It's probably fair to say that we're all a little confused by the ongoing Venom, Carnage, Black Cat, Silver Sable saga at Sony, which also (apparently) includes Kraven the Hunter and Mysterio -- just to cover all the bases. Spider-Man: Homecoming producer (and former top Sony exec), Amy Pascal, recently appeared with Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige, and made several claims about these upcoming characters and films would be part of the larger MCU...and that caused a momentary glitch in the Matrix.
The video of Pascal and Feige's interview went viral, creating a furor unto itself. Part of the confusion involves whether or not Spider-Man would even appear in these films -- as LRM recently reported, Tom Holland addressed the controversy and said that he is not in any of these films, nor are they in any way part of the MCU, as far as he knows. Pascal has (somewhat) walked those statements back, but I think if you polled a dozen comic book fans today, and asked them what they heard, you might get two dozen different answers.
Fandom reached out to both Pascal and Feige to seek a little clarity and (try) to restore some sanity to the fanbase. Pascal stated:
"First, there is Spider-Man happily in the place where he’s supposed to be which is in the Marvel Universe. I think everything comes from that. This is the signpost, the tent pole, the signature and...the other movies that Sony’s going to make, in their relationship to this [MCU] Spider-Man, take place in this [separate Sony] world. Although you’re not going to see them in the Marvel Universe, it’s in the same reality."
Sooooo, is that clear to everyone? There's an MCU, aaaand there's also a parallel Sony "Spiderverse," where Spider-Man doesn't exist, but contains people who know him (and probably hate him). Comic book fans certainly know that Spider-Man is no stranger to multiple, overlapping, colliding universes, which sometimes shatter and spit out alternate Spider-Men (and Spider-Women), but it's unlikely that the average moviegoer will understand this (or care). Honestly, Pascal just kind of made things slightly more confusing.
Feige, for his part, acknowledged Pascal remarks, but provided no further explanation; he didn't exactly confirm what Pascal said, yet he didn't deny it either. Super-duper!
I suspect that nobody really knows the answer. Part of the issue is that the Sony Spiderverse, much like Warner Brother's DCEU, is kind of figuring itself out as it goes. All we've really had is an announcement of the Venom movie, starring Tom Hardy, directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), and will include another symbiote-based character, Carnage -- the problem is, there have been multiple versions of both Venom and Carnage over the years so, until we know which specific Venom or Carnage we're talking about it's hard to excited about this film. We know even less about the Black Cat and Silver Sable movie, except its title: Silver & Black.
Look, if we've learned anything from the current era of superhero films it's that everything changes. It's probably best that the Venom and Black Cat films are not part of the MCU. Let's wait and see if their quality and storytelling are on a par with Spider-Man: Homecoming and the other MCU films. If Venom, Black Cat or Kraven movies meet fan expectations and prove themselves at the box office, then maybe bringing them into the MCU makes sense. So, let's see if they can stand on their own feet -- without being propped-up by the MCU -- and go from there.
However, the bigger issue here is the absence of Spider-Man in any of these Spiderverse films, which is plenty odd. Neither Pascal nor Feige really clarified this dilemma in their Fandom interview. Holding Spider-Man out of these films is a deal-breaker for me, and probably for a lot of other fans too. Venom's story is intrinsically tied to Spider-Man, and his absence will be to the film's detriment. I'm not sure any of these movies get off the ground without his presence, even if it's just a cameo appearance similar to Batman's in DC's Suicide Squad.
I kind of feel bad for Sony; sure, they're going to make a lot of money off of Spider-Man: Homecoming, but it's not really their film. They also have no control over the fate of Spider-Man in Avengers: Infinity War -- even though we all know Spider-Man will not die in those films (that would completely break the Matrix). If you're Sony, you really don't have any power right now...but if you make a kickass Venom and Silver & Black movies, well then you've got some swagger, and maybe then you can have a seat at the big kids' table along with Feige.
What's your expectation for Sony's non-Spider-Man Venom and Silver & Black films? Let us know in the comments down below!
Spider-Man: Homecoming hits theaters on July 7, 2017.
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