Comic book creator Todd McFarlane has weighed in on the recent split between Marvel Studios and Sony, believing it might actually be the best thing for Spider-Man. The Canada-born artist came to prominence in the late-1980s and early-1990s, most notably within the pages of the titular wall-crawler's franchise. As well as contributing to some popular new design additions and dynamic imagery for Peter Parker's alter-ego, McFarlane also helped to create Eddie Brock and his own similarly-powered alternate persona: Venom. He's also a co-founder of Image Comics and responsible for creating another antihero known as Spawn.
Spider-Man has been brought to life multiple times for the big screen, first by Tobey Maguire in Sam Raimi's trilogy and then by Andrew Garfield in Marc Webb's two Amazing Spider-Man films. Most recently, he's been played by Tom Holland in an unprecedented collaboration between Sony and Marvel Studios. After debuting in Captain America: Civil War, Holland later reprised the role in multiple MCU outings, including the climactic and record-breaking Avengers: Endgame. He was last seen in Spider-Man: Far From Home, which served as a second solo adventure and the official closing chapter of Phase 3. Although the installment ended on a monumental cliffhanger with potential MCU ramifications, Sony stated that the door was currently closed on Spider-Man appearing in Phase 4 and beyond.
Featuring on two panels at Fan Expo Toronto (as reported by CBR), McFarlane discussed multiple topics over the course of the weekend. In the second, he talked at length about the current state of comic book properties and adaptations. Ultimately, the acclaimed artist brought the subject around to the recent split between Marvel and Disney. "You saw what happened with Spider-Man?" he asked those in attendance. "They were trying to extract Spider-Man, right? And Sony went, 'No, no, it ain’t gonna happen.'" McFarlane then went on to address that, on Sony's part, it might just be the best move for Peter Parker.
Unfortunately, McFarlane didn't elaborate as to why that might be the case. Whatever the case, however, Sony already has their own ideas in place for what comes next. Their Spidey-Villain universe remained in motion even before the split, with Morbius currently in production. Equally, McFarlane's own creation has a sequel already in the works, with Tom Hardy set to reprise the titular role in Venom 2. Michelle Williams has also signed on to return, with Woody Harrelson joining them more prominently as the villainous Cletus Kasady (aka. Carnage). War for the Planet of the Apes and Lord of the Rings actor Andy Serkis will take over directorial duties. Previous plans to drop Holland's web-slinger into Venom's original proceedings were ultimately scrapped. Sony will likely not let that opportunity pass by again, and will no doubt set up a clash between the two as soon as possible.
As well as that, Sony is also working on multiple Spidey-inspired TV shows and planning to follow-up on the Oscar-winning success of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. McFarlane, meanwhile, has continued to work on bringing to life a self-penned and Jamie Foxx-attached adaptation of Spawn. Fans, however, will no doubt have their own thoughts regarding Spider-Man's departure from the MCU. With just as many having seemingly sided with Disney as others have with Sony, it remains to be seen how people react to McFarlane's comments. Whatever the case, time will tell whether he was right, and if Sony has indeed learned enough from past mistakes to do Spider-Man justice going forward.
- Morbius (2020) release date: Jul 31, 2020