Earlier this month, comic book fans got some huge Spider-news: a solo Venom movie is in the works, starring the incomparable Tom Hardy as the titular character. Sony also confirmed that Ruben Fleischer, of Zombieland fame, will be directing the Venom flick, and filming is starting in the fall. The studio has announced plans for the movie to hit its original October 2018 release date, as well.
This isn’t the only big news for Spider-Man fans, either. Sony has also announced a Black Cat/Silver Sable movie is also on the way, titled Silver and Black. And of course, before any of that makes it onto the big screen, there’s Spider-Man: Homecoming to look forward to this summer… but it turns out that Tom Holland’s Spidey isn’t going to be connected to the other Sony Spider-Man character movies. Let us explain.
Why Doesn’t Marvel Own All Its Characters?
Marvel movie fans have probably heard the term ‘rights sharing’ being thrown around a lot when talking about the various separate cinematic universes, but for those who aren’t sure exactly what that means, we’ve got you covered.
In essence, Marvel hasn’t always been the money-making powerhouse that it is today. Back in the mid-90s, the comic book giant actually filed for bankruptcy, and with multiple attempts to expand their money-making horizons (CDROMs, anyone?) coming up dry, things were looking bleak. The company ended up staying afloat by selling off the rights to their characters to anyone they could, before realizing that creating their own film studio would be a much more lucrative idea. As a result, multiple Marvel characters aren’t available for Marvel Studios to use on screen – including the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and of course, Spider-Man.
Spider-Man Joins The MCU
When the Marvel Cinematic Universe took off, this caused a few creative problems. Marvel fans are frustrated that they can’t see their favorite team-ups on screen, and the ability to accurately adapt big comic storylines is hampered by Marvel’s inability to use every character from the books. Unsurprisingly, Marvel wants to get their characters back, but with the massive popularity of superhero movies, and the money that means for the current owners, it’s not an easy road to reintegration.
In 2015, however, Sony and Marvel managed to strike a deal, allowing Marvel to use Spider-Man without buying back the character wholesale. In a move that seems to benefit everyone, a rights-sharing agreement was signed that allows Spider-Man to appear in the MCU and in the Sony universe, with each studio profiting off their own movies. Sony gets the cash from their Spider-Man films, Marvel gets the cash from their movies that include Spider-Man, and everyone goes home happy. The deal was a game changer, and a new Peter Parker (Tom Holland) promptly made his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, followed up by Spider-Man: Homecoming this summer.