The more things change, the more they stay the same.

If you lived in Los Angeles back in the '90s, "Spider-Man" seemed positively cursed as a film property.  Even when James Cameron got interested, it just couldn't come together.  Then Sam Raimi did the impossible and actually got "Spider-Man" filmed and released and, even more amazingly, it was good.  And so was the sequel.  And even the third film has things to like about it, even if it felt like there were too many cooks in the kitchen.

But between the Julie Taymor musical for Broadway and the third sequel (which I really hope isn't going to be called "Spider-M4n," the entire property is starting to feel cursed again.

It was IESB that first ran the story that there was something wrong with the development on "Spider-Man 4."  I picked the story up because I was hearing the same thing from some of the FX guys who were supposed to work on the film, but I couldn't source it past them.  Since that first story ran, I've been hearing some really terrible things about what's going on between Sam Raimi, the studio, and the writers, and I've been starting to wonder if there's any chance they can reach an agreement that will make all involved parties happy.

Today, Nikki Finke is running the story, along with a copy of the internal memo that was sent to all the FX guys when they were told that there was an indefinite delay on the film.

Here's the thing... they'll make another "Spider-Man" film.  No doubt about it.  But that doesn't mean it'll be a sequel to the films we've already seen, and there's no guarantee it will involve Sam Raimi or Tobey Maguire or anyone connected to the first three films.  There may come a point where the studio realizes it's not going to happen, and they make the choice to move on and simply reboot the whole thing.  There were talks about doing exactly that, far from the ears of Raimi and company, before they even started to develop scripts this time around, and I would imagine some of those conversations are starting to happen again as they reject draft after draft.

The sad thing is that there are plenty of great villains and stories left in the Spidey catalogue, so there's no reason they should be hitting a wall in picking who Spider-Man's going to face this time.  And there's really no reason to invent them wholecloth, either.  Raimi's good at tying his villains to a theme he wants to explore about Spider-Man, so instead of trying to force him into using another villain he doesn't like, I hope Sony lets him use the ones he wants.  And if they don't, I hope Raimi moves on, for the sake of the film and his own sanity.

We'll be keeping a close eye on how this one comes together in the days and weeks ahead, and I hope they work it out in a way that gives fans a great film.

For the moment, "Spider-Man 4" is set for a May 6, 2011 release.  Anyone want to lay bets on whether or not they make it?

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You can e-mail me at drew@hitfix.com or follow me on Twitter, where I'm DrewAtHitFix.