Despite being one of the company’s most popular characters, the film rights to Spider-Man aren’t actually owned by Marvel Studios. Instead, Sony Pictures holds the coveted reins to the wall-crawler (and most of his villains), and his appearances in the MCU are only possible through a deal between itself and Disney.
That deal fell through over the summer due to a financial dispute, which meant that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man was almost forced to leave the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) altogether. Fortunately, fan outcry and an intervention from Holland himself led to a last minute agreement being forged, allowing the character at least two more films set in the shared world of the Avengers.
But that’s not all webheads! Sony are also pursuing several of their own big-screen Spidey projects set outside of the MCU – so here’s all you need to know about everything heading our way…
Note: This article will be updated as new information becomes available.
After finding surprise success with 2018’s Venom, Sony are looking to launch another classic Spidey villain into their own major franchise with Morbius. The film will tell the story of Michael Morbius, a biochemist who inadvertently turns himself into a vampire in an attempt to rid himself of a rare blood disorder, with Jared Leto (Suicide Squad) taking the title role.
Morbius (also known as The Living Vampire) first appeared in 1971’s Amazing Spider-Man #101 as a ghoulish Halloween-themed villain, but over the following decades has slowly developed into a more sympathetic antihero character. The film will not be set in the MCU, but will share a continuity with Tom Hardy’s Venom, meaning it is possible that the characters could crossover in the future.
The film is directed by Daniel Espinosa, who helmed 2017’s creepy sci-fi thriller Life, and also stars Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Jarred Harris (Chernobyl), Tyrese Gibson (Fast & Furious) and Adria Arjona (Good Omens).
After the first Venom movie made a whopping $856 million at the global box office, it’s no surprise that Sony have fast-tracked a sequel to continue the story of journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) who merges with a monstrous symbiote. Venom 2 is currently rumoured for an October release date just in time for Halloween, but this is yet to be officially confirmed.
What we do know is that the sequel will feature fan-favourite villain Carnage, as played by Woody Harrelson, who was teased in the mid-credits scene of the first film. Cletus Kasady is a sadistic murderer who becomes Carnage in the comics after bonding with the offspring of the Venom symbiote, although it isn’t yet known how closely the film will adapt this story.
Michelle Williams and Reid Scott are expected to reprise their roles from the first film alongside newcomer Naomie Harris, but director Ruben Fleischer will not be returning. Instead, Lord of the Rings actor Andy Serkis will be taking charge behind the camera, having made his directorial debut in 2017 with the emotional biopic Breathe.
Comic book fans had quite a scare over the summer, when it briefly seemed like Tom Holland’s Spider-Man would be making an abrupt and premature exit from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fortunately, a last-minute deal between Disney and Sony Pictures means that the character will indeed be sticking around for at least one more solo outing and an appearance in an as-of-yet unspecified Marvel Studios film (probably a team-up movie like The Avengers).
Holland’s third outing in the role is likely to deal with the fallout caused by Far From Home’s shocking mid-credits scene, which saw Spider-Man’s secret identity revealed to the world and Mysterio’s crimes pinned on him by opinionated reporter J. Jonah Jameson (played by J.K. Simmons, returning from the Sam Raimi trilogy).
Franchise regulars Zendaya, Jacob Batalon and Marisa Tomei are expected to return, alongside director Jon Watts who helmed both Homecoming and this year’s Far From Home.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse made waves when it hit cinemas last December, with its groundbreaking style of animation and heartwarming coming-of-age story earning it the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Therefore, fans will be pleased to hear that more adventures with Miles Morales are well on the way.
Producer Amy Pascal has confirmed that a sequel is in the works, with director Joaquim Dos Santos (Avatar: the Last Airbender) currently attached to direct. It’s a little way off yet, though, having recently been confirmed to be hitting screens on 8th April, 2022.
— Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (@SpiderVerse) November 1, 2019
TBC – All-Female Spider-Verse Spin-Off
In addition to an outright sequel to Into The Spider-Verse, a female-led spin-off film has also been in development since November 2018. The project will feature a group of super-powered women, rumoured to include Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) as well as comic book favourites Silk and Jessica Drew (Marvel’s original Spider-Woman), teaming up against a common threat.
Writer Bek Smith (Zoo) is said to be working on a script – however, very little has been heard of the project since its initial announcement almost a year ago. Therefore, it’s unclear how the film is coming together and there is a possibility that the idea has been repurposed as a television project, following news that Spider-Verse writers Phil Lord and Chris Miller are working on several TV shows based on the film.
In September 2019, Sony announced work had begun on a Madame Web spin-off movie for their Spidey cinematic universe, with the character set to join Venom (Tom Hardy) and Morbius (Jared Leto) on the big screen. Morbius writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless are returning to scripting duties for this project, but no other details have yet been revealed.
Madame Web is most often depicted as a blind elderly woman with telepathic abilities. In the comics, her powers are derived from her genetic status as a mutant, but this aspect would need to be altered for the movie as the rights to the X-Men are now owned by Disney. You can read more about Madame Web here.
Other announced projects
Last summer, Variety revealed an insight into Sony’s long-term plans for their Spider-Man cinematic universe (which ironically doesn’t include Spider-Man). The five characters listed above, each of them supporting players from various Spidey comic books, are all in line for their own solo movies but these are currently in very early development.
Black Cat and Silver Sable movies have been gestating for several years in one form or another. Initially announced as a team-up film featuring both antiheroines, the project was recently altered into two separate pictures. Gina Prince-Bythewood (Cloak & Dagger) was previously attached to direct, but is now only working on the films in a producing capacity, so watch this space when it comes to this project – which could also end up as part of Sony’s planned TV universe instead.
It would be fair to say that Sony’s previous Spider-Man films have been a decidedly mixed bag, but their ambition remains remarkably strong. If all goes to plan, the next five or so years could see their own cinematic universe expand significantly, while also providing fans with a few more web-slinging adventures in the continuity of the MCU. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?