EDITORIAL: Building The Sony Cinematic Universe Around SPIDER-MAN

The Avengers proved that the formula works and in the aftermath, key figures at Sony, Fox and Warner Bros. have talked about building their own shared universe for their superhero franchises. Fox and WB have obvious options but what about Sony and Spider-Man?

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By Mark Julian - 3/22/2013



In the wake of Marvel's The Avengers $1B+ box office gross, all of Hollywood's major film studio's are reassessing their strategy towards their respective superhero characters. Through the X-Men, Justice League and Spider-Man - Fox, Warner Bros. and Sony are actively developing secretive plans for their own shared cinematic universes. At first glance, Warner Bros. would appear to be the biggest rival to Marvel as they have an impressively large stable of characters to chose from however, you shouldn't overlook Sony as they could become a serious competitor with a cinematic universe primarily built around the Wall-crawler and to a lesser extent, Ghost Rider.

Earth's Mightiest Spider-Friends
Sony Cinematic Universe modeled after The MCU


If you think the banter between a wisecracking Tony Stark and a straight-laced Steve Rogers is hilarious, imagine the laughs to be had in a similar combination of Spider-Man and Ghost Rider. Of course, Sony would need to reboot Ghost Rider so that he's a closer interpretation of the source material - a no nonsense, objective driven badass that dishes out major punishment, not someone that pisses fire and has a weird cackle. But the Brimstone Biker is definitely no Captain America, he'd be a closer parallel to Thor as an outsider who has the responsibility of protecting humanity from planet-level threats. For the femme fatale of the group, Silver Sable, who first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #265 (1985) is a pretty close approximation to Black Widow. Both are tough, extremely skilled hand-to-hand fighters that more than hold their own in a world filled with super powered beings. Relying only on extensive training and a gadget or two, bother fighters usually leave their opponents the worse for wear. Sable even has a close approximation to S.H.I.E.L.D. in her Wild Pack and larger Silver Sable International team. Her mercenary outfit is often charged with protecting key objects and people which is a concept that readily lends itself to a wide-range of superhero typologies. Going down this route would also allow her to one-up her Avengers counterpart as the cross film entity who eventually brings our diverse collection of heroes together. Chtylok, a 25-foot tall half-cow, half-chicken monster is an 'interesting' character who's origins are tied to Spider-Man. He may look a bit ridiculous but he has strength on par with the Hulk and comes with the added bonus of flight. Appearing in only one Spider-Man arc, the character is ripe for reinterpretation - a more menacing design, maybe a human alter-ego and you easily have your unstoppable powerhouse. For comparison's sake, we need a Hawkeye for the group. Clint Barton had little character development and was more of a sacrificial plot device who had some cool scenes in the final battle. Sony could pretty much insert any hero to fill his place but Hobbie Brown aka The Prowler would be ideal for the final spot as he too is a longstanding Marvel superhero that rarely gets his due.

Spider-Man: Source Code
Spider-Men of Marvel Comics


Sure, plenty of superheroes have alternate versions of themselves but Spider-Man's offshoots are probably the most recognizable to comic book fans. From clones to alternate timelines and even parallel dimensions, over the years Marvel has created a Spider-Man for everyone to love. You want a minority Spider-Man? Check. You want a Spider-Man from a distant future? Check. How about a dark and gritty Spider-Man that also eats brains? Check and check! Of course, you need an entity to bring all these different iterations of the webslinger together and that role fits Madame Web perfectly. Admittedly, a similar concept played out in the 90's animated cartoon and in the video game Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions but there's no reason a live-action adaptation couldn't take its ques from both which saw Web reimagined as more of a cosmic deity. Such a blueprint also opens the door for a return of the Sami Raimi franchise. Imagine Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire suiting up together and leading a team comprised of Miles Morales, Ben Reilly, Miguel O'Hara and Eddie Brock (or maybe a Dane DeHaan Harry Osborn) - that's box office gold!


Avenging Spider-Man Or....Marvel Team-Up
Spider-Man Black Cat and Venom


The above ideas are (excuse the pun) pretty sensational but then again, sensational worked pretty well last summer for Joss Whedon. However, if Sony wanted to play it safe, they could opt to stick closer to the more prevalent aspects of the Spider-Man mythos and develop spinoffs for Venom and Black Cat, two fan favorite characters that would have immediate buzz amongst fans. That would mean a smaller cast of heroes sure but also a smaller chance of confusing the larger portion of the movie audience that doesn't read comic books. Plans are already in place for a Venom movie with director Josh Trank and there's also unconfirmed rumors swirling around Felicity Jones' role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Theoretically, with just three characters, each would be more fully developed before they all 'assemble' in a team-up film. And with the shades of gray in Venom's character, you might not necessarily need to sacrifice screentime for the introduction of a villain as an out of control symbiote would be plenty for the Spider and the Cat to tackle.


