Sony and Marvel Studios have had a rocky relationship, and Spider-Man is at the center of that tension. Sony owns the film rights to Spider-Man and most of the characters related to the web-slinger. However, Spider-Man is one of Marvel’s most popular and most successful characters. Naturally with the success of the MCU, Marvel has longed to have one of their prize characters back. Meanwhile, Sony loves the idea of using the web-slinger’s universe and plans to have a SpiderVerse without a Spider-Man if they must.
For several years, there has been an ongoing custody battle for Spider-Man between Disney’s Marvel Studios and Sony. Marvel and Sony’s current arrangement states that Sony will continue to own the character in films, but Marvel will be allowed to use him in the MCU. Sony then gets a cut of the profits, usually an even split, on every movie that utilizes Spider-Man.
However, Sony is also continuing to make films based on other Spider-Man characters like Venom and Morbius. They also appear to be hinting at their own cinematic universe based on these characters, which could lead to some problems. Is a SpiderVerse without a Spider-Man such a good idea?
Spoilers Ahead for Spider-Man: No Way Home and Morbius
Spider-Man’s Shared CustodySony was the only company making Spider-Man films until 2015. At that point, Disney and Sony decided to work together and share Spider-Man. That led to Spider-Man appearing in Captain America: Civil War. Marvel and Disney would also have the largest part in creating the first solo Spider-Man film as part of this deal, Spider-Man: Homecoming.
However, there are a lot of complications with this deal.
Marvel Studios only has access to Spider-Man. Likewise, Sony still retains the rights to the characters relating to Spider-Man in film. This means that Marvel Studios can’t do anything with Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery without Sony’s permission (with the exception of a select few).
It is important to note that the specifics of their deal haven’t been made public. However, there are a few aspects of their deal that are known for certain. One part of this is that there will be at least one more trilogy of Spider-Man movies made with Tom Holland and Disney’s Marvel Studios. There will also be other appearances of Spider-Man in the MCU outside of his solo outings.
Marvel Studios is able to use Spider-Man at the moment, but that doesn’t mean they have access to all of the heroes in Spidey’s catalog. Sony is still keeping a lot of their “Spider” cards close to their chest. They seem set on continuing to make a SpiderVerse without a Spider-Man.
Several films revolving around Spider-Man’s cavalcade of antagonists are likely to hit theaters often over the next few years. However, their films are set in a different universe to the MCU. As of now, they will not feature a Spider-Man. But is a SpiderVerse without a Spider-Man really sensible for Sony?
Sony’s Sinister Six
It’s no secret that Sony wants to do a Sinister Six movie. They originally announced the film back in 2013, and it was going to be a part of their Amazing Spider-Man film series with Andrew Garfield. Sony even teased it at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. When Spider-Man entered the MCU, the film was, naturally, put on hold. Most just assumed it was then canceled.
Some fans suspected that the Sinister Six might be the villains in Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, there were only 5 classic Spidey villains in the final film (Venom does appear but never actually fights Spider-Man). That didn’t stop Sony though.
At the end of Morbius, the titular character meets The Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming. Their meeting certainly raises numerous questions about Sony’s universe and hints at a possible team-up for those characters in the future. Sony also has several other “Spider” projects on the way.
They have announced a Madame Webb movie starring Dakota Johnson and a Kraven the Hunter movie starring Aaron Taylor Johnson. Sony also just announced an El Muerto film starring Bad Bunny as well. There are also other films supposedly in the works such as Venom 3, Silver Sable, and Silk. However, there have not been any updates on these films recently.
While Sony hasn’t come out to officially state it, it appears they are at least laying the groundwork for a possible Sinister Six movie. Sony might be retooling the Sinister Six to be comprised more of anti-heroes rather than villains though. The team will likely have to team up to stop an even greater threat. On the other hand, they might stay villains. Other Sony characters have appeared in the MCU, so Spider-May might make his way into Sony’s universe.
The SpiderVerseSony actually has a lot of options with the introduction of the multiverse. The multiverse allows for the possibility of the SpiderVerse in live-action films. The SpiderVerse has existed for a while in the comics already. It usually features different “Spider” heroes from other dimensions.
