As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand and make big bank at the box office, the production schedule for more superhero films is rapidly filling up years in advance. Despite the fact that Spider-Man (Tom Holland) only recently made his big screen debut in Captain America: Civil War, and his standalone movie Spider-Man: Homecoming doesn’t come out until this summer, a Homecoming sequel has already been slated for theatrical release in July of 2019.
Spider-Man joining the MCU meant that rights-holder Sony struck a collaborative deal to let the webslinger run with the Avengers. These superhero team-ups have worked very well for Marvel, and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), aka Iron Man, features prominently in the trailers for Spider-Man: Homecoming. Peter Parker will also be taking part in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.
To capitalize on the positive buzz for all things Spider-Man, Sony has additionally decided to develop additional films from Spidey’s comic book history as part of their own shared continuity, Sony’s Marvel Universe, if you will. In an interview with Variety, actor Tom Holland was uncertain if his version of the teenage hero would be taking part in planned projects featuring Venom and a Black Cat/Silver Sable team-up:
“I have no idea. I haven’t read a script. I haven’t seen any sort of concept art, so that would be something I would decide on when I see material.”
Venom has already been given an October 2018 release date, which means if Sony’s Marvel Universe does end up connecting to the MCU, Holland would need to be approached fairly soon if he’s to be a part of filming. Recent news about the Silver Sable and Black Cat film indicates, however, that current plans are that these “spin-offs” (which currently are not actually spin-offs) won’t be connected to the MCU. While films like Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy did fine with only tangential connections to the greater universe, and Deadpool was amusingly meta about its own weak connection to the X-Men, it’s harder to imagine a character like Venom in a film without Spidey.
The complications of character and movie rights can be frustrating for fans, who just want to see all their favorite superheroes on the big screen together. While even a brief appearance from Holland’s Spider-Man could help build interest from fans in the spinoffs, it’s currently up to Sony, Marvel, and how separate they want this Spideyverse to be from the existing MCU world.