The Sinister Six..Seven...And Twelve
Spider-Man Rogues Gallery


Every hero has a chief adversary. Captain America has Red Skull, Iron Man has The Mandarin and Thor has Loki. But when you start moving down their rogues list, it's not long before you arrive at the likes of Porcupine, Melter and 4-D Man. Not so with Spider-Man; if Batman has the best and deepest rogues gallery in DC Comics then Spidey definitely holds that title for Marvel. While the likes of Carnage, Green Goblin and Kingpin (yes, Sony has the rights!) are enough to give Spider-Man fits on their own, together they cause considerable mayhem, especially when it's to form one of the many iterations of The Sinister Six. Based on the latest tease from director Marc Webb, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 might already be heading in that direction with the introduction of the super criminal asylum, The Ravencroft Institute. Typically, Spider-Man manages to eek out a win against this villainous group on his own but there's really no reason to limit the number of roster spots at six. When this has occurred in the pages of Marvel Comics, Spidey has often had to call for backup, which would create a need for Venom and Black Cat. It's true that Spider-Man has some interesting and colorful villains but none are really at the threat-level of a Thanos. That's where Ghost Rider can show his importance to the Sony execs; Mephisto and Blackheart were woefully underdeveloped in the first Ghost Rider film. They are two of the biggest baddies in Marvel Comics and represent a threat that would overwhelm anything Spider-Man could throw at them. Such villains would be ideal for either the Multiple Spider-Men or Avengers-esque blue-prints mentioned above. And let us not forget that the Wallcrawler has had his own dealings with Mephisto in the past; maybe instead of undoing a marriage perhaps he wishes for a certain neck to be unsnapped?

THE SONY CINEMATIC UNIVERSEThe Sony Cinematic Universe


FACTS:





"Believe it or not, Kingpin was on loan to Daredevil" - Avi Arad
"The truth is [Venom] also deserves his own movie." - Matt Tolmach


RELATED CONTENT:
EDITORIAL: How To Make A JUSTICE LEAGUE Movie Different From THE AVENGERS
Analyzing X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST



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ToTheManInTheColdSweat - 3/22/2013, 3:17 PM
building a sony cinematic universe???

lmbo, whats the difference between that and a spider-man sequel with more [frick]ing characters. or is the mediocre spider-man gonna have his own spider-avengers team: black cat, morbius, ezekiel all have solo movies and join up for SPIDER- AVENGERS - avenging peter parkers dead parents!!! hahahaha, lmbo. dumb, dumb, dumb.
Jollem - 3/22/2013, 3:18 PM
mkilban2 - 3/22/2013, 3:18 PM
I wish my editorials went to main right away :( ... *sad panda*
mkilban2 - 3/22/2013, 3:19 PM
nice write up though!
WinterAvenger - 3/22/2013, 3:21 PM
Give it back to marvel for god sake! But continue the TASM verse
GizmoEl - 3/22/2013, 3:22 PM
While it's a slight possibility, I would rather have Sony strike a deal with Marvel/Disney to have crossovers between their movies. It's a win win for both studios, and we know they're at least a little open to it (with Oscorp set to make an appearance in Avengers but was scrapped because it wasn't ready in time).

I think both companies will look at the profits and eventually come to a deal.
Jollem - 3/22/2013, 3:22 PM
right. what's the big deal about the mcu's "shared universe"? aren't the pahse movies just sequels with more characters? don't all stories in whatever form of media have their own "shared universe"?
DanteSparda - 3/22/2013, 3:23 PM
I would say they should keep it small:

-Spider-man
-Black Cat
-Venom
-Scarlet Spider

The idea of the various Spider-Men it's intriguing but would be a bad choice for any studio to release several movies with a similar hero.
LastSon44 - 3/22/2013, 3:23 PM
Give it to Marvel!!!!!!!!! If they got Spidey for Avengers 2, it will easily gross +$2 Billion
thewonderer - 3/22/2013, 3:23 PM
Give it to Marvel, wait 5 decades for the actual film.

Marvel is totally capitalizing on getting Daredevil back.
RedSamurai - 3/22/2013, 3:23 PM
Seems like a bad idea. Spiderman is not a naturally collaborative hero. At best--since Sony also has Fantastic Four and the X-Men--they should focus their efforts on those teams which are by their nature collaborative.

Spiderman is also a one-city small story character. Most of Spiderman's stories have to do with how being a superhero infringes on his personal life.

