Last year, Marvel fans saw a standoff between Sony Pictures and Disney threaten Spider-Man’s presence in the MCU. Thankfully, Tom Holland got drunk, called Bob Iger, and helped them reach a new deal. In fact, that deal seemingly allowed Sony Pictures to put Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes, the MCU Vulture, in their Morbius movie. Yet, the massive success of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man stalled the Marvel spinoff movies Sony Pictures sought to make. Even since they rebooted Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man, they’ve been chasing a shared universe for their Sony Universe of Marvel Characters. Just as they are about to realize that achievement, the partnership with Marvel Studios seems to have slowed those plans.
While we don’t know the exact number, the deal that gave Sony Pictures film rights to Spider-Man also included hundreds of other characters. Some, like Venom, Carnage, and Morbius are already turning up in standalone Sony films. Others, like the Jackpot feature from the Arrowverse’s Marc Guggenheim, are in development. Phil Lord and Chris Miller are working on the sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and, reportedly, live-action Spider-Verse television series.
However, thanks to the renewed partnership between Sony Pictures and Marvel studios, they can have their Spider-Verse and Tom Holland, too. A credible report suggests that a Tom Holland cameo in Venom 2 is a distinct possibility. The possibility of tying their universe to the MCU, or at least its Spider-Man, puts all of their standalone projects up-in-the-air, because all of their characters’ origins are tied to the wallcrawler. While Venom proved that they don’t necessarily need Spidey to work, the idea seems to be that having Spidey involved couldn’t hurt.
Which brings us to Silver and Black.
Sony Pictures Marvel Spinoff Movies, Including Silver and Black, On Hold Because of Spider-Man Success
Images via Marvel Comics
Two iconic Spider-Man characters not yet seen on the big screen are Silver Sable and Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat. Both are closely tied to Spider-Man, with Sable being a sometimes friend and sometimes foe. The Black Cat also started out as a villain, a cat burglar with “bad luck” powers, but became an ally and love interest for Spider-Man. Yet, on their own, they are great characters who could easily support a franchise devoid of any spider-people. (Though a live-action Spider-Gwen, er Ghost Spider, might be a nice addition.) Some years ago, reports circulated that Gian Prince-Bythewood signed on to direct Silver and Black, but the project never materialized.
Prince-Bythewood is currently doing press of the (awesome-looking) The Old Guard on Netflix. While doing an interview, she spoke about Silver and Black revealing that the success of the MCU Spider-Man films put the rest of the Sony Pictures Marvel spinoff movies in limbo.
As she old GamesRadar.com about the film’s future:
“My honest answer is I don’t know…. I really love those characters, I loved having them together. I thought, what we came up with was a really good, really organic way to have the two together. That world is changing so much because of the success of the Spider-Man films.
“There’s a question of, ‘Can you really have these films with Spider-Man not in them? Should he at least have some sort of part in them?’ That’s always the question.”
The director went on to say that she left the project to complete The Old Guard. However, once the series is out there, she hopes “to start talking with” Sony Pictures again.
The Sony Pictures Marvel Spinoff Movies Don’t Need Spider-Man
Image via screengrab
I love a shared universe more than anyone. One of the reasons I love Stephen King growing up so much was his little shared universe nods, where locations and characters from other books popped up. Marvel and DC Comics were great for that, having different characters cross paths and team up. For all of its faults, Venom is easily the most interesting Venom story we’ve seen in live-action or animation. His role as Spidey’s perfect villain worked great in the comics after years of seeing Spider-Man trounce the Sinister Six or Kingpin or Spider-Slayers. Yet, even with 11 film credits to his name, there are still plenty of interesting Spider-Man stories to tell without needing the symbiote.
Silver Sable, the Black Cat, Jackpot, and so many others in the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters, are wonderful characters. Yes, their connection to Spider-Man brought them to (fictional) life. However, they are strong enough characters to carry a film, so long as they tell the right kind of story. On paper, Birds of Prey shouldn’t have worked. Yet, Cathy Yan and company took a bunch of B-list comics characters and made them movie stars.
Sony could always bring these characters together in later films if they want. The “Spider-Verse” and comic book sci-fi magic gives them the latitude to do literally anything.
What do you think? Should the Sony Pictures Marvel spinoff movies feature Spider-Man or should they be allowed to stand on their own like Venom? Share your thoughts below.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.