Predicting Sony's Spider-Man Villain Universe Slate

Sony Spider-Man Movie Slate

The box office success of Venom has given Sony the perfect launchpad for a slate of Spider-Man spinoff movies over the next few years. Although Venom was panned by critics, audiences seem to have been satisfied with the film, and it's now grossed over $800 million in the global box office. To give an idea of how significant a success this is, Venom has officially beaten all but one of the DCEU movies - and its performance in China suggests it might even top that. This feat is all the more impressive given Venom had a budget of just $100 million.

Sony had always intended Venom to act as the launchpad for a new shared universe, one that uses secondary characters lifted from the Spider-Man franchise. Needless to say, Venom's tremendous performance means the studio is pushing ahead with this idea; Sony Pictures has recently secured release dates for two Spider-Man spinoffs in 2020. The first is a "non-sequel" on July 10, while the second is a "sequel" slated for October 2.

Related: Venom Has Outgrossed EVERY X-Men Movie

So what exactly does Sony Pictures have planned? The idea of two Spider-Man spinoff movies in 2020 suggests that Venom's success will lead to an accelerated release schedule, with the studio perhaps aiming to release two films per year going forward. It's generally believed that Sony aims to imitate the success of Marvel Studios, with a number of solo films set in the same shared universe, all building up to a triumphant event movie akin to 2012's The Avengers.

Silver Sable and Black Cat have presumably been dropped from this phase; Sony canceled Silver & Black, and although they're reportedly planning on solo films for sneak-thief Black Cat and gun-for-hire Silver Sable, there's been no hint those new plans are anywhere near development. Given all the changes, let's take a look at the possible slate going forward.

Sony's 2020 Movies: Morbius and the Venom Sequel

Morbius Jared Leto

2020 is the easiest year to call; the July release is presumably Morbius, while the inevitable Venom sequel is in the fall. Producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad have already confirmed that Morbius is Sony's next Marvel movie (not counting Spider-Man: Far From Home, which is a Marvel Studios production). Morbius currently expected to start filming in February next year, which would easily allow it to hit the July 10 release date. Sony has hired Jared Leto as the titular "Living Vampire," a scientist whose attempt to cure himself of a rare blood condition transforms himself into a creature of the night who suffers from a desperate hunger for blood. The latest reports suggest that the villain is a brand new character named Loxias Crown, Morbius' best friend. It's believed that both Morbius and Crown will suffer from the same illness, and both will consume a "cure" that goes badly wrong. That approach would allow for the traditional superhero "mirror villain."

Related: Morbius the Living Vampire: Who Is He, and What Are His Powers?

Given the October 2 release date is already confirmed for a "sequel," it simply has to be Venom 2. The first film ended with the tongue-slavering symbiote embracing the comic-book-accurate role of Lethal Protector of San Francisco, with Venom and Eddie Brock striking a deal in which the symbiote will only eat bad guys. Granted, the symbiote doesn't exactly seem too clear on what constitutes a "bad guy," and still thinks dogs look like appetizing snacks, but the deal has been made nonetheless. Meanwhile, the Venom post-credits scene sets up the future introduction of Carnage. According to director Ruben Fleischer, Carnage was deliberately saved for the sequel.

Sony's 2021 Movies: Nightwatch and Kraven?

The 2020 slate is easy to deduce, but everything afterwards is fairly speculative. That said, the most likely contenders for 2021 are the Nightwatch and Kraven movies. Nightwatch is one of Sony's more surprising choices; a little-known vigilante, Doctor Kevin Trench got caught in a time loop when he stumbled upon the death of his future self - wearing powerful exo-armor. Trench initially attempted to escape this destiny, but was ultimately forced to suit up nonetheless. This particular hero is one of the more obscure Spider-Man spinoff characters, but he does seem to be a priority for Sony; in fact, Cheo Hodari Coker (Luke Cage) has reportedly been recruited as writer. There have been rumors that Sony is already casting Nightwatch. So it would make sense for Nightwatch to have a 2021 release date.

The Kraven movie seems to be in a fairly similar position in terms of pre-production, with Richard Wenk having been hired to work on the script. In the comics, Kraven is a big game hunter who becomes obsessed with Spider-Man; Wenk is most interested in developing the classic "Kraven's Last Hunt" storyline, but it's uncertain whether he'll be able to do so - it all depends on the relationship between Marvel and Sony, given that particular arc strongly involves Spider-Man. Interestingly, Wenk has also indicated that some of the ideas he's toying with are for a two-parter; the first film would be setup, laying the foundations for a sequel.

Page 2 of 2: Sony's 2022 & 2023 Spider-Villain Universe Slate

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