With FF and the X-Men you can go anywhere in the world as well as off-world.
Franshu - 3/22/2013, 3:24 PM
NOne of teh above. Just keep it simple, you dont need to go tha Avengers way with spidey.
Pheezmatic - 3/22/2013, 3:34 PM
stupid...just let the new spidey kid play with the avengers and them over at marvel, and let fury show up once or twice.

venom movie cool..can put carnage in it....

ghost rider should be back at marvel...

I HIGHLY doubt they have kingpin...he should have gone back to marvel in the DD package...

just no..this worked with marvel....doesnt mean every studio needs to make their own universe...it pisses me off enuff that silver surfer exists in a different "movie universe" than thanos...no ty
spidey1994 - 3/22/2013, 3:37 PM
Damn! A Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions movie would be epic!
InfiniteMonkey - 3/22/2013, 3:38 PM
I'm with Grif.
[frick] Sony and [frick] Fox and their FoxMen.

No other studio will give these characters the proper care other than Marvel.

Give it back to Marvel.
Blarcade - 3/22/2013, 3:39 PM
At the very least do Venom: Introduce alien suit (or Bio suit from Ultimate comics), Peter rejects it, government gets a hold of it to do some good. In the meantime, Flash Thompson graduates, goes to war upon graduating high school goes to war, loses his legs saving someone emulating Spider-Man. Signs him up for Venom program. Done.
superherofan21 - 3/22/2013, 3:41 PM
A "Spider-Men" movie crossover between Webb's universe and Raimi's would be amazing. Imagine, them combining their forces to stop a threat (Mysterio?) from destroying both worlds. Throw in some other baddies from both universes (Lizard, Sandman, Electro, Rhino, etc.) and form a Sinister Six. The fans would go crazy, myself included, as I'm a huge fan of both film versions. I also think it'd be really emotional if the Raimi Spider-Man gave the Webb Spider-Man his approval. Sort of like what they did with the Spider-Men comic crossover between Ultimate and 616. Heck, they could even do the Shattered Dimensions route and incorporate Ultimate, Noir, 2099, Scarlet Spider, Venom.... The list is endless! If a "Spider-Men" movie was made, it'd be the movie event of the century. Kids love Spider-Man. Nostalgic fans would be happy to see Tobey return, and the new fans would be happy to see Andrew and Tobey team up. Comic fans would be excited about all the villains and other Spider-Men. If this sort of film gets made, it'd be WAY better than Avengers. It'd certainly make a whole lot more money, too. I know I'd see it about 30 times.
SpideyPeterParker - 3/22/2013, 3:42 PM
The best would be that Sony loses its license to Marvel Studios.

That way, we can have a better story for the villain Electro. They combine Captain America's story with Spider-Man since Electro is Red Skull's stepson. They introduce Felicia Hardy which later becomes the Black Cat, and Black Cat makes a cameo in Captain America. Later, if Marvel decides to have a Civil War saga in the Avenger 3 or 4, we get to see Spider-Man in the Avengers Movie as well.

DrDoom - 3/22/2013, 3:43 PM
I don't even need to comment and people will know my reaction to this idea.

superherofan21 - 3/22/2013, 3:46 PM
@SpideyPeterParker Um.... Electro isn't related to Red Skull. They only did that in the animated series from the 90s because they were planning on making a Spider-Man film and they didn't want the show to interfere with it. The film was planning on using Sandman and Electro as villains, so that's why Sandman wasn't in the show and Electro's character was drastically changed.
OrgasmicPotatoe - 3/22/2013, 3:52 PM
I know it's crazy, but I want to see Man-Spider tear some shit up on the big screen one day. Have him transform unwillingly, randomly throughout the movie, and have Man-Spider kick the villain's ass at the end, and then he gets a cure.
GarthRanzz - 3/22/2013, 3:53 PM
Argh I forgot about that stupid cartoon storyline. Any way, I think they are trying to avoid father son bonding in the Marvel Movie Universe. Noticed in Cptain America First Avenger, they gave no opportunity for Captain America to hook up with Hawkeyes Mom. And Jeremy Renner looks nothing like Cap. So if they aren't gonna follow the comics, I doubt they will follow a cartoon.
ATrueHero1987 - 3/22/2013, 3:57 PM
@thewonderer You're a hater.

Marvel just got the rights back to DD in Oct....right in the middle of development for phase 2. They already got many movies in development. FOX had their chance with DD. At first they seemed like they're were interested in a reboot a few years back but that changed. IDK why you act like you care about the character anyway.

Like I said, you're a hater.
SpideyQuad - 3/22/2013, 4:00 PM
Is this conjecture, or are you aware of the official contract between Sony and Marvel and what characters fall under it. I'm not trying to be facetious. I'm just not sure myself what characters Sony has control over under Spiderman.

For example Kingpin. He was a Spiderman villain way before he ever saw daredevil.

