Sony always planned to team up Tom Holland's Spider-Man with Tom Hardy's Venom. In 2015, Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures forged an unprecedented deal that brought Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Meanwhile, Sony began to work on their own shared universe centered around the other 900 characters they had the license to.
Sony's Spider-villain universe began with the release of Venom, starring Tom Hardy as the titular antihero. Although Venom wasn't exactly a hit with critics, it proved an unexpected success with audiences and grossed over $850 million worldwide. Next on their slate is Morbius, starring Jared Leto as the Living Vampire, which is due out on July 31, 2020. From the outset, there have been rumors that Sony wanted Tom Holland's Spider-Man to appear in these films somehow, although that possibility has previously seemed remote.
A new report from Variety confirms that Sony has always planned on finding a way to unite Tom Holland's Spider-Man and Tom Hardy's Venom in the same film. It's possible that this proved to be something of a bone of contention during the negotiations between Marvel and Sony, but it may actually be more feasible after the breakdown of the Marvel/Sony deal. As Variety notes, Holland is signed up for two more Spider-Man movies, and could always choose to renegotiate his deal at some point.
It's not really much of a surprise to hear Sony planned to tie Tom Holland's Spider-Man into what's previously been jokingly referred to as the "Venomverse," but after recent events, it could potentially unfold into something of a "Spiderverse." Spider-Man: Homecoming producer Amy Pascal caused a stir back in June 2017, when she referred to the Sony productions as "adjuncts" to the MCU. This suggested Sony was aiming for a similar relationship to the one enjoyed between Marvel Studios and Marvel Television, with Sony clearly hoping Tom Holland's Spider-Man would serve as something of a bridge between the MCU and their own movies. In October of last year, Richard Wenk - a writer for another one of the Venomverse projects, Kraven the Hunter - surprised fans when he said he was working on drafts inspired by the popular "Kraven's Last Hunt" comic book story, and that Kraven would come face-to-face with Spider-Man. While the MCU connection seems to be out, it looks as though Sony may have their chance to put Spider-Man in their films after all.
The breakdown of the Marvel/Sony deal is a hammer-blow to the MCU, probably its biggest shock since the shared universe was launched back in 2008. But it's easy to see the potential for Sony, who could now integrate the most marketable superhero of all time into their shared universe. Not only that, but they could fulfill their ambition of bringing Tom Holland's Spider-Man face to face with iconic supervillains and antiheroes like Kraven the Hunter and Venom. If the studio can pull this off, they could potentially become one of the MCU's most important competitors.
- Morbius (2020) release date: Jul 31, 2020