By Amy Ryan
Updated April 17, 2007 at 07:32 PM EDT
Everett Collection

Yesterday’s report by’s Adam Markovitz, in which Sam Raimi said he might direct The Hobbit and abandon the Spider-Man franchise seems to have torn a hole in the space-time continuum, at least as far as the fanboy crowd is concerned. It’s bad enough that Peter Jackson seems all but certain to be out of the director’s chair for the Lord of the Rings prequel, and while everyone loves Raimi, he’s no Peter Jackson (a caveat Raimi himself was quick to express in his conversation with EW’s Steve Daly). But if Raimi did direct The Hobbit, he’d be unable to direct Spider-Man 4, and Sony might give it to someone like (shudder) Brett Ratner and… well, it’s just an apocalyptic disaster all around, no?

This Middle-earth/Marvel-verse crisis has sparked plenty of chatter in the blogosphere, particularly over the article’s comment from Kirsten Dunst (pictured, with Tobey Maguire) about what a mistake it would be to break up the successful Spider-clan. “It’s disrespectful to the whole team, I think, to do that,” she said. “Andaudiences aren’t stupid. It’d be a big flop without me, Tobey, or Sam.That would really not be the smartest move.” Especially over at Ain’t It Cool News, fans are going ballistic over the “It’d be a big flop without me…” remark. After all, many Spider-fans felt Dunst should never have been cast as Mary Jane in the first place, and that the filmmakers should have at least gone with someone who didn’t have to dye her hair red.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Is Dunst an expendable element in the franchise? Is Maguire, who’s expressed ambivalence about a fourth installment? Is Raimi? On the other hand, would it really be so terrible if Raimi landed the Hobbit gig? Jackson aside, is anyone better suited to shoot that Tolkien tale? And if Raimi (or Dunst or Maguire) leaves Spider-Man 4, who should be the replacement(s)?

addCredit(“Spider-Man 2: Everett Collection”)

Spider-Man 3

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 139 minutes
  • Sam Raimi