With all the wacky rumors and big announcements coming out of Warner Bros. and Marvel these days, it's easy to forget that Sony is building a big screen superhero universe of its own. Though The Amazing Spider-Man 2 won't hit theaters until later this year, it's already been announced that two spin-off movies - Sinister Six and Venom - are on the way.
In a recent interview, Roberto Orci - co-writer of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and 3 (as well as the forthcoming Venom) and a key member of the "brain trust" shepherding the development of the Cinematic Spider-Man Universe - talked about what we can expect from the aforementioned supervillain movies.
Orci was asked - courtesy of Roth Cornet at IGN - how the writers/producers plan to approach the Sinister Six and Venom films, considering the movies will primarily feature villains as protagonists. Will they be bad guys-turned-good guys (sort of) in the film, a la the Marvel comic book Thunderbolts? Orci said:
"That's the discussion we're having right now; how exactly do you do that, and how do you do it without betraying the audience and making them all mean? Drew Goddard [the director/co-writer of 'The Cabin in the Woods'] is going to be writing that one, so it's kind of his problem. [Laughs.] I'm kidding. We're all working on each other's stuff. So we want to be true to it, but there are some anti-heroes in this day and age. There's been examples of that even on TV - Vic Mackey on 'The Shield,' one of the great anti-heroes of all time. There are ways to milk that story. Audiences have seen everything. They've seen all the good guys who never do anything wrong. Is there a story in seeing the other side? That's the challenge, and that's the fun. I'm not sure how we're going to do that yet."
Though it would no doubt be interesting to see comic book movie anti-heroes treated with as much seriousness and grit as a character like Vic Mackey or even Walter White from Breaking Bad, it seems much more likely that the villainy and darkness in these films will be toned down for the big screen. Can you imagine Doctor Octopus or The Rhino poisoning a little kid or covering up the murder of an altogether different little kid or ordering the deaths of several (relatively) innocent people over the course of a 90-minute summer blockbuster movie? Sure, it's possible - but it's not probable.
On how the villains of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 are created, Orci said:
"Oscorp plays an important part in how our villains get created, obviously, in the first one. So because Peter becoming Spider-Man came out of that, rather than saying, 'And then this alien came from space,' or whatever, they're doing human-hybrid, weird stuff at Oscorp. That's where Gwen Stacy works [...] as well. So the idea of it representing the good and the bad of science, that it can do great things, but it can also mess you up and do weird things and transform people - as all science can be used for good or bad. So it's nice to have that organizing principal, but it wasn't like, 'We must keep it at Oscorp.' It flowed naturally from the story development."
As with many things from The Amazing Spider-Man films, this seems to be co-opted more from the Ultimate Spider-Man comic book series than the 616 Marvel Universe Spider-Man. Orci all but explicitly references Venom by talking about the "alien from space," which was the 616 (and Raimi Spider-Man 3) origin story for Venom. He also seemingly implies that the Venom of the Amazing Spider-Man franchise will instead be created using "human-hybrid, weird stuff at Oscorp."
It's unclear precisely what that means, but it certainly sounds more like Ultimate Venom, which was a science experiment - an attempt to cure cancer - gone wrong. In fact, Ultimate Carnage was created by Curt Connors (The Lizard) from a combination of the Venom symbiote, his own DNA, and Peter Parker's DNA. Could this (or something along these lines) be the impetus for the new version of Venom?
Finally, Orci clarified that the announced release date for The Amazing Spider-Man 4 (2018) really is intended for TASM4 and not Sinister Six or Venom:
"[...] No, I think with 'Spider-Man 4,' the intention is for it to be 'Spider-Man.' "
Well, there you have it. If you were concerned that the Spider-Man films would stop being made once the supervillain movies took over, fear not. Not that that was ever a concern.
For the full interview with Roberto Orci, make sure to head over to IGN.
What say you, Screen Ranters? Are you looking forward to this new direction Sony's taking with regard to superhero cinema? Do you like the idea of the Sinister Six or Venom as anti-heroes? Drop us a line in the comments.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hits theaters on May 2nd, 2014, followed by The Amazing Spider-Man 3 on June 10th, 2016, and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 on May 4th, 2018. Venom and Sinister Six do not currently have official release dates.
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.