Sony Marvel Universe aka Spider-Man Verse Explained

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Alright, I am not going to lie.  I don't like Sony's Spider-Man film plans.  At times I can't tell if I am  reading plans of a major company or if I am reading some kind of absurdist joke.  That said I think the Sony Marvel Universe is going to be a real thing.  Just like the Fox Marvel Universe there will now be a Marvel SONY Spider-Man universe.  This post is going to attempt to explain the 3 main questions about the Sony Marvel Universe.  What is the Sony Marvel Universe, Where did it come from? and Why is there so much anger about it.

So what is the SONY Marvel Universe?

Near the end of the 90s Marvel began having financial difficulties.  Particulary after the comic book bubble burst that suddenly left the company bloated and deep in the red.  The company however discovered it could make money by licensing out its characters to Movie Studios.  At the time Marvel was on the verge of bankrupty and had no aispirations of being its own film studio.  The deals with the movie companies at the time seemed like a smart way for the company to get money.  These deals also led to the creation of many of the first Marvel films.  Films such as Spider-Man, X-Men, Blade, Hulk, Punisher and Ghost Rider (And their sequels) all came about due to these early deals.

Later Marvel decided it could make better films (And make more money) on its own.  They created Marvel Studios.  Part of the idea that Marvel had was to make its films co-exist within the same film universe to an extent this had been done in other films (Aliens/Predator).  After Marvel began doing very well with their films they began to buy some of their properties back like Punisher, Blade, and Ghost Rider.  However, Spider-Man and his related characters remained in control of Sony.  Sony agreed however to bring in Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the films Captain America Civil War, Spider-Mam: Homecoming, Avengers Infinity War and a Spider-Man: Homecoming Sequel (Not yet named).

However, while Spider-Man is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony is free to use the other Spider-Man characters in its own films.  These film projects are starting to come to light and are being called Sony's Marvel Universe.  It is unclear whether Tom Holland's Spider-Man can appear in these films or if they must remain totally seperate.  Its possible his Spider-Man can appear or will appear once the Spider-Man contract with the MCU is over.  However, in the early projects it does not appear that Spider-Man is set to appear in them.  It also seems that characters that appear in the MCU Spider-Man film such as the Vulture, Aunt May, and Jonah Jameson are not likely to appear in Sony's Marvel Universe either.  The arrangement seems to be that some characters were temporarily leased to the MCU but the rest are held by Sony.  For the time being they seem totally seperate.

Sony's Marvel Universe was first mentioned in a Sony Pictures Tweet revealing that Tom Hardy had signed to play Eddie Brock in a Venom film.

There are two film projects that are rumored to be in the works in the SONY Marvel Universe.  There is a Venom Film with actor Tom Hardy as the lead role as Eddie Brock.  There is a film called Black & Silver that will team up Silver Sable and the Black Cat.   There were some intitial questions if the Venom and Black&Silver films will occure in the same universe.  This my humble fan boy thinking is that they will absolutely be in the same universe.  When you consider that SONY's film licenses have already been cut in half with the MCU deal they need to add all the characters they have left to build up a SONY Marvel Universe.

There is also a new rumored project.  This rumor is due to a source at the Splash Report that says that Black&Silver will lead to another film staring the characters: Silver Sable, Black Cat, Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman), Charlotte Witter (Stunner), Sarah Ehret (Jackpot), Cassie St. Commons (Dusk).  This would be an all female Superhero team.  (Granted with a bunch of characters that not even most Spider-Man fans know.)

There were rumors at one point of a Sinister Six film.  However, everything is quiet on that front and I assume it is shelved at this point.  I actually wonder if the Sinister Six characters may be held in the MCU deal at this point meaning that they can not appear in the SONY universe.  SONY has seemed to be obssessed with making a female led super hero film using the Spider-Man characters so at first blush these rumors seem valid.

