Yesterday when Sony Pictures Entertainment confirmed that The Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb would return for the third film in the franchise, ComicBook.com noted that an old contractual obligation to 20th Century Fox that nearly prevented him taking The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had still not been met. The other shoe appears to have dropped on that front, as the studio have optioned the Russian spy thriller Cold Comfort (aka How to Catch a Russian Spy) for Webb to direct, according to Deadline. No specific timetable is given, so it's not clear whether this will be a smaller production that they try to fit in between Spider-Man installments or whether it will wait until after The Amazing Spider-Man 3. There is always the (very unlikely) possibility that The Amazing Spider-Man 3 could be delayed instead, particularly if Divergent performs well in theaters when it opens in March and Webb has to recast Mary Jane Watson. Divergent star Shailene Woodley, who had the role in this film, was reportedly cut for time and pacing, and has said it's unlikely she'll return to the franchise if Divergent demands sequels from her. The next film in the franchise, Allegiant, is tentatively scheduled for 2016.
Cold Comfort is the true account of an American civilian-turned-self-taught spy, who worked with the FBI to bring down a Russian intelligence agent on American soil. Sony recently announced that they want to make a Spider-Man Universe film every year. The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is slated for 2016 with The Amazing Spider-Man 4 currently at 2018. It seems likely that, barring some story development that replaces Peter Parker with somebody else, the 2018 movie will actually be one of the spinoffs (Sinister Six and Venom have already been announced), which would give them three full years to replace Webb and Garfield (who has expressed no interest in going past his three-picture deal). At that point, you'll probably see even-numbered years featuring spinoff characters while odd-numbered years are Spidey proper.