Tom Holland's Spider-Man may be leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe behind and it could mean some sizable changes will come for Venom 2. Over the past few years, Marvel Studios and Sony have worked together to bring a third version of the web-slinger to the big screen. Unlike Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's iterations though, Holland's version was part of the larger MCU, sharing the screen with The Avengers.
After successfully revitalizing the Spider-Man brand after his appearance in Captain America: Civil War, Sony revealed that a Venom solo film was on the way starring Tom Hardy. The announcement immediately raised questions over Venom's possible ties to the MCU and if he and Spider-Man could crossover one day. When Venom was released last year, it didn't address the MCU, but it also didn't make itself impossible not to be retconned into the canon at a later point. Even though the movie divided critics, it became a major box office hit, earning over $850 million worldwide.
The success of the film has only increased conversations about Hardy and Holland sharing the screen. The stars and producers behind the respective characters have discussed the chances of such a crossover happening many times, with Marvel recently saying it was likely but up to Sony. Now that the partnership between Marvel Studios and Sony is over, Sony has full control of its prized possession. Since they are working on creating a universe of their own, this could create new possibilities for Venom 2.
Spider-Man Can Now Appear In Venom 2
Spider-Man and Venom have shared the screen one time before in Spider-Man 3, but that did not go as well as many fans hoped. The Garfield films never touched the symbiote character (outside of some possible teases), so it was the announcement of Hardy playing the part in a standalone movie that first gave fans hope that a rightful meeting between them could happen down the road. The interest wasn't just from fans though, as Holland and Hardy both shared their excitement over the idea. Throughout the filming and post-production process on Venom, there were numerous rumors that Holland would make an appearance as Peter Parker. This did not happen though, despite likely high interest from Sony.
Now that Sony has full control of Holland's Spider-Man, they could jump at the opportunity to make a crossover happen. These are their two most notable characters, after all; Holland's Spidey is almost universally loved, and Hardy's Venom certainly has a following. Putting them in the same movie could bring great results at the box office - maybe even another billion-dollar hit. If Sony does want to make this happen as quickly as possible, then Venom 2 is the first option. Such a move would allow Holland's sixth appearance as Spider-Man, and Hardy's second as Venom, to happen in the same film.
This would, however, also require Venom 2 to explain how and why Holland's Spider-Man is suddenly a part of this story. Hardy is currently helping Kelly Marcel write the script for the movie, but it's possible that Sony could have had the foresight to plan for this exact possibility. Since filming has not yet begun and Andy Serkis only just recently hired to direct, Venom 2 could have had two scripts in the works for some time. Marvel Studios did something similar with Captain America: Civil War so there were different scripts depending on whether or not the Spider-Man deal got done. Sony could've done the same thing with Venom 2 if they suspected the agreement with Marvel could fall through.
Venom 2 May Now Be R-Rated
Whether or not Spider-Man does appear in Venom 2, Marvel and Disney's lack of association with him could give Sony the freedom to make R-rated movies. The rating of Venom was a surprisingly debated topic ahead of the film's release last year. Many fans felt that Venom as a character warranted an R-rating, which resulted in some pushback to the actual PG-13 rating. The decision opened Venom up to a younger demographic, and the box office receipts prove the character still sells in a less-mature tone. This was not always set in stone though, as the filmmakers were never quite sure what the rating was going to be.
As it turns out, one of the reasons a PG-13 rating was chosen was to make Venom a potential fit for the MCU. Obviously, the decision to place it in the MCU was not made ahead of the film's release, even with Kevin Feige reportedly helping on the film. Without MCU ties, Sony could revisit their original hopes for Venom and other spinoff franchises. The initial reports surrounding Sony's plan for the films said they could launch an R-rated superhero universe. If Sony believes that the Marvel deal is dead and now operates free of any potential guidelines, then Venom 2 could be their first chance to institute their supposed original plan for the character.
Of course, the decision may not be that simple. The box office earnings of Venom surpassed all expectations, and Sony could now be weary of changing course. An R-rating on Venom 2 could potentially alienate a section of the audience who saw the first film, and it could be a bit odd to see Spider-Man in the R-rated setting. Plus, if there is still an outside chance that Sony and Marvel could one day come to terms on a new deal, then Sony could again elect to go forward with a PG-13 vision for all of their films just in case.
What It Means For Sony's Marvel Movie Future
The ramifications that the Spider-Man deal ending has on Venom 2 are just the beginning. If a new deal is not struck with Marvel and Disney, then Sony will have the complete creative freedom to do with their Marvel characters as they please. They can make the movies whatever rating they like and can mix up genres and tones. They'll also be able to use their biggest moneymaker and most recognizable character in any way they see fit. Spider-Man could become the centerpiece to his own interconnected universe, one where he can now share the screen with any of the 900 Marvel characters Sony owns the rights to.
Sony's next Marvel movie will be Jared Leto's Morbius, with Venom 2 following it, but they've got many more Spider-Man spinoffs in-development. Solo movies for Kraven the Hunter, Silk, Nightwatch, Black Cat, Silver Sable, and Jackpot have all been discussed. Sony's control over Spider-Man can now allow for Spider-Man to interact with the Venom symbiote, either giving him his black suit or being used to explain a way for Venom to get the white symbol across its chest. But, it also opens the doors for Kraven the Hunter to do the "Kraven's Last Hunt" storyline, a Silk movie to include the flirtatious relationship between Cindy Moon and Peter Parker, and so much more. If Sony has learned anything from Marvel during their time together, there's even a chance now that all of this could build towards Sony's own superhero crossover event film.
The MCU losing Spider-Man would be a massive blow to the ongoing story, but the MCU's loss would be Sony's gain. With Holland's Spider-Man completely in their universe, the Sony Universe of Marvel Characters has the potential for a much brighter and exciting future. It is still up to Sony to deliver on that potential, which has been fairly debated to this point. But, Sony is also blaming Disney for the deal falling apart in the first place. If Disney and Marvel don't make a deal with Sony to keep this partnership alive, then the Spider-Man deal falling apart could begin generating changes starting with Venom 2.
- Morbius (2020) release date: Jul 31, 2020