The Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting a little more confusing.
Amy Pascal, producer of Spider-Man: Homecoming, has explained that the upcoming Spider-Man spin-off movies Venom (about Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis) and Silver and Black (about Silver Sable and Black Cat) will be an “adjunct” to the MCU, and will technically take place in the same continuity as the new, Marvel Studios version of Spider-Man.
“Well, those movies will all take place in the world that we’re now creating for Peter Parker,” Amy Pascal explained in a recent interview with FilmStarts. “They’ll be adjuncts to it, they may be different locations, but it will still all be in the same world and they will be connected to each other as well.”
The whispers heard most often about the Venom and Silver and Black movies was that they would be separate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and constitute Sony’s own cinematic universe of superheroes. But from Amy Pascal’s description it sounds like there could still be wiggle room for the films to technically exist in the same continuity, but not directly interact with other characters and events of the MCU, and for all intents and purposes operate independently.
That plausible deniability approach would probably make the most sense, since Marvel Studios is not currently involved with the development and production of those films.
Kevin Feige recently told AlloCiné that, “For now, there is no plan for Venom in the MCU. It’s a Sony project.”
Marvel Studios started out with a very ambitious, but straightforward goal: to produce films featuring their classic characters – like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor – and have them all take place in the same universe, cross over with one another, and eventually team up in a movie called Avengers.
Unfortunately, several of Marvel’s most prominent characters were already optioned by rival studios, including 20th Century Fox, which holds the cinematic rights to the X-Men universe and the Fantastic Four