Does Whatever A Spin-Off Can?
It’s widely been known that I have some….misgivings about Sony’s plan to do a bunch of Spider-Man spin-off films without the Wall Crawler. I was about to go on another rant about how idiotic it is to have Venom movie without Spider-Man, or how you could barely get anyone to care about Black Cat or Silver Sable without introducing them in a Spider-Man movie first, but it appears that I may not have to do that.
Why? Because according to a new interview conducted this weekend with Venom producer Amy Pascal and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, it was revealed that the villain spin off starring Tom Hardy will in fact take place in the same universe as Tom Holland’s Marvel Studios approved Spider-Man.
Now this should be cause for celebration, right? This is exactly what I’ve wanted since Sony first announced the Venom movie. But something doesn’t seem right about this announcement. For starters, Pascal doesn’t sound very confident in what she’s saying. In fact, it almost reads like she’s just making this up off the spot. It’s not much of a stretch to think that she’s heard some of the negative buzz on the internet around the plans for the movie, and is trying her best to turn the tide. We live in a world where the internet and fan reactions can cut a big tent pole movie off at the knees. Just look at Batman V Superman, The Mummy, and even Sony’s own Amazing Spider-Man 2. These are all films that had major franchise plans set up, and had to make pretty major changes thanks to online fan reactions. Do you really think Sony would want to go through all of that again, especially now that they’re working with Marvel on Spider-Man: Homecoming?
Speaking of Marvel, the other interesting aspect of Pascal’s reveal is that it looks like this is the first that Kevin Feige has heard of it. His silence and polite smile implies to me that he wasn’t aware of this before the interview (which is believable since a week ago he said that there are “no plans for an R Rated Marvel Studios film at the moment”, and Venom will definitely be rated R). In fact, it looks like Feige and Pascal will definitely be having a few more talks as the press machine gets going for Homecoming. I’d imagine that Feige wants to keep everyone on the same page at both Marvel Studios and Sony, since constantly giving out different information just looks like you’re making stuff up as you go, which isn’t part of Marvel Studios’ MO at all.
So while it’s cool at first that Venom will allegedly be a part of the Tom Holland Spider-Man universe, and tangentially part of the MCU, it’s also worrisome. I suppose the worst case scenario is Spider-Man popping up in an end-credit scene, and these spin off movies being like the Marvel Netflix shows, where they reference major events in the MCU but don’t interact with Iron Man and Thor. But at the same time, I still worry that Sony is just trying to have their cake and eat it too, and are so worried about making even more money that they aren’t stopping to not only make sure their plan makes sense, but also checking to see if they’re pissing off Feige and Marvel Studios. By doing this, they may just ruin their partnership before it really gets to get off the ground.