Rant and Rambles: Sony’s Spider-Verse

Rant and Rambles: Sony’s Spider-Verse

Hello everyone.

You may not have noticed but there’s a new Spider-Man film out. The film, Spider-Man: No Way Home is twenty seventh film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and links the latest Spiderman films to both the Amazing Spider-Man film franchise (2012 – 2014) and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy (2002 – 2007).

Today I’m not discussing Spider-Man: No Way Home as I haven’t seen it yet but I do want to speculate on what could have been Sony’s Spider-Verse, a series of Spider-Man related films and projects that were due to be released between 2014 and 2020. I’ve created this theory by looking at old press announcements, comments from the cast and crew and at some points, speculation. This theory is by no means perfect but I like it and it is fun to think about.

Disclaimer: You will benefit from having watched all Spider-Man films (Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man: Homing coming and Spider-Man: Far From Home plus Into the Spider-Verse) prior to reading this post.

Before we look at the Sony-Verse we need to look at Sam Rami’s Spider-Man trilogy and the transition from this set of films to the Amazing Spider-Man films. Rami’s films starred Toby Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and while the first two films performed well at the box office the third received mixed to negative reviews. Fans complained that Spider-Man 3 was overstuffed with super villains with The Sandman, New Goblin and Venom all appearing. Rami would later explain that he had been pressured to include these villains for marketing purposes and that this decision would sour his taste towards the franchise. Regardless, Spider-Man 3 made more income at the box office than either of its predecessors and due to this Sony asked Rami to begin plotting three more Spider-Man films, Spider-Man four, five and six. Details for these three films are scarce but this is what we do know.

In Spider-Man 4, after arresting various C and D list villains including Mysterio, Spider-Man would battle The Vulture above New York. At first Spider-Man would underestimate the supervillain but after being impaled on the Vulture’s razor sharp quills, he would team up with Black Cat, also known as The Vulturess to defeat her Father. 

Two story boards for Spider-Man 4 featuring Mysterio. Credit to Planet Henderson.

If you are a Spider-Man fan then this plot will seem jarring for two reasons. Firstly, is that the character of Black Cat is drastically different to her comic book counterpart. Although she still would have been a master thief who was taught and inspired by her Father, she has never been related to The Vulture. Secondly out of the three named villains in this synopsis (The Vulture, Mysterio and Black Cat) all would appear in later Spider-Man films. The Vulture served as the antagonist in Home Coming, Mysterio in Far From Home and Black Cat was seen in a deleted scene in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. What little we know about the films comes from released story boards from Planet Henderson, you can visit his website by clicking here.

Although the plots of Spider-Man 5 and Spider-Man 6 remain unknown, we are aware that both films would have been shot back to back and released a year apart. The only other franchise that would have used this production method at the time was Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings.  It is suspected that in the final fight of the fifth film, Spider-Man would have accidentally killed the villain or an important character and the consequences of this would have carried across into Spider-Man 6. It is suspected that with the introduction of Gwen Stacy in the third film that her character would have been the one to perish as per her comic counterpart.

Once Sam Rami left, Sony decided to reboot the franchise and we were given The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 directed by Marc Webb starring Andrew Garfield as the hero. Both films were met with mixed reviews. While the acting, soundtrack and cinematography were applauded, criticism was levelled at the re-telling of Uncle Ben’s death, Spider-Man’s costume, unnecessary subplots and the fact that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was overstuffed with three villains… just like Spider-Man 3.

Here is where my theory comes into place. In 2014 when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was released the Marvel Cinematic Universe had been active for six years and had released ten films during that time. They had more than proved themselves as box office juggernauts and similar to DC starting their own expanded universe with The Man of Steel in 2013, Sony wanted a franchise. Although Marvel were able to reacquire the film rights for Spider-Man in 2015, forcing Sony to abandon their plan for their cinematic universe, I put it to you that these were the planned films.

The Amazing Spider-Man – 2012 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – 2014 

The Sinister Six – 2015

The Amazing Spider-Man 3 – 2016

Spider-Gwen – 2017

The Black Cat – 2018

Venom – 2019

The Amazing Spider-Man 4 – 2020

The Sinister Six – 2015

The Sinister Six film was confirmed by Sony in 2013 but was cancelled two years later. The Sinister Six is the name of a group of six super villains that unite to battle Spider-Man. Although the team in the comics have had many different members in Sony’s Spider-Verse the group would have included Green Goblin, Rhino, Doc Ock, Vulture, Mysterio and Kraven the Hunter. Both Green Goblin and Rhino were seen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 while Doc Ock’s robotic arms and Vulture’s mechanical wings were seen at the end of the film. Mysterio and Kraven the Hunter’s involvement were confirmed in the ending credits.

