With The Amazing Spider-Man being a solid hit, both critically and commercially, it's inevitable that nothing's going to stop a sequel from going forward. I want to talk a little about what plot points and characters will probably be in the film and how I'd like to see them developed.
Mary Jane and Harry Osborn
Both Mary Jane Watson and Harry Osborn were absent from The Amazing Spider-Man, making it the first Spider-Man film the characters didn't appear in. No doubt they'll be in the sequel since Harry's father Norman Osborn will most likely also make an appearance. Harry is Peter Parker's best friend and that adds some dimension to the fact Harry's father transforms in to Peter and Spider-Man's arch nemesis the Green Goblin. Peter also didn't seem to have any real friends in The Amazing Spider-Man aside from Gwen Stacy so it'll be nice to see Peter establish a relationship with another guy. I would have Harry feel a little weird being a wealthy kid at a regular high school. He wouldn't know if people liked him just because he was rich or because he was a decent guy. Peter would be the only one who wouldn't care either way if Harry was rich or not.
If I was introducing Mary Jane in to the mix I wouldn't want it to be an automatic love triangle. I don't want Gwen being "Get away from my man bitch" right off the bat. I would have Gwen and Mary Jane be friends at first, only for things to be complicated when she becomes attracted to Peter. That way, what's at stake isn't merely Gwen and Peter's relationship but her and Mary Jane's as well. Peter would ultimately feel Mary Jane was a little too superfical for his tastes and would eventually reaffirm his love to Gwen. This would be the start of Mary Jane's arc from a carefree and flightly teenager to a mature young woman. Gwen's death in the comics is what brings her and Peter closer together and eventually leads to their romance. Mary Jane needs to be developed really well in order for us to believe Peter could fall in love with her after Gwen's death. The first film established a really strong bond between Peter and Gwen, thanks to strong performances from Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Whoever is cast as Mary Jane will have to have a similar chemistry with Garfiled as well as with Stone. Stone was a fan favourite for the role and was even thought to be playing Mary Jane before it was confirmed she'd be playing Gwen. I'd still give anything to hear Stone purr the line "Face it Tiger, you've just hit the jackpot." It'd actually be funny to have Stone play both roles, with the running joke being that no one notices Gwen and Mary Jane look alike. It'd also be very Vertigo-ish. Hey, Peter already has a Rear Window poster in his room, so it'd be another Hitchcock reference. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is also a big fan favourite and I'd be all for that casting.
A superhero film is only as strong as its villain, particularly for a sequel. After the using a major villain like the Lizard,
who'd be strong enough to carry the movie? I don't think Doc Ock should be used in another second movie. We don't want to rush the black suit/Venom plot line again. Mysterio would be a fascinating choice because he attacks Spider-Man mentally with illusions. Two villains could work, especially if you use the Lizard, who's already been established and has a special connection to Peter.
It's almost inevitable and unavoidable that the Green Goblin will be the villain. Norman Osborn is mentioned but never seen in The Amazing Spider-Man but he'll definitely make an appearance in the sequel. What's already interesting about this interpretation of Norman is he's dying. Curt Connor's research was being used to cure Norman. What cured Connors turned him in to the Lizard and will probably warp Norman's mind and create the Green Goblin personality. In the Ultimate continuity of the Marvel Universe, Norman actually turns in to a Goblin creature rather it just being a mental transformation. It'd be hard to do this since we've already have a creature villain. That is unless they wait until the third movie to have Green Goblin as the villain.
The Death of Gwen Stacy
The moment the Green Goblin shows up in this series, we know that Gwen will have to die. It's not something to look forward to but it feels necessary for the development of Peter's character. Even Stone feels it needs to happen. At the end of The Amazing Spider-Man Peter goes back on his promise to Gwen's father to stay away from Gwen in order to protect her. While Peter's turnaround has received criticism, it's a good foreshadowing of what Peter's recklessness will bring upon Gwen and the guilt he'll feel. Garfield and Stone have already made us love Peter and Gwen as a couple and I feel if done right, Gwen's death will have an emotional impact as powerful as it was in the comics.
The question is, will Gwen die in this film or will her death occur in the third film of what is reportedly going to be a trilogy. I feel her and Peter's relationship will have to be developed a little more before she dies. If that can happen in the second film without being rushed, I think her death in this film could work. You also don't want the series to get bogged down by the same romance. Shifting focus from Gwen to Mary Jane will keep things fresh.
J. Jonah Jameson
Old J.J.J is a very important supporting character in the Spider-Man mythology. He's constantly trying to turn the city against Spider-Man while unknowingly employing the very man he despises. Back when Jameson was going to appear in this film, John Slattery from Mad Men was rumoured for the part. I think if anyone could take the reigns from J.K. Simmons and do Jameson justice it'd be Slattery. Slattery can be the arrogant blowhard who you find yourself loving anyway.
The Untold Story
The Amazing Spider-Man was heavily promoted as "The Untold Story," referring to the mystery behind Peter's parents disappearing when he was a child. While that angle is still in the film, much of that subplot has also been cut out. From my understanding, we were going to get a twist similar to Ang Lee's Hulk film regarding Peter's genetic background. I would love to see a Director's Cut of this film but I have a feeling the cut material will be retconned for the sequel.