A Separate Spider-Verse
But while Peter Parker may have joined the MCU, many of the rest of Sony's spider-characters haven't. In March, Homecoming director Jon Watts confirmed that his movie is not connected to the upcoming Venom:
It’s not. It’s not connected to the Marvel world, so that’s really intriguing… what that will be. I don’t know anything about it. It’s not connected, so there’s not that overlap. I’m only focused on my movie right now.
Sony had the option to connect their next solo Spider-Movie to the MCU, but this tells us that they actively chose to keep it separate - and it follows that Silver and Black isn't likely to be connected to the MCU either. Without knowing exactly what the plans are for these separate Sony projects, it's impossible to know exactly what the studio's long-term plans are, but it looks like there is another separate cinematic universe in the offing, and it's even got a name...
Sony's Marvel Universe
— Sony Pictures (@SonyPictures) May 19, 2017
There's the DCEU and the MCU, and now it seems that Sony's Marvel Universe is next (the SMU?). The phrase was used by Sony in the tweet that announced Hardy as Venom, and points toward the creation of a totally separate SMU.
There are a couple of ways that this could work, and it's not yet confirmed exactly how Sony is planning to create their new Spider-verse without Tom Holland's Spider-Man in it.
- It's possible that Sony will simply ignore the existence of Spider-Man, and re-write the stories of its other characters without him. However, that would seem to be an excruciatingly complex way to go about things, especially as so many of the characters are inextricably linked with the concept of Spider-Man.
- Another possibility would be to hang the SMU on a different web-slinging hero, like Spider-Woman. This would introduce the Spider-Man mythology without using Peter Parker.
- Sony could also include Spider-Man, and simply use a different incarnation of the character - Miles Morales being a fan-favorite that could be a fantastic choice as a central figure for a different universe.
- Finally, Sony could be banking on audiences knowing who Spider-Man is, and choosing to mention his existence, but not show him on screen - acknowledging him without using him directly, in the same way that the Netflix Defenders series have referenced the Avengers.
However they choose to do it, a separate Spider-Verse is a good idea for Sony - and for Marvel. This allows both studios much greater creative freedom and means that no one needs to try and shoehorn the upcoming Sony movies' backstory into a decade of MCU history. Sony won't have to explain where anyone was during major Marvel events, and they don't have to worry about matching tone, continuity, or any of the tiny details and Easter Eggs that make the MCU so rich and detailed.
In addition, a Spider-Verse without Peter Parker at the center means that this is finally a chance for other characters from the mythology to shine. Venom, Black Cat and Silver Sable are only the first to get their own movies, rather than being secondary characters to Parker. For Spider-Man fans, that's a huge plus... and at this point, even the most casual fan has to be sick of watching Peter Parker's origin story!
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) release date: Jul 07, 2017
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018