Buried amidst the massive leak of emails and information from Sony came the news that the company was developing an animated ‘Spider-Man’ movie with ‘The LEGO Movie‘ directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. If it happens, it would be great. But if it doesn’t, what happens next? Does Sony make an ‘Amazing Spider-Man 3’ or just completely reboot the franchise (again)?

High-level executives and ‘Spider-Man’ producers are set to meet at a “Spider-Man Summit” in January to decide the fate of the franchise. Since their invitation to this summit was mysteriously lost in the mail, Managing Editor Matt Singer and Editor-in-Chief Mike Sampson decided to put their heads together and suggest a list of ten directors that Team Spidey should consider giving the great power and responsibility to decide the Wall-Crawler’s cinematic future. In no particular order, they are:

Edgar Wright Spider Man
Focus Features

Edgar Wright

Wright’s last bid at directing a superhero movie—‘Ant-Man’—didn’t end well, but that’s because Marvel knows what they want, possibly to a fault. That won’t be a problem at Sony where they don’t really even know what they want, and could use some help figuring that out. Marvel has a house style that often conflicted with Wright’s, but Wright’s style—bright, fast, and loose—would be a perfect fit for the Spider-Man universe. Just thinking about what he could do with Spider-Man’s abilities (web-fu?) has our Spidey-sense tingling at the mere prospect.—Mike

Gareth Evans

Along the same lines, there are few international filmmakers with better action chops than Gareth Evans, the provocative director behind the ‘Raid’ franchise. There arguably hasn’t been a fight scene in any comic-book movie in history as good as the worst martial-arts sequence in either of ‘The Raid’s. (A case could be made that ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’ is the only one that comes close—hence Edgar Wright’s inclusion elsewhere on this list.) Plus, look at what Evans was able to create in ‘The Raid 2’ with a budget of just $4.5 million. Imagine what he could do with a budget 50 times bigger. The only reason not to give him the gig (if he wants it) is the very real possibility that the human brain is simply not equipped to handle a superhero action movie that awesome, and the potential threat Evans’ Spider-Man would pose to public health and safety. —Matt

Justin Lin Spider Man
Universal Pictures

Justin Lin

At first glance, Justin Lin may not seem like the best guy for the ‘Spider-Man’ franchise. His previous work has been primarily in the testosterone-heavy ‘Fast and Furious’ series, which is almost a completely different kind of action than we’re used to in a superhero movie. But ... maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Superhero movies have a lot of things, but rarely do they have the kind of impressive brawls that we see in a ‘Fast and Furious’ movie. And, really, what is the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise, but a superhero movie with cars? Vin Diesel went flying through the air, over a bridge, caught a woman mid-flight and safely landed on the ground.—Mike

Drew Goddard

This is pretty simple. Drew Goddard (‘The Cabin in the Woods’) has been hard at work at Sony, developing the ‘Sinister Six’ spinoff. But, let’s be honest: Goddard is too good to be working on some half-assed offshoot about villains connected to movies that people weren’t all that crazy about in the first place. We’d love to see what Goddard could do with Doc Ock, but not in a ‘Sinister Six’ movie, in a full-on Spider-Man movie. Just chuck that ‘Sinister Six’ script in the trash (at least for now), and give Goddard the keys to the new Spidey universe.—Mike

Brad Bird Spider Man
Paramount Pictures

Brad Bird

A case could be made that Brad Bird’s ‘The Incredibles’ is the best superhero movie ever made. A case could also be made that Bird proved with ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’—featuring Tom Cruise a sort of real-world Spider-Man who can climb up the sides of buildings—that he could handle live-action spectacle on the biggest scale possible. Bird’s currently finishing up ‘Tomorrowland,’ and, ‘M:I’ aside, he’s tended to show more interest in developing his own material than adapting others. But ‘The Incredibles’ proved his affection for classic Marvel Comics, and ‘The Iron Giant’ displayed his gift for combining genre tropes and empathetic stories about childhood. Imagine the emotional mileage he could get out of the Uncle Ben and Peter relationship—and the excitement he could generate from a spectacular Spidey fight scene set atop the Empire State Building.—Matt

Paul Feig

At its heart, Spider-Man’s story is about a teenage nerd growing into adulthood. The movies tend to gloss over the radical (read: pubescent) changes that the radioactive spider-bite does to Peter Parker’s body and his psyche, but imagine a Spidey film directed by Paul Feig, whose ‘Freaks and Geeks’ TV show is maybe the best depiction ever of the brutal, humiliating process of puberty in history. Feig might need some help on the visual side of things (although the action in ‘The Heat’ was surprisingly respectable), but the opportunity to see what he would do with a truly geeky Peter Parker is too good to resist.—Matt

Damien Chazelle Spider Man
Sony Pictures Classics

Damien Chazelle

Damien Chazelle’s ‘Whiplash’ focuses on a battle of wills as epic as any in a comic-book movie. Chazelle’s work as a director tends toward the artsy, but he’s supported his more ambitious side with a steady stream of genre writing gigs (like the ‘Speed’-in-a-concert-hall film ‘Grand Piano’); if he could merge both halves of his filmography into one single Spidey movie, it could be fantastic, equal parts sensitive character study and high-wire suspense. Plus, as the youngest candidate on our list, Chazelle’s also one of the closest in age to his protagonist, and the most in-tune with how the Peter Parker of 2014 would think and behave.—Matt

Jennifer Kent

Lots of white guys on this list. But, with Michelle MacLaren singing on to direct ‘Wonder Woman’ for Warner Bros. and becoming the first woman to direct a major superhero movie, there’s hope that we’ll get more female directors in the genre. And, let’s be honest: if Jennifer Kent was a guy, she’d be getting plenty of blockbuster movie offers. Despite her sex, Kent delivered one of the most assured and promising film debuts this year with her thriller ‘The Babadook.’ She took a tired genre—the mother with the creepy son who sees ghosts—and somehow infused it with a humanity and emotion missing from most horror movies. What better person to breathe new life into a franchise that’s gone stale? —Mike

Joss Whedon Spider Man

Joss Whedon

A longshot, to be sure, but it’s looking increasingly unlikely that Whedon will return for ‘Avengers 3’ once he wraps on ‘Age of Ultron.’ After some much-needed and much-deserved rest, he may be looking to get back into the game. Or, even if he’s not, Sony may make him an offer that’s too good to refuse. Before he signed on to direct the first ‘Avengers’ film, Whedon and artist Bryan Hitch pitched Marvel on a Spidey comic series that never came to fruition. Maybe they’ve still got his pitch lying around and can throw enough money at his feet to be their savior. He may want a break before he gets into another blockbuster superhero franchise, but it may better for all involved if Sony lets the Spider-Man franchise rest for a few years anyway.—Mike

Chad Stahelski and David Leitch

Studios typically hire superhero directors whose strengths lie in character drama and let technicians—stunt coordinators and choreographers, visual effects artists—worry about the action. But maybe that approach gets it backwards. Why not hire directors who know how to shoot big action sequences, since that’s what people are paying to see in a comic-book movie? And why not hire Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, the former stuntmen-turned-directors who turned ‘John Wick,’ which could have been a very conventional revenge movie, into a visually striking thriller with fluid action, a surreal, comic-book-y setting, and a dark sense of humor. Plus, maybe they can recruit their ‘John Wick’ star Keanu Reeves to play one of Spidey’s arch-nemesis. He’d make a great Alistair Smythe (sorry B.J. Novak).—Matt

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