Quick little disclaimer: please do not lock or delete this post I think it is good to discuss where the future of the MCU could go if these two universes collide (though for those wondering at this point the SPUMC is not part of the MCU).
This morning the highly anticipated Venom: Let There Be Carnage trailer dropped from Sony and let me just say that it looks amazing. Directed by Andy Serkis (who played Ulysses Klaue in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Black Panther), and starring Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams, Reid Scott, Naomie Harris, Stephen Graham, and Peggy Lu, it will come out on September 24, 2021 in theaters. Right now (and not counting the Disney XD animated shows), there are three main Marvel franchises out there right now. Dominating just about everything from TV to film is of course the MCU. Meanwhile, Sony balances two franchises which while each gaining a large fanbase are getting off to a somewhat slower start. The Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse film series will return next October 7 and from there will spawn a spin-off film about Spider-Woman and likely a third sequel film as the franchise has been an extreme hit for critics and audiences alike. The Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters (I know that name is horrible) only has one movie out, Venom (2018), which bombed for critics but was a great success for the box office and a hit for audiences. While the Spiderverse universe specifically stays on earths that are known to be separate from all others already established, the SPUMC has a bit of an interesting history that we can look at that makes us question whether the intention is to place this film series, which will be expanding with the Venom sequel in the fall and Morbius on January 28, 2022, as an extension of the already extremely popular MCU. To do this we need to look at the brief history of this franchise which actually intertwines with Disney and Marvel Studios a lot more than you think.
Throughout the 2000’s the superhero film business, one that was previously dominated solely by DC with their 70s and 80s Superman and Batman franchises, had taken a new turn in Marvel’s favor. Blade kicked off this reemergence of superheroes in 1998, and soon everyone wanted their own spin on superheroes. With 20th Century Fox seeing the release of the X-Men, Daredevil, and Fantastic Four franchises, Lionsgate picking up the Punisher, and Disney with their own original take on superheroes (The Incredibles), the one Marvel franchise that won the first two thirds of the 2000s was the Spider-Man trilogy. Despite the third film’s bomb in theaters, it stayed true to itself as a family-friendly and extremely loveable franchise, but after Sam Raimi decided not to continue the franchise, for a brief time Sony turned to other properties like Ghost Rider as the MCU got its start-up and the Dark Knight for a few years easily took back DC’s domination over Marvel in the film industry. Originally intending to include the possibility of a Venom film, Sony decided to try their luck again with the Amazing Spider-Man franchise, but while the first film got decent reviews the second was considered another flop, proving that it wouldn’t be able to stay afloat alongside the MCU and its complex universe. Seeing no other way forward, in 2015 Sony decided to partner with Marvel Studios to make Spider-Man films that would be part of the MCU, and while an animated Spider-Man film (which would soon become Into the Spiderverse) was still being developed, Sony put all their efforts into their reboot instead. In March 2016, with Spider-Man: Homecoming set to begin in two months, Sony decided to reopen the Venom project and came up with an idea for a shared universe, one that would include darker characters and potentially films with genres the MCU didn’t necessarily lean into with R-ratings, horror, or even comedy genres coming alongside ideas for new projects. Venom released in 2018 and was a box office hit, and because of this the studio decided that they would continue on with the idea of the shared universe with two more Venom films, a Silver & Black film (later scrapped) and a Morbius film being announced soon after.
So where does this tie into the MCU? Well, in June 2017 Kevin Feige was asked questions about the SPUMC in which he seemed to make it clear that these films were made solely by Sony and they had no plans to do any sort of crossover. However, soon after he said that one of the lead producers on both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Venom, Amy Pascal, said that they intended for these films to be adjunct to the MCU, specifically their Spider-Man films, and a crossover with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man would be quite possible. There were even reports that Tom Holland had filmed a cameo for Venom, which was later scrapped because Marvel Studios got angry at them, and by late 2018 there were plans for them to crossover Parker with their SPUMC films if they were able to get past the Marvel Studios Tom Holland deal at that time which was for him to only be in their specific films. Then in August 2019, everything changed. Sony and Marvel, unable to come to an agreement with their Spider-Man film franchise, signed off on the Spider-Man film deal, with Tom Holland not a part of the MCU anymore and likely to be a permanent addition to the SPUMC. This, however, got intense negative reactions from fans all over the world, including actors and stars like Tom Holland himself, and unsurprisingly to those of us who knew that Sony wouldn’t be able to do as well without the MCU, after a phone call with a drunken Tom Holland the two film studios went back into negotiations and came to an deal in which Feige himself said that there would be chances for the MCU to crossover with the SPUMC. After this new deal, which was said to be a “call and answer” and something of extreme satisfaction to Marvel fans all over the world, Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (later revealed to be called “No Way Home”), was back on and everyone was happy. However, last month it was revealed that in a massive deal between the two companies all of the MCU Spider-Man films, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and any upcoming Sony film besides Morbius from 2022 onwards. With this came an unprecedented agreement that in a sense unites Sony and Disney in Marvel terms, something that has never been done before between two of the major film companies, all to satisfy fans while protecting their own interests at the same time.
With this bringing us back to the present, we need to remember that this deal isn’t something to be taken lightly. With the Venom 2 trailer now out, the upcoming film’s marketing campaign has begun and guess what - most of the Let There Be Carnage promotional material is being sold on Disney shops. Something we can’t forget about is that two years ago during Comic-Con Sony released the Morbius trailer, which included Michael Keaton who is believed to be reprising his role as Adrian Toomes aka Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Spider-Man graffitied on the side of a wall. And today, with the Venom: Let There Be Carnage first trailer, not only did we see The Daily Bugle appear in alot of the footage but in one of the scenes I was able to make out an article in one of these newspapers that seems to be referencing the Avengers in some sort (also I think one of the things Cletus Kassidy drew on the walls of his prison cell was Baby Groot). I should also point out that soon after the Disney+ deal with Sony was announced, Sony moved the Venom 2 release date to September 24, a date far enough away from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings that it wouldn’t prove to be much of a rival for the upcoming MCU film. Seems a little bit intriguing, don’t you think?
If all of this is alluding to an MCU crossover, this could mean that this universe is truly adjacent to the MCU. It is set and a part of the MCU, though the only character it can crossover with is Spider-Man. This is great, and from what evidence we’ve seen it means that this will likely happen sometime in the future. But think about all the amazing properties we know that Sony will soon be adapting in the SPUMC. Nightwatch, Kraven the Hunter, The Sinister Six, Madame Web, Jackpot have all been considered for films at one point or another, and with Roberto Orci developing a non-Spider-Man attached character based film and Olivia Wilde developing another fim (rumored to be Spider-Woman), who wouldn’t want to see these characters fight with Captain America or come into contact with Helmut Zemo or Doctor Strange for that matter? We also know that while Silver & Black is now being considered for a TV show, and Silk, written by Lauren Moon, will begin filming this August into early 2022 in preparation for a 2023 debut on Amazon Prime. With all this in mind, and knowing all the evidence pointing towards a possible intermix of these two different franchises whether it be that they were in the same universe all along, never even were meant to crossover, or will come together with the multiverse. Whatever it be, I sure would like to see Knull (who was also teased in the Let There Be Carnage trailer) or the Maximum Carnage storylines play out alongside heroes like Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Captain America, and of course Spider-Man. So, what do you think? Do these studios actually have a bigger bond than we think, will we see this MCU-SPUMC crossover at all, or is Sony doing all this as some sort of publicity stunt to create interest in their new Marvel films? Share all your theories, thoughts, and ideas in the comments below.