The Podcast Shownotes
In the latest edition of Los Fanboys, Joseph and David take a moment to rethink their negative thoughts regarding Sony, Venom, Silver and Black, and the entirety of their pocket universe that we’ll be exploring later this year. Should we be more excited by this move from the studio? We discuss.
We then discuss the latest box office, the development of a Kitty Pryde film, the new DC Films head, Walter Hamada, as well as some key pieces of Netflix news including a new trailer, a Bright sequel, and Matt Reeves’ production company signing a new deal.
00:00:00 – Should we be more excited for Venom and Silver & Black?
00:30:20 – Box office results
00:40:20 – Game Over, Man! trailer reactions
00:44:15 – Matt Reeves’ production company signs first-look deal with Netflix
00:47:50 – Bright 2 on the way
00:55:55 – DC Films shakeup
Over the weekend we posted an article about the health and welfare of the DCEU, wherein we raised questions about its long-term viability. Some of our readers challenged our point of view, which is great actually; a spirited debate about superheroes, studios, and the business of making these films is the soul of what we do here at LRM. However, one of the key concerns raised in our comments section was whether we took too negative a position about the DCEU.
Have we been too negative? Well, we have been particularly spikey toward Sony and their non-Spider-Man or “VenomVerse” films — Venom, Silver and Black, and (maybe) Kraven and Mysterio too. When these films were initially announced — in the wake of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and the announcement of Spider-Man: Homecoming — I think we read this as a desperation move by Sony, in part due to the absence of Spider-Man from these films, and also questions about the viability of these particular characters. However, a lot of new information has emerged over the past few months, including potential plots, casting, and other key hires.
So, with all this in mind, let’s revisit Sony’s upcoming VenomVerse movies and re-evaluate what’s happening. Tom Hardy’s Venom is deep into production, aiming for an October 2018 release; Silver and Black — focused on the characters of Silver Sable and Black Cat — is starting production in early March, as reported by CBR. We still don’t know a heckuva lot about potential films for Kraven and Mysterio, but given the momentum from the other two films, we can take another crack at these as well. So, let’s take a new look at Sony’s upcoming VenomVerse films with more optimistic eyes…
Silver and Black
So, what do we know about Silver and Black? Not much. Acording to CBR, the Gina Prince-Bythewood movie begins shooting March 5 until mid-June, for a February 8, 2019 release. No casting has been announced yet. There are rumors that supervillain Norman Osborn (aka Green Goblin) might appear — although, perhaps only in voiceover. The plot involves the theft of powerful McGuffin and the tenuous alliance between two female anti-heroes to possess it — there’s more to the story, but that’s the short-hand version. It’s surprising that we don’t know more at this point, but kudos to Sony for keeping its secrets close.
What stands out here is the focus on female characters, writers, directors, and producers — Sony appears to be making a strong statement about female empowerment, which obviously paid off nicely for DC in last year’s Wonder Woman. There’s also the (rumored) angle that if this works, Sony could make an all-female team-up sequel, bringing in other female characters like Spider Woman.
Sony is taking a calculated risk here, and that’s exciting for the genre. The budget for Silver and Black is unknown, but it’s probably mid-budget (think Deadpool). Prince-Bythewood is new to the genre, but her writing-directing portfolio leans heavily toward relationship and character studies. It’s unclear how she’ll approach action, but honestly, it’s really key to establish these character’s voices, moreso than their individual powers. At this point in the superhero genre, the really big names are well-established, for new characters to break out, they need to do more than just punch or shoot or fly really well.
Silver and Black is setting up like a hybrid Wonder Woman meets Deadpool — that’s a total guess, but if you had to come up with a compelling mash-up today, this is a cool place to start. I think this film has potential if I’m being optimistic… and I am. I told you I would be, dammit.
Sony’s Venom film is a contender, it has a real shot at breaking out. Why? Because Tom Hardy is a damned intriguing actor, who many fans have championed for any number of superheroes over the years. His turn as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises was… something different, for sure — fans have a love-hate relationship with Bane in this film. It’s anyone’s guess how he’ll approach this role. Hardy is a quiet actor in many of his roles, but he’s most-certainly also very physical. Honestly, he could do anything, so it’s really surprising that he chose Venom.
Granted, Venom is a well-known character and a slam dunk for Sony if they get the story and the action right. Venom has a deep fan following, and everyone wants to wash Spider-Man 3‘s interpretation out of their mouths. Hardy is playing Eddie Brock in an R-rated, horror-sci-fi film with a nod to John Carpenter or David Cronenberg — sounds great. Sony is also tight on plot details for this film, but Polygon suggests that it could be an adaptation of the popular “Lethal Protector” storyline, which pits an anti-hero version of Venom against mercenaries in San Francisco.
A more military-themed Venom could help differentiate Brock from Peter Parker, and the West Coast setting could be key for Sony to define their shared universe apart from the (largely) New York-based MCU. The director and cast surrounding Hardy is inspired, too. Overall, if you were going to make a film about a Spider-Man villain and not include Spider-Man himself, this seems like a pretty good approach to take. Sony was also very smart to push Venom‘s release to October 2018, which is several months after Ant-Man and the Wasp and a couple months before Aquaman. All indications are that Venom should be a big hit for Sony.
Kraven and Mysterio
Let’s be honest, nobody knows who Kraven and Mysterio are outside of serious comic book fans. It’s possible that Sony and Marvel are locking-down most of the more recognizable Spider-Man villains for future Homecoming sequels, or maybe it’s simply that no one wants to touch any of the villains from either of the Sam Raimi or Marc Webb films. I’m not sure anyone outside of Sony really knows the rationale for these two villains. One possibility was a “Sinister Six” film, which the Amazing Spider-Man 2 appeared to be setting up, but that concept seems to be dead (for now).
Kraven and Mysterio are odd characters for a major motion picture, no doubt. However, with the right actors, script, and director it could totally work — Ant-Man is a successful franchise now, let’s not forget. That said, I’ve got no idea where this concept could go. Sony could make an Ocean’s 11 or Suicide Squad thing with these two — adding a bunch of other even more lesser-known characters to fill out the group, but that gets us right back to the Sinister Six in a Spider-Man-free movie.
For now, let’s say that Kraven and Mysterio are interesting, but that’s about all. It wasn’t that long ago that we were hammering Sony for Silver and Black, and that’s starting to look rather compelling as it moves closer to principal photography. In other words, we were wrong before, we’ll be wrong again, and we’re rather certain you’ll let us know when we are!
If Sony hits either Venom and Silver and Black out of the park, they will have achieved something no other studio has done: create a viable shared universe out of off-brand heroes and villains. Given our recent fan feedback, we agree that it’s fair to remain optimistic and open to wherever Sony is going with all of this, and then weigh the results when they eventually hit theaters.
Where do you stand regarding these Sony “VenomVerse” films and their potential for success? Let us know in the comments down below!