drew gDrew Goddard, who has been in the Spidey web when he was going to put together the spinoff film The Sinister Six, might be moving up. Rumors lately had him as the likely candidate to script and direct the next installment of the Spider-Man franchise. I’m told he’s got a meeting and there’s optimism this will lead to a deal but that it’s a bit premature.

The Sinister Six spinoff, which focuses on Spidey’s various arch-villains and was supposed to broaden chances at making fresh movies to satisfy the ticking clock to keep Spidey from returning to Disney-based Marvel, was a hot idea after The Amazing Spider-Man franchise ran its course — two movies, over $1.4 billion worldwide gross on the pair. When Sony Pictures decided to go back to the drawing board on Spidey, enthusiasm cooled on Sinister Six.

Sony still likes Goddard, who scripted The Martian, the Ridley Scott film that’s currently in production with Matt Damon. He also scripted Cloverfield, and was one of the writers of World War Z. The job isn’t his yet, but this will be the first Spidey film to involve Kevin Feige, who has put up an enviable record of success at Marvel and knows what he’s doing. He’ll produce with Amy Pascal in a deal that I’m told stopped the feverish ticking on the rights clock that forced Sony to rush the first reboot after Sam Raimi bowed out of doing a fourth film with Tobey Maguire. Just as important, it puts the new Spidey character — the role will likely be recast — in other Marvel superhero movies starting with the next Captain America, which has been a key ingredient in Feige’s hit-making formula. Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad are exec producers.

UTA reps Goddard.