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Maguire quits Spider-Man role

Actor Tobey Maguire and director Sam Raimi will not be returning to the Spider-Man franchise next year.

Instead, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios announced that a new Spider-Man film based on a script by James Vanderbilt that focuses on Peter Parker in high school would debut in the summer of 2012 with a new cast and filmmaking team.

"I am so proud of what we accomplished with the 'Spider-Man' franchise over the last decade," 34-year-old Maguire said in a statement.

"Beyond the films themselves, I have formed some deep and lasting friendships. I am excited to see the next chapter unfold in this incredible story."

The announcement of a reboot comes after reports that Spider-Man 4 production stalled amid script revisions.

The original Spider-Man 4 release date seemed unlikely last week when Paramount Pictures announced that Thor, another big-screen Marvel superhero adaptation, had agreed the same May 6, 2011 release date as the fourth Spidey movie.

"Working on the 'Spider-Man' movies was the experience of a lifetime for me," Raimi, who directed all three Spider-Man films, also said in a statement.

"While we were looking forward to doing a fourth one together, the studio and Marvel have a unique opportunity to take the franchise in a new direction, and I know they will do a terrific job."

Maguire said in an interview last week that there was "great stuff in terms of story and script" for the fourth chapter and the plan was to still release the film in 2011.

Sony said it would have more news about the next Spider-Man movie in coming weeks.

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