New details have emerged regarding how the Sony Spider-verse is run differently from the MCU. With the release of Venom impending, more light has been cast on the developing Spider-verse at Sony. The studio struck a deal with Marvel years ago to allow Spider-Man to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In addition to that, Sony is developing their own franchise drawing from the numerous characters they have at their disposal.
The Spider-verse, or what is now being dubbed internally Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters or SUMC, goes beyond Spider-Man. Venom will be their first outing, but is by no means their last. Sony’s licensing agreement with Marvel includes rights to roughly 900 characters. The idea is to spawn a series of sequels and standalone films starring characters that populate the Spider-Man universe if Venom does well. Sony already has plans for films about Morbius the Living Vampire, Kraven the Hunter, Silk, Jackpot, and Nightwatch. They are no longer making a Silver & Black film, instead choosing to make to two solo films.
In their report on Sony's plans, Variety detailed the power structure behind-the-scenes. Unlike MCU films (which are overseen by Kevin Feige) or even the DCEU films (which are overseen by Walter Hamada), Sony doesn’t have a boss overseeing its universe. The closest they have is Sanford Panitch, president of Columbia Pictures, and the executive who has been overseeing Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters. His job is more to get the films into shape. The projects themselves are driven by their producers. Former Sony film chief Amy Pascal is producing the sequel to Spider-Man:Homecoming and the Silk film. Sony executive Palak Patel is overseeing Morbius and played a key role in Venom. Other Sony Marvel movies will be produced by Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach. Gina Prince-Bythewood, who was set to direct the Silver & Black movie, will produce the Black Cat and Silver Sable solo films.
Sony is open to sharing their licensed characters other than Spider-Man with Marvel and are hopeful that some of the Avengers may make cameos in Sony films. Sony is also focusing on more female-driven projects, another departure from the MCU, who will have their first female led film with next year’s Captain Marvel. The Black Cat and Silver Sable films are just the start. Silk, is a Korean-American girl with spider-like abilities. Jackpot is another female character, a vigilante in her mid-forties.
Sony’s disjointed leadership may work in their favor. It could produce richer and more varied stories starring many different characters. They will tie into a larger universe but won’t have to follow a linear timeline. Different producers will bring new takes to the universe. The focus on more diverse stories is a prime example of that. Sony has a large stable of characters to draw from and many opportunities of crossovers. The SUMC promises to be an interesting addition to the other comic book franchises.
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018