While Sony's license only includes Spider-Man lets be clear that Spider-Man is a massive license.  It is the biggest Super Hero character license of all.  There are a lot of characters in that license.  Here is my best guess on where the characters will appear between the MCU and the Sony Marvel Universe.  Keep in mind this is an educated guess:

Break down of SONY Spider-Man characters between MCU and SONY Marvel Universe:  Somewhere I am sure there is a rock solid contract that explains all of this exactly but to my knowledge neither Marvel nor Sony have any intention of leaking that contract to the public.  Until then we need to speculate on the arrangement based off of each company's actions.

Aunt May
Liz Allan
Flash Thompson
Jonah Jameson
Doctor Connors - Lizard
Adrian Tomes
The Shocker
The Tinkerer

I also think they will have the following characters because these characters would little value without Spider-Man.
Mary Jane
Gwen Stacey
Green Goblin and the Osborns

The MCU list also likely includes that are meant to appear in the MCU sequel to Spider-Man Homecoming.  I would personally like to see that be the Sinister Six and include the likes of Doctor Octopus, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Vulture, and Sandman.  That is my hope but I do not know any of this for a fact.

SONY Marvel Universe

Includes all Spider-Man characters that are not in the MCU deal.  Likely also includes some jointly controlled characters like the Kingpin.

Black Cat
Silver Sable
The Wild Pack
Kingpin (Might not be Daredevil version)
All other Spider-Man characters not explicitly tied up in the MCU contract.

Where did this idea come from?

The initial Spider-Man film staring Tobey Macquire was a huge success but Sony's reboot of Spider-Man staring Andrew Garfield earned less and less.  The final Amazing Spider-Man 2 only earned 200 million a far cry lower that what films were making in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Amazing 2 was also a critical failure and many expected a Spider-Man 3 to do even worse.
While initially Sony seemed intent to stick to its guns it ran into another ice berg when their emails were leaked out to the public.  In the emails a few Spider-Man spin off ideas where found that were derided by fans.  A growing movement of fans threatened to boycott any Sony created Spider-Man film.  Sony changed its leadership removing the much derided Amy Pascal out of the company and created a deal with Marvel to bring Spider-Man into the MCU.

While many hoped that the MCU deal was permanent especially when Marvel hit a massive home run with Spider-Man's first outing in Captain America: Civil War it is clear that the deal was done on a temporary basis and that Sony will eventually take Spider-Man back.  The idea of using the other Spider-Man characters seems to be a way for Sony to capitalize as much on the licenses as they can.

Why do fans hate this so much?

I think there is a general feeling amongst Spider-Man fans that finance guys and Hollywood snobs are running this franchise and its ideas with little love for the material that it was based on.  The idea of a female super hero movie is great, but why do this using Spider-Man characters?  Using a bunch of D List Spider-Man characters to make a film universe seems like a very forced way to create a universe. It wreaks of trying to cash in on trends that SONY is seeing in the market place.  People want more female super heroes so lets do that, people like connected universes so lets do that.  The problems with this approach are legion.  First, Sony has never seemed to have gotten the memo that the competition level in the super hero film world has become fierce.  Gone are the days where you can count on a Super Hero film just to make money even if its lousy.  Also the problem with all of their ideas is that they are taking Spider-Man characters and using them without Spider-Man.  While Spider-Man cast of characters is great, they were all designed to interact with Spider-Man.  Similar to how Gotham has ran into issues by not having Batman it seems almost predestined that these issues will haunt Sony's Marvel Universe Plans.

The biggest issue with Sony Marvel Universe is that seeing Spider-Man in the MCU was a dream come true for many fans.  Seeing that dissolve after only a few films is hard for many Spider-Man fans to take.  Its hard to see Sony ever doing anything better than what Marvel will do with Tom Holland's Spider-Man in the films they have him in.  Will those fans return for non MCU Spider-Man films?

That said I do like the Spider-Man characters.  I will follow the plans of Sony and will hope for the best.  Amy Pascal was recently quoted saying that she did not expect an MCU style deal to ever occure again and I hate to say it but she is likely right.

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