Marvel Artist Alex Ross Teases Spider-Man 4

UPDATE: Ross' painting below first appeared in the opening credits to Spider-Man 2 in 2003. It's [...]

UPDATE: Ross' painting below first appeared in the opening credits to Spider-Man 2 in 2003. It's still a peculiar social media posting when you combine this afternoon's news and Ross' inclusion of the hashtag. The story as it originally appeared is below.

Earlier today, Marvel released a teaser through their social media pages seemingly teasing a new Spider-Man project. With the number four made out of spider's silk, it has yet to be seen what exactly the tease is for, and fans have run amok online trying to speculate what could be coming from the House of Ideas. Some have tried convincing themselves Marvel would be publishing Sam Raimi's unproduced Spider-Man 4 in comic book form while others seem to think it's going to be a crossover between Spidey and Marvel's First Family in the Fantastic Four.

Now, thanks to the legendary Alex Ross, the mystery grows larger. Sometime after the teaser was released from Marvel, the iconic painter took to social media channels of his own to share a painting of Spider-Man swinging through New York while holding Mary Jane Watson. Sounds normal, right?

Well, this particular version of Mary Jane is almost certainly Kirsten Dunst's portrayal of the character from Raimi's trilogy during the now-infamous scene where a fake Spider-Man dummy was used for the swinging stunt. If you think back to 2007, Spider-Man 4 was in development at one point, reportedly courting actors like Anne Hathaway, Bruce Campbell, and John Malkovich to play Felicia Hardy, Mysterio, and Lizard, respectively. That's all before Sony ultimately decided to reboot and go with Andrew Garfield and his Amazing Spider-Man franchise.

Phew, that's a lot to unpack, right? Sure, it could all just be one big coincidence. Maybe Ross had been working on this piece and decided to release the painting with a tongue-in-cheek hashtag to capitalize on the current speculation. Or, many of those fans are right in that Marvel Comics is giving Raimi his chance to tell his fourth Spider-Man story in the serialized format and Alex Ross has been tasked with painting the covers.

After all, Marvel Editor-in-Chief CB Cebulski had retweeted the teaser, telling his followers that they wouldn't "see this coming..."

What do you think the teaser is for? Are we getting a Spider-Man 4 or not? Let us know your thoughts or theories in the comments below or by tweeting me at @AdamBarnhardt!