Marvel reportedly asked Sony to cut Tom Holland's Peter Parker/Spider-Man cameo from Venom. Released last year, Venom gave Sony the hit they desperately needed. While it was far from a critical darling, Venom broke box office records during its run and spawned a franchise. Venom 2, directed by Andy Serkis, is coming through the pipeline - pitting Eddie Brock against his nemesis, Cletus Kasady/Carnage. Buoyed by Venom's success, Sony is also working on movies for other characters they own the rights to, like Morbius the Living Vampire.
From the minute Venom entered development, the prevailing question was whether or not it was connected to the MCU. That proved to be a point of confusion, as there were seemingly contrasting takes by Kevin Feige and Sony's Amy Pascal on the matter. When Venom premiered in October 2018, viewers saw that it was an independent project that wasn't tied to the overarching MCU narrative. However, there had been rumors in the months leading up to Venom's release that Holland filmed a cameo as Peter Parker. Of course, the finished film made no mention of Spider-Man, but that could be because Marvel had a say.
On an episode of Collider Live, Jay Washington said Holland did in fact shoot a scene for Venom, but Marvel made Sony remove it from the movie:
“I’ll tell you the truth: Tom Holland did film a scene for Venom… Marvel saw the movie and was like ‘Take him out. Take this scene out.’ Peter Parker was in Venom, not Spider-Man.”
Sony always intended on having Holland's Spider-Man and Tom Hardy's Venom crossover. They even made sure Venom was rated PG-13 so it could easily be retconned into the MCU one day. However, it seems like Marvel wasn't too keen on seeing Peter and Eddie meet (at least, at that juncture) and put the kibosh on it. Obviously, Holland's cameo wouldn't have influenced the plot of Venom very much, but it would have had significant implications on the franchise as a whole. Holland showing up in Venom would have essentially confirmed that film was part of the MCU, and that probably didn't fit into Marvel's plans for the Spider-Man character. At the time Venom was in production, the Sony/Marvel deal was still alive and well and Peter Parker was being set up as an integral member of the Avengers moving forward. This isn't to say Marvel would never have been open to a crossover, but they probably wanted to see how audiences reacted to Venom before setting something in stone.
Now, of course, the Sony/Marvel deal is kaput and Marvel Studios is no longer involved with the production of Spider-Man movies. This means Sony has the freedom to do what they want with the material, without having to worry about what another studio thinks. Fans are extremely upset Holland's Spider-Man is no longer part of the MCU (after being so deeply ingrained in Phase 3), but Sony could do their part to soften the blow by having fan-favorites Holland and Hardy share the screen. There's always the chance Disney and Sony reconvene to iron out new terms, but right now Sony feels confident enough to head out on their own, so it'll be interesting to see what they do with future Venom movies. Maybe Holland will show up in Venom 2.
- Morbius (2020) release date: Jul 31, 2020