until now, we have approached each film as a separate, self-contained entity", explained Arad and Tolmach in a statement, "but with this move, we have the opportunity to grow the franchise by looking to the future as we develop a continuous arc for the story."
A five-strong brains trust has been appointment to oversee the stories, including Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek Into Darkness), his long-time Trek writing partner Roberto Orci, plus writers Jeff Pinkner (Alias), Drew Goddard (Cabin In The Woods) and Ed Solomon (Now You See Me).
Kurtzman will tackle Venom as director and co-writer, while Goddard will pen a script for The Sinister Six and could potentially find himself sitting in the big chair marked 'director'.
Goddard's involvement counts as a surprise. Joss Whedon's protégé has also been in talks to pen the Marvel / Netflix Daredevil TV show, and time, presumably, will be at a something of a premium.
Sony's official announcement reads:
"In a move to forge a new legacy in the story of Peter Parker on screen, Sony Pictures Entertainment, in association with Marvel Entertainment, is developing several new projects in the Spider-Man franchise, with Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Ed Solomon, and Drew Goddard to collaborate on overseeing the developing story over several films that will be produced by Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures, and Hannah Minghella, president of production for the studio.
Commenting on the announcement, Belgrad said: "The Spider-Man film franchise is one of our studio's greatest assets. We are thrilled with the creative team we have assembled to delve more deeply into the world that Marc, Avi and Matt have begun to explore in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. We believe that Marc, Alex, and Drew have uniquely exciting visions for how to expand the Spider-Man universe in each of these upcoming films."
Arad and Tolmach added, "This collaboration was born out of the great experience we and Marc had working with Alex, Bob, and Jeff on The Amazing Spider-Man 2. With more than fifty years' wealth of stories in the comic books to draw upon for inspiration, the Spider-Man universe is truly boundless; in addition, the Spider-Man comics have the greatest rogues gallery of any series, and to have the chance to explore that on film is truly thrilling. That is what Alex, Bob, Jeff, Ed, and Drew will do in this unprecedented collaboration, and we’re excited about the directions they are taking the character and the world."
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hits cinemas on 18 April next year and you can check out the trailer below.