This past May, Sony released its second entry in their rebooted superhero franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which arrived with a set of almost impossible expectations (due to an almost unprecedentedly omnipresent PR campaign). While the film felt overall like a step in the right direction for Sony's Spider-Man series, the reveal of certain changes from earlier versions of the script have fans convinced the movie could have been better.
In the wake of the much more seamless world-building present in other 2014 comic book-based releases like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Past, it's tempting to dismiss TASM2 as more of an instrument used to establish Sony's own cinematic universe (a la Iron Man 2) than anything else. Given co-writer Roberto Orci's recent comments about the uncertain fate of The Amazing Spider-Man 3, it feels safe to assume that Sony is rethinking its approach to the studio's Marvel properties.
Orci's erstwhile creative partner (at least on the television projects that the pair developed before they split professionally) Alex Kurtzman recently spoke to the TCA Press Tour about his upcoming CBS series Scorpion. Kurtzman provided Collider with answers about several of his ongoing projects, among them the current status of Amazing Spider-Man spinoffs Venom and Sinister Six.
When asked about his main priorities at the moment, he spoke about the recently-confirmed plans to reboot Universal's classic monster movies into one universe, starting with The Mummy:
Front and center right now is Chris Morgan and I working on getting The Mummy off the ground and building up our Monster Universe. That’s where I’m spending my time. And working with Drew Goddard on Sinister Six.
When asked what in particular excites him about such a high-profile supervillain team-up, Kurzman said:
I am a crazy fan of movies like The Wild Bunch or Wages of Fear, where you’re rooting for the bad guys. I think that’s the opportunity that Sinister Six has to provide.
This naturally led to an inquiry on the state of The Amazing Spider-Man 3. Kurtzman had less concrete answers on the mooted prequel, and only remarked, "It’s still in conversation. Everybody is still figuring it out." A follow-up question on when we might actually see the movie was met with essentially the same answer: "We’re just trying to figure it out."
Kurtzman then confirmed something many fans have suspected, that a Venom movie has become a big priority for the studio, even moving TASM3 onto a back-burner (most likely to the 2018 release date Sony has slated for a Spider-Man movie). When asked about Venom (which he will direct), Kurtzman said:
Venom will come after Sinister Six, I think is the plan.
Beyond these details, Kurtzman stayed vague on other aspects of Sony's plans for its interconnected movie universe, such as the possibility of properly introducing Black Cat, whose alter ego Felicia Hardy was (presumably) included in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, played by Felicity Jones. Will the Spider-Man movie continuity see its own female-led standalone film? Kurtzman only answered:
Anything is possible. We are always looking for opportunities like that. I can’t say a whole lot about it, but I wouldn't rule anything out.
And as for connecting Sinister Six to Venom on some level (which makes sense in a grand-scheme kind of way), Kurtzman replied:
Everything is still on the table, right now. Because it’s a universe outside of the Spider-Man universe, even though it’s connected to it, those movies have to stand on their own. So, we’ll see. We’ll see how it goes.
And that was all Kurtzman had to say, save for a quick update on the Locke & Key film adaptation, which is currently being written and is "still moving forward." When it comes to the Spider-Man films, it certainly seems that The Amazing Spider-Man 2's middling critical reception and softer-than-expected box office has changed Sony's priorities.
Will laying the groundwork for a highly-developed web (ahem) of villainy pay off in the long run? If some fans and critics have experienced Spidey-fatigue, focusing on new-to-the-screen baddies like Mysterio, Kraven and Vulture (among others) may help inject a fresh energy and perspective. Still, there is always the danger of keeping the central hero off the big screen too long. We'll have to wait and see how well Sinister Six does on its own.
Sinister Six and Venom do not currently have release dates, but will reach theaters before The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which still has the tentative release date of June 10th, 2016.