A live-action version of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse would be a great way to continue Spidey's future on the big screen, and here's how it could happen. Following the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, the Marvel-Sony union seemed assured to continue after the film cleared $1 billion worldwide, becoming the highest grossing Spider-Man movie to date. However, Sony and Marvel failed to reach an agreement to extend the two studios' shared use of the beloved superhero, thus resulting in Marvel losing the option to use Spider-Man in the MCU.
Spider-Man: Far From Home's cliffhanger ending leaves both studios in quite a tight spot in how much either can now plausibly (and legally) reference Spidey's new status quo and other adventures within the MCU. However, it's actually a perfect way to separate the character from the overarching franchise and allow him to continue on his own. Without worrying about dealing with MCU connections, Sony can easily integrate Tom Holland's Spider-Man into their spinoff universe that began with 2018's Venom. But that's not the only ongoing Spider-Man series.
Sony is currently working on sequels, spinoffs, and TV shows based on their acclaimed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse animated film. But considering that they have full creative control over Spider-Man and his characters now (even though they never lost the film rights to them), the studio can create a live-action Spider-Verse movie can transform their spinoff/villain universe into something akin to the one seen in the animated movie. It's arguably the best option for Sony to pursue with regards to Spider-Man's big screen future.
The Spider-Verse Explained
While the world has known Peter Parker as its Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man since his debut in the comic book world in 1962, Into the Spider-Verse shifted the focus to Miles Morales, who first burst into the comics in 2011. For Into the Spider-Verse, the film utilized Marvel's 2014 story arc, which first introduced the concept of the Spider-Verse in the comics, but tweaked it. After an encounter with a radioactive spider grants Miles his own arachnid abilities, Into the Spider-Verse thrusts him into the mantle of The Amazing Spider-Man following Peter Parker's death at the hands of New York City's notorious crime boss, Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin. However, after Fisk's plot to open a doorway to parallel universes has the unintended effect of bringing over several Wall Crawlers from other worlds, including an older, more grizzled Peter Parker as well as Spider-Gwen. Miles teams up with his fellow Web Slingers to put a stop to Kingpin once and for all.
Upon its release in December 2018, the animated Into the Spider-Verse film received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike, and ultimately won numerous awards, culminating in an Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 2019 Academy Awards. Into the Spider-Verse also would not mark the end of Sony's venture into taking Spider-Man into animated territory, with the studio also swiftly giving the greenlight to both a direct sequel and female-led spin-off. On top of the universal acclaim that Into the Spider-Verse had enjoyed, Sony had also seen another towering success with the release of the completely Spider-Man-less Venom two months earlier, which together doubtlessly played a major role in the Sony-Marvel deal coming to an end.
How Sony Can Launch A Live-Action Spider-Verse
To a large extent, Sony already has many of the necessary pieces in place to get a live-action take on Into the Spider-Verse off the ground. With Venom's end credits scene making a blatant tease for Cletus Kasady's transformation into the psychotic Carnage, not one but two of Spidey's most beloved antagonists have already been set up for Venom 2. Sony's split with Marvel also now makes a Spider-Man cameo in Venom 2 not only possible but fairly likely (especially after Spidey's allegedly nixed cameo in the first film.) Moreover, the ending of Far From Home places Spidey in the position of being a fugitive with his identity exposed to the world, and while Peter Parker's departure from the MCU places walls on Sony's ability to reference what Tom Holland's Spider-Man has experienced, it also alleviates the necessity of him seeking the aid of his fellow Avengers and other allies.
Since Kingpin is tied up with Marvel via Netflix's (now cancelled) Daredevil series, that effectively rules out Wilson Fisk reprising his villainous role. But that doesn't mean Sony can't still adapt Spider-Verse into live-action; they can just forget the animated movie and move closer to the comics. Taking inspiration from the comic story, a live-action Spider-Verse movie can utilize the fact that Peter Parker's identity has now been revealed by having the supervillain Morlun - who travels the multiverse searching for Spider-Totems in the comics - hunt Peter down and try to kill him. Tweaking the story once again, Sony might unite the Spider-Verse and Venomverse (in which multiple Venoms were featured) stories from the comics to tie Spider-Man 3 with Venom 2 (or potentially Venom 3) together, bridging the two franchises to form a Multiverse of their own, one that harnesses the pillars of the Spider-Verse story but uses what they already have on the table. Plus, it removes the potential conflict of having to retcon Holland's Spider-Man into Venom's universe.
What Spider-Verse Could Mean About Spider-Man's Past & Future
The prospect of a live-action Into the Spider-Verse movie also opens the possibility of something that would surely be embraced by Spidey fans around the world. Specifically, the return of Tobey Mcguire and Andrew Garfield to the role. Sony had already considered including Maguire, Garfield, and Holland in Into the Spider-Verse, and the entire concept of the story necessitates the Spider-Men of parallel universes coming together, meaning that the return of Maguire and Garfield would constitute an actual story point rather than mere fan service. Indeed, if Sony wanted to really dive headlong into the concept of the Spider-Verse, they could even bring back Nicholas Hammond, star of the 1970's Spider-Man television series, and work in some version of the '70s Japanese Spider-Man series, portrayed therein by Shinji Todo, to really explore the Multiverse concept in live-action.
While the split between Sony and Marvel now effectively renders the MCU a parallel universe as far as Spidey is concerned, the idea of paying it any reference is effectively off-limits, legally speaking. Although Into the Spider-Verse lays out Peter's teleportation into Miles' world in detail, Peter being suddenly plucked out of the MCU and dropped into a new world alongside Venom, Carnage, Morbius, and other Spider-Men would require much a more vague explanation, if even any at all. Moreover, while the presence of Miles' uncle Aaron Davis in Spider-Man: Homecoming alludes to the younger Spider-Man's existence in the MCU (which was made explicit in a deleted scene), any live-action version of Miles sanctioned by Sony would have to be one of their own creation. Of course, Miles' very central role in the Into the Spider-Verse movie would make his appearance in a live-action take on the story exceedingly likely, and alongside Holland and the returning Peter Peter's of the past would effectively fill out an entire roster of Spider-Men for Sony to utilize.
Spider-Man's unexpected departure from the MCU remains a shocking development for his many fans around the world, and the ending of Far From Home leaves the franchise in a confounding situation with an Avenger now framed for murder, and whom the franchise now cannot make any reference to. Meanwhile, Sony has their own set of challenges ahead, having to reintroduce Spider-Man into their universe of Marvel villains, with Tom Holland still in the role, while they're also unable to continue exactly from where he left off. However, with the studio having already earned widespread acclaim with their animated version of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, a live-action adaptation could solve that conundrum while providing a fresh coat of paint for Spidey's big-screen adventures.