Eddie-RedmayneMarc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man rebooted the Spidey franchise in a big way this year, with terrific leading performances from young stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.

Casting is now underway for the 2014 follow-up, with Shailene Woodley and Jamie Foxx currently circling the roles of Mary Jane Watson and the villain Electro, respectively.

We heard last week that Webb and the studio had begun looking for their new Harry Osborn, played by James Franco in Sam Raimi’s original trilogy, and that they had started with the likes of Dane DeHaan and Alden Ehrenreich. That first report also noted that the character is still being evolved in terms of what they’re looking for from an actor, and now THR report that Webb has been testing four new stars, with sources saying that the producers and filmmakers are seeking actors with characteristics including athleticism and good looks.

The new quartet of promising young stars is made up of Sam Claflin, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, and Boyd Holbrook.

Claflin was seen earlier this year in the blockbuster success, Snow White and the Huntsman, starring just left of centre as the Prince Charming character, and was also seen last year in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Redmayne has been very much on the rise in recent years, last seen on the big screen in last year’s Oscar-nominated My Week with Marilyn alongside Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh. He’ll soon be soon in Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables, alongside the likes of Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Amanda Seyfried, which is sure to cement his position as a rising star even further in the coming months.

Booth’s and Holbrook’s credits, I’m a little less familiar with. Booth was recently seen alongside Miley Cyrus in LOL, and with the Romeo role in Carlo Carlei’s upcoming Romeo and Juliet, alongside Hailee Steinfeld and Damian Lewis, and a role in Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming Noah, he looks set to be a name we’ll be getting to know next year.

Holbrook starred alongside Hugh Laurie, Leighton Meester, and Adam Brody in this year’s The Oranges, and will soon be seen in Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace, starring Christian Bale, Zoe Saldana, Casey Affleck, and Woody Harrelson; Andrew Niccol’s The Host, starring Saoirse Ronan, Jake Abel, and Max Irons; and in Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra, alongside Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, so is equally set to be a name we’ll soon be hearing a lot more of.

With four young stars very much on the rise, in recent years and in the months to come, Webb has a lot of potential, and equally the opportunity could be a huge break for whoever ultimately takes the role.

Sony are set to turn the film into (at least) a trilogy, and the Osborn role could definitely come to the fore in the third film – and I’m rather hoping that the studio might develop things even beyond three films.

Webb will be directing from a script by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek, Transformers), and Jeff Pinker (Fringe, Lost), based on an original draft by James Vanderbilt, who penned the first film.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is currently set for release on 2nd May, 2014, and is all but guaranteed to be one of the biggest films of the year. Production is expected to begin early next year, so we’ll hopefully have some concrete casting news for you soon.