I believe that the Sinister Six would have been a heist and redemption film. We know that although Spider-Man was to appear in the film he would only have played a small role, battling the villains once or twice. It is also safe to assume that the object of the heist would have been held in Oscorb Tower, a key location established in the two previous films. While we don’t know what the Sinister Six would have been trying to steal my guess would be the venom symbiote. A file labeled Venom U-7 was seen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Venom’s introduction would pay off in his own film later in the Spider-Verse. While not confirmed it is also possible that the character of Black Cat/Felicia Hardy would have played a role as her character appeared in a deleted scene in the Amazing Spider-Man 2 as Harry Osborn’s personal assistant.

To the left, Vulture’s mechanical wings. To the right, Doc Ock robotic arms

The Amazing Spider-Man 3 – 2016

Regardless of Black Cat’s appearance, the consequences of the theft in The Sinister Six would have rippled across into The Amazing Spider-Man 3. We would also have seen Peter failing to cope with Gwen’s death from the Amazing Spider-Man 2 and fighting a new supervillain. If rumours are to be believed Peter would have tried to resurrect Gwen Stacy and been, at least partly, successful. Although this decision sounds very distant in tone from the released films, similar events have happened in the Spider-Man comics. I also think that the films antagonist, Morbius would have played a role in the resurrection.

While Morbius’ part in the film is unconfirmed the Amazing Spider-Man 2 set up the concept that blood has healing powers and the character is strongly linked to the concept of the blood, afterlife and the undead. Sony have held the film rights of Morbius since the year 2000 and while Morbius will receive his live action debut in 2022, the groundwork for this film was based off his appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man 3.

A leaked photo of Morpheus from his upcoming film

Spider- Gwen – 2017

As we progress further down the Spider-Verse timeline things become less and less certain. All we know about this film is its title, Spider-Gwen. In case you are unfamiliar with the character, Spider-Gwen is Gwen Stacy with Spider-Man’s powers. She is from a different dimension where her version of Peter Parker died, inspiring her to become a super hero. Little is known about this film but I would hazard a guess it would have been light and bubbly in tone in contrast to The Amazing Spider-Man 3. As for the villain, it could have been someone completely new or an alternative version of a villain that had previously appeared. In the original Spider-Gwen comics, Peter Parker was killed by the Lizard so maybe Curt Connor’s could have returned? Perhaps Morlun, a villain with the ability to travel between different universes, would have been the antagonists in order to set up the concept of the multiverse?

The Black Cat – 2018

Following her potential appearances in The Sinister Six and/or The Amazing Spider-Man 3, Black Cat would have finally received her solo film. Similar to Spider-Gwen very few details are known about this film are known but it is common in Black Cat plots for the thief to be captured by Spider-Man, form an alliance with him to battle a new villain before relapsing into a life of crime. Black Cat and Spider-Man have also experienced several on again off again relationships which would have been interesting with Peter’s emotional baggage. As Black Cat is the temptress for Spider-Man’s dark side, I think that at some point during this film we would have seen Peter discover the stolen Venom symbiote and gain the symbiote suit before dumping it by the end of the film. The villain of the film is unknown but Black Cat normally battles street level thugs so the characters of Tombstone or Hammerhead may have been in the running.

Venom – 2019

With Venom’s backstory established in the previous films the villain would be ready to battle the wall crawler from the opening credits. Venom received his solo film in 2018 with a sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage released several months ago. I suspect that Venom’s first film was cannibalised from Venom’s intended film in the Spider-Verse similar to Morbius. It is unclear from which point of view the film would have been told, Eddie Brock’s or Peter Parker’s. It is also unclear how the film would end but judging from Venom’s popularity I guess that at least the symbiote would have survived.

The Amazing Spider-Man 4 – 2020

Although there is scant evidence around this film, I think that with the appearance of the various versions of Spider-Man, the film would be based off the Spider-Verse event from the comics. In this event Spider-Men from different dimensions join forces to fight Morlun, who can drain the Spider-Men of their powers. We can assume that all previous seen versions of Spider-Man including the main Spider-Man/Peter Parker, Spider-Gwen, Black Cat, Black suited Spider-Man and Venom if he survived the events of his own film would have appeared, along with new unseen versions of the wall crawler. In 2018 Sony released the animated film Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse which involves Spider-Men from different timelines joining forces. While the film was well received, similar to Venom and Morbius I think it was an echo of what it was originally intended to be and re-worked during production.

Of course, this theory isn’t flawless. It does rely heavily on speculation, even more so as you advance down the time line. This theory also downplays Doc Ock who is normally one of Spider-Man’s arch nemesis and ignores the existence of Mary Jane but it was fun to make. I’m not sure how much of it was wish fulfilment but I hope you enjoyed reading this little What if.

In the words of Stan Lee, Excelsior! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and I’ll see you all soon.

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