When the trailer dropped for Morbius from Sony, there was one question on everyone’s lips, is this in the MCU? Now that I have had time to process a few details and consider how long Sony must have had this plan, I think that’s the exact question they wanted us to be asking when this trailer dropped.
The filming of Morbius began in February 2019. At this time it would be fair to assume that Sony had a working script which included Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture, aka Michael Keaton. More than likely, they had already made a deal with Keaton to reprise his role from Spider-Man: Homecoming, though we don’t know for certain. Either way, production wrapped around July of last year, which means Keaton’s scenes were likely in the can.
Spider-Man: Far From Home released on July 2, 2019. This means that prior to the release of that movie, and before anyone would know how successful it would be, Sony had their plan in place. After Far From Home released, we first heard in August of last year that Spider-Man was out of the MCU.
At this point, we were told it was about the cut of profits between Disney and Sony which led to the split. Then we were told that after direct itervention from both Tom Holland and Disney CEO Bob Iger, that a deal was struck. This was the good news we had in late September this past year.
That means that Sony was planning to make Morbius feel like a part of the MCU when, as far as they were concerned, their relationship with Disney and the MCU was over — emphasis on “feel like.” This leads us back to what many of us, myself included, predicted Sony were going to try and do when Venom hit. They were going to try to have audiences believe their movies were a part of the MCU and ride the coattails of MCU success in order to propel their own universe.
In short, even if they parted ways with Marvel Studios, they would have convinced most fans that their Spidey was still in the MCU. The folks like us, who read all the news, follow the movies as big fans…well, sure we would know. However, that does not mean we would not be asking the question.
The casual audience, a big part of the MCU box office, they would not be asking the question. They’d simply think it was an MCU movie because the evidence is on screen in the trailer.
It does seem as though this was a grand marketing tool by Sony to have their own little corner of the MCU, one that even the top fans like us would possibly argue as canon. For the casual fans, maybe they just won’t know the difference and therefore they’ll see Sony movies as just another branch of the MCU they love.
This could work out just fine now that we know that the next Spider-Man movie will be produced by Marvel Studios, and that Spider-Man will appear in one more team-up movie in the MCU. The problem, as I see it, will be whether the Sony made movies are actually any good or not. If we get to the point where Sony are making movies of a poorer quality than we may expect from the MCU, could it hurt the MCU as a whole? Especially in the eyes of the casual fans as opposed to the more hardcore MCU geeks.
In the long term, is it possible that if the quality is bad enough from Sony, that it could become like a cancer infecting the MCU and eating it from the outside in. Well, that’s certainly a possibility when I look at Sony’s most recent back catalogue. However, that doesn’t mean Sony have not learned some lessons over the years. So far, I have to say that Morbius kinda looks like fun, but that’s a long way from me accepting it as a good movie. I won’t even consider its merit until I have actually seen the flick for myself, but I guess this could work. If Sony makes quality movies that carefully tread around the other aspects of the MCU, both legally and thematically, then who knows?
Should Marvel Step In?
The other possibility is that Marvel Studios, knowing how audiences will perceive this move, then step in and offer to help craft Sony’s movies even deeper within their own. But, could these two massive, competing studios actually work together that well for that long? I have to say, that feels unlikely at this point. But, who knows? It could have been one of the goals Sony had hoped to achieve with this overall plan.
It seems more likely that after the third Spider-Man movie, Tom Holland will find himself with a choice of playing Peter Parker in the VenomVerse, or not playing the character at all. If it comes to that and Holland continues with the role, who knows what will happen to Spider-Man? Who knows how this will all affect the MCU?
The point is, I think we can say with some certainty that this was always Sony’s plan, from the day they agreed to ‘loan’ Marvel Studios Spider-Man. Venom was just the taster, Morbius is the next step in the plan and no matter what happens with the character from this point on, Sony wins. The problem may be whether we can actually trust Sony to use this franchise in a responsible way for once?
What are your thoughts on all this, what effect will this have on the MCU, do you think Sony can actually make this work? Leave any thoughts you have in the usual spot below.
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