Sony could easily use this to its advantage. They have actually already done it. Into the Spiderverse was a fantastic film, and it showed fans several amazing heroes from the SpiderVerse such as Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy’s Spider characters. Sony could take that model and apply it to their live-action films.
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Sony could use any of the other “Spider” characters to take the place of the regular Spider-Man. Gwen Stacy became Ghost-Spider in an alternate universe. She could be the hero of Sony’s universe. It would provide a different take on the Spider-Man formula, and it would give the films a new perspective to work off. Miles Morales is the Ultimate Spider-Man in another universe as well. He is a fan-favorite character, and fans have waited to see him in a movie since the character’s creation.
He was hinted at in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but he hasn’t appeared in a live-action film yet. Miles is another character that would bring a new and unique perspective to the Spider-Man films. Unlike Peter Parker, Miles’ powers break normal Spider-Man conventions. He can turn invisible and unleash a strong electric pulse. Those powers would be visually stunning on screen. It would also give some more variety to the typical web shooting.
Thus, if Sony wanted to pursue a SpiderVerse without a Spider-Man, it wouldn’t make much sense. Since they have Miles right there.
Rumors & TheoriesOf course, there have been several rumors surrounding future projects. Spider-Man: No Way Home reintroduced the world to both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men. Since then, fans have speculated about future films starring those characters. Fans wonder: could there perhaps be an Amazing Spider-Man 3 or a Spider-Man 4?
As of now, that isn’t planned. However, there is one theory that has plausibility.
Throughout Spider-Man: No Way Home, all the Peters talk about the villains from their respective universes. Fans started to speculate that the universe Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man is from could be the same universe as Venom and Sony’s other Spider-Man films. The theory has potential.
Tobey’s Spider-Man already fought a different Venom, so it can’t be his universe. In the No Way Home, Garfield’s Peter Parker also states he hasn’t fought anything from space. However, Venom was released after the original Amazing Spider-Man films. The Venom film also takes place in California, so it makes sense that Garfield’s Spider-Man hasn’t fought Venom yet.
Doctor Strange’s spell caused people who knew Peter Parker was Spider-Man to come from all other dimensions. Yet Venom is pulled into the MCU’s dimension too. This begs the question: How did he arrive in that dimension if there isn’t a Spider-Man in his universe? Andrew could be the connective tissue there.
That also leaves the door open for Andrew Garfield to return as Spider-Man, face Venom, and take part in Sony’s new version of the Sinister Six. It kills two birds with one stone. That allows Sony to have their own universe that runs independent of the MCU, and they can both have a Spider-Man.
Why have a SpiderVerse without a Spider-Man when this is possible? Garfield even said he’s open to playing Spider-Man again too!
The Future of Sony’s SpiderverseThere are a lot of directions Sony could go with their Spiderverse and have it make sense. Regardless of the direction they take, it still feels odd. The characters they are using for solo films are primarily villains to Spider-Man. While several of them have become more anti-heroes in the comics, they still have roots as villains. They also tend to work better as villains.
Turning the Sinister Six into a bunch of anti-heroes defeats the purpose of the Sinister Six. They are “sinister” after all. Not some Sony Suicide Squad.
Sony also already has a Spiderverse of their own in animation. Into the Spiderverse was a fantastic film, and it was enormously successful. There is even a sequel to the film on the way. It successfully combined different characters from the Spiderverse together in an amazing way. Each character had personality, and depth, and was unique to their dimension.
It also successfully brought Miles Morales onto the big screen and introduced so many fans to that character. It is odd that Sony wants to try to craft another Spiderverse without a Spider-Man when they already have an amazing Spider-Man they can build upon.
Sony does not have the best track record with live-action Spider-Man films. Their most successful live-action Spider-Man films have all been MCU films. However, they seem to have a belief that they can create Spider-Man films without Marvel that will be just as successful. They believe that a Spiderverse can be created with only Spider-Man’s rogues gallery.
While it is possible, making Spider-Man’s villains become heroes or anti-heroes ignores what makes those characters amazing. Sony is also blatantly ignoring the other characters they could use like Spider-Gwen or Spider-Man 2099. It is an odd choice, to say the least.