It may be as simple as if it was in Spiderman Sony owns it, but I kind of doubt it. That would basically include the entire Marvel universe if that was the case.
ATrueHero1987 - 3/22/2013, 4:01 PM
@Mark Julian Great article though I don't agree with the Spider-Man: Source Code section.

Spider-Man has so many characters(both hero & villain) that deserves the big screen treatment. I hope one day, they bring back Venom(In a Spidey movie first!) on the big screen again. Done RIGHT of course.
amazingspideygal - 3/22/2013, 4:08 PM
"Give it back to Marvel" posters are morons.
ibravosp5 - 3/22/2013, 4:09 PM
Do both spider-men the movie and avengers...nobody suggested later down the line of being both. First the six spiderman movies can be made and the sixth movie can feature spider-men. When this series is over put spidey in the avengers 3 to fight ultron with the avengers. Then afterwards three options can happen. One: Kill spidey off and introduce miles continuing the series but starring miles (probably played by jayden smith), two: make spidey retire and quit being spidey and make the new spidey be scarlet spider who's permission is given by Pete. Or three: spidey swings off into the sunset.
Growler - 3/22/2013, 4:13 PM
I'm sorry but this is laughable at best.

The reason the MCU works is because the films are based on characters that are heroes, whereas what you propose is merely a rogues gallery with a couple of exceptions (Black Cat & Venom) that changed their ways and Ghost Rider. This does not, in anyone's wildest fantasy, constitute a cinematic universe.

The scope is far too limited for the simple reason that Sony does not own the rights to more heroes, and logic dictates that films based around supervillains (with the possible exception of Venom) will fail at the box office because, largely, the cinema-going public will find it too difficult to empathise with a character that is inherently evil.

Sorry Mark, but this really is a completely bogus argument and not up to your usual standards.

MarkJulian - 3/22/2013, 4:19 PM
I'm not really arguing 'for' or 'against' it. Sony execs have already talked about it and Webb has hinted that 'something' is happening so I just did a write up of what characters they have and where Webb and co. could potentially go.

That said, if you don't think a Spider-Men film with Garfield and Maguire wouldn't be a box office hit, you're fooling yourself.
marvel72 - 3/22/2013, 4:20 PM
of course i would love to spidey back at marvel studios,but realistically i can't see the rights ever going back.

now is sony gonna reboot spidey after the amazing spider-man trilogy,if they do i would go down one of these routes.

-spider-man noir trilogy
-spider-man 2099 trilogy
-ultimate spider-man (miles morales) trilogy
-scarlet spider

or spin off movies

-venom

& finally i would like to see "tombstone" & "the spider slayers" get some movie love.
Tainted87 - 3/22/2013, 4:27 PM
Maximum Carnage
ATrueHero1987 - 3/22/2013, 4:30 PM
@Marvel72 I always wanted to see Tombstone, Shocker, and The Kingpin(and maybe even Black Cat) all in one Spidey movie. A Spider-Man crime movie! That would be good.
CharlesLord - 3/22/2013, 4:36 PM
yea youre reaching with this one...with the arms of reed richards
Jollem - 3/22/2013, 4:38 PM
having multiple villains doesn't make a movie not good, having a wonky story does
marvel72 - 3/22/2013, 4:40 PM
@ marvel87

yeah a crime movie would be cool maybe based on the "gang war" storyline.

i also would love to see the kingpin but i think the rights to him went back to marvel studios with daredevil.

so i could see tombstone being a worthy replacement.
DanteSparda - 3/22/2013, 4:47 PM
@marvel72

I think Kingpin is one of those shared characters, I think I saw that on an interview.
ATrueHero1987 - 3/22/2013, 4:50 PM
@marvel72 @DanteSparda The article has to link saying that Sony has Kingpin. Sony just loaned it to FOX for DD.
Jollem - 3/22/2013, 4:53 PM
@SuspenseSmith - agree. the story for the video game was better, imo. also had way more villains :)

Ninja Scroll introduced multiple antagonists and protagonists, fleshed out all characters pretty well, and had all kinds of crap going on. and it was a good story. worked just fine

transformers, besides anything else you can say about them(good or bad), had multiple villains in the movie and it was no problem
thewonderer - 3/22/2013, 4:56 PM
@Marvel87

You answered the problem with all these "give it back to marvel" posters.

Marvel has a shit ton on its slate right now. If franchises like X-Men and Spider-Man came back, they'd just be sitting there. This is [frick]ing stupid because there are great stories to be told.

[frick] giving it to Marvel
DanteSparda - 3/22/2013, 4:59 PM
@Marvel87

Nice, it would be great to have the Kingpin in a movie, that would a completely original villain for a Spider-Man movie.
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