Sony has confirmed that Spider-Man will be joining up with the Venom villain/antihero universe that launched last year. Back in 2014, Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures reached a high-profile deal that brought a rebooted Spider-Man into the MCU. Unfortunately, that deal recently collapsed, and Sony now intends to continue producing its own Spider-Man movies without the help of Marvel Studios.
Many fans have hoped that Sony and Marvel would find a way to reconcile. Sadly, that always seemed unlikely; the deal between the two rival studios was unprecedented, and a result of business interests unexpectedly aligning. Now, the two companies are headed in very different directions. Marvel Studios wants Kevin Feige to focus on corporate priorities such as Disney+ and the recent Fox acquisitions, while Sony believes it has learned all the lessons needed in order to make Spider-Man a success independently.
Speaking to Variety, Sony chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra has confirmed that Sony now has plans of their own for Tom Holland's Peter Parker. "Spider-Man was fine before the event movies," he noted. "[He] did better with the event movies, and now that we have our own universe, he will play off the other characters as well. I think we’re pretty capable of doing what we have to do here.” The comment confirms that Spider-Man will continue to team up - but now he'll be paired with Sony-owned Marvel properties, which include the likes of Venom and Morbius, rather than the likes of Nick Fury and Iron Man.
It's easy to see why Sony believe Tom Holland's Spider-Man could fit well into their developing villain universe. While Venom was a blockbuster success, grossing over $850 million in the global box office, the truth is that Sony's plans always had a Spider-Man-shaped hole in them. There'd been some speculation the studio could fill that gap with Silk, a character who was also bitten by that fateful radioactive spider, but that had seemed unlikely; she simply doesn't have the same kind of brand recognition as Peter Parker himself.
The interesting question will be how Sony follow on from Spider-Man: Far From Home's epic cliffhanger. It's possible they'll do a soft reboot in order to restore Peter Parker's secret identity, but it's more reasonable to assume they'll try to carry it on, stripping it of explicit MCU references. Ironically, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige had already indicated Marvel planned to do a stripped-down version of Spider-Man in the next film, one who stepped out of Iron Man's shadow completely. Sony get to do just that, albeit in a more extreme form. While the Marvel fans will no doubt be disappointed, at least Tom Holland gets to team up with Tom Hardy's Venom.
- Morbius (2020) release date: Jul 31, 2020