Sony's Spider-Villains Universe Is and Isn't In the MCU Right Now
All of this evidence suggests that, while Sony's spinoffs aren't necessarily officially part of the MCU, they're being carefully designed so they can potentially fit into it. Essentially, it's a Schrodinger's shared universe, presently in both states until the box is opened - or, rather Venom's box office and overall quality as a movie is determined.
Going back to Pascal's claim Sony's movies are "adjuncts" to the MCU, it would seem this is what she's been trying to verbalise all along without making it seem undecided. As intended, the Spider-villain universe is "supplementary" to the MCU; additional stories that take place in the background of the same universe while not directly impacting the grander narrative. That would explain why, although Sony appear to be carefully avoiding contradicting the MCU, there's no evidence Marvel is doing the same in return. And we've seen that one place before...
Sony's Spider-Villain Universe Is Looking More And More Like Marvel TV
This is exactly the same model enjoyed - or endured - by the Marvel TV shows. They're set in the MCU, and some of them are profoundly influenced by events in the movies, but any crossovers and impacts will work one way only. This is somewhat inevitable given more viewers will watch a movie than a TV series, which was the explanation at first. However, the gap has become more pronounced in recent years due to Marvel Studios and Marvel TV operating entirely independently (the former moved directly under Disney control in 2015). This means communication and collaboration is limited
That current situation is not dissimilar to how Marvel and Sony appear to be handling the adjunct universe. Just as Marvel TV builds itself around the movies, so too are Sony making their Spider-flicks so they can be read as slotting in despite that not being a consideration for Marvel Studios. There are, however, two major differences between Sony's position and Marvel Television's. The first is that Sony has a lot more to bargain with; they're in a mutually profitable relationship with Marvel, one that allows Tom Holland's Spider-Man to enter the MCU. The second is that a network may not be able to afford a cameo from a film actor, whereas Sony Pictures very easily could.
And this is, ultimately, where the entire discussion hinges - Sony, evidently, thinks they can become a more integrated part. The question of whether they can or not likely rests upon how profitable Venom proves to be.
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018