It would be an understatement to say that the last few months have been an interesting time for Spiderman. A role in the epic Avengers: Endgame was followed up by his most successful solo outing in July’s Spiderman: Far From Home, all before he was suddenly plucked from the MCU, only to be restored last month. It’s been one hell of a summer for Tom Holland’s Peter Parker. The failed negotiation between Sony (who own the film rights to Spiderman) and Disney (who own Marvel Studios) that lead to his MCU exit were resolved. Consequently, a third film in the ‘Home’ trilogy has been confirmed, as well as another appearance in a team-up Marvel film. Now it seems that the friendly neighbourhood superhero will also be part of Sony’s plans for their own cinematic universe, which includes Venom and the upcoming Morbius film.
When the new deal was confirmed, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige commented on how Spiderman would be the “only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes”. This sparked interest and it now seems that Sony is moving forward intending to involve Spiderman with Tom Hardy’s Venom following comments by Venom director Ruben Fleischer. Despite the directing duties being handed over to Andy Serkis for the sequel, he revealed that a confrontation between the two is “where it’s all going to lead”, adding to the speculation regarding the character’s future. Sony seems set on building their own cinematic universe, fuelled by the financial success of Venom even though it was panned by critics. At first, it seemed they only had their eyes set on Spiderman’s rogues’ gallery of villains, with Jared Leto being cast as vampire Dr. Michael Morbius, as well as Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock (Venom). However, following the whole Sony-Disney roller coaster there was speculation that Sony wanted to throw Spiderman into the mix.
The iconic wall-crawler was noticeably absent from Fleischer’s Venom, meaning that the villain’s origin story is considerably different from what it is traditionally. In the comics, the Venom symbiote binds to Eddie Brock because of their mutual hatred of Spiderman. The film for-goes this part of Venom’s story, meaning that introducing Spiderman at this stage would mean that their relationship/rivalry would be without its traditional history. Moreover, there is also the fact that the character is still a key part of Marvel Studios’ plans for the future of the MCU. Tom Holland’s third outing as the character has been announced for a 2021 release, with the unnamed team-up film coming some point after that. So if Sony were to launch Spidey into their universe it might end up running alongside the MCU. Of course, Sony could opt to introduce an alternative version of the character and not necessarily Peter Parker to avoid confusion, yet it’s unlikely that they will deviate. Alternatively, they could attempt to bring Tom Holland’s version across universes, but given how unpopular it was when he was unceremoniously pulled out of the MCU this summer, even a smooth exit would cause an uproar amongst MCU fans.
Andy Serkis’ sequel to Venom already has a rather packed set of characters as it is. The first film teased Woody Harrelson as fellow villain Carnage and it was recently announced that the film will also feature Shriek. Throwing Spiderman in there might over-complicate things, meaning that we might not see him until the Venom character is more established. Despite Fleischer’s comments, the situation is still very much up in the air. Kevin Feige and Marvel obviously still have major plans for Spiderman, and they worked incredibly hard on getting to use the character in the first place. There’s the resolution of the Far From Home cliff-hanger and the hints from co-producer Amy Pascal that the Marvel Universe might be heading towards the Sinister Six (a group of Spiderman’s foes).
For now, Sony will pursue their universe in an attempt to emulate the success of the MCU, despite the critical mauling that Venom received and the lack of fan faith in Sony’s ability to handle Spiderman. No-one really knows where Spiderman’s future lies beyond the next few years. He’s one of the hottest comic book properties there is, and it’s no surprise how highly Marvel and Sony value him.
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