It’s been two years since Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios agreed to share the film rights to Spider-Man and so far things have been going well. The character’s Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Captain America: Civil War was a major superhero highlight last year and Tom Holland’s first solo film in the suit, Spider-Man: Homecoming, is getting solid buzz with a little help from Robert Downey Jr. By the end of the summer, Spider-Man could be on top of the superhero world again, just like he was in the days of Spider-Man 2.
But as it turns out, there may be complications ahead.
Last week, Homecoming producer Amy Pascal was asked if Sony’s other developing superhero films–starring Spidey supporting characters like Venom and Black Cat–will be connected in any way to the new Spider-flick. Here’s her response:
[BREAKING NEWS] Amy Pascal confirm Black Cat and Vanom movie will pass in the same universe of “Spider-Man: Homecoming pic.twitter.com/qfAKOulqwE— Tom Holland Updates (@tomhupdates) June 18, 2017
Doesn’t sound too complicated, does it? Pascal even teases that Holland might show up alongside Venom sometime in the not too distant future. That just sounds like the superhero movie way. Start thinking about it in terms of the connections Holland’s Spider-Man already has on the big screen, though, and your head will start to hurt.
It’s no secret to anyone that Sony is developing other films in the Spideyverse. News of the potentially R-rated Venom flick has been out there for a while, as has news of Silver and Black, a film starring Spidey antihero Black Cat and world-traveling mercenary Silver Sable. What changed is that, until now, reports all indicated that those films would go forward without Holland, existing in a world apart from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Venom might even wind up with an R-rating. Much like the X-Men at Fox, the films are technically Marvel Comics films too but in different world, somehow.
Now Pascal has thrown a wrench in that, even with the "adjuncts” remark. It’s still not entirely clear what she meant, despite those qualifiers thrown in, and there will no doubt be more questions between now and Homecoming’s release next month. For now, though, what we’re looking at is two studios developing two universes forced to become one by the presence of a single character: Spider-Man. How do you explain Venom running around New York City wreaking havoc without The Avengers noticing and turning up? How does Tony Stark not know Silver Sable? How does Sony’s universe, still in its infancy, affect Marvel’s carefully-planned, years-in-the-making storytelling?
Maybe it doesn’t. The Spider-Man comics have often existed in their own little New York City bubble, after all. Maybe we all just agree that Spidey can drift back and forth, giving Sony the option to draft the character for Venom (which really, really feels necessary to that villain’s story) while aiding the Avengers in his spare time. Maybe we just won’t question it, the same way we don’t question why Deadpool can just show up at the X-Mansion. There’s a long way to go before we really understand how this all will work, though. For the moment it just feels confusing, an adjective Marvel definitely doesn’t want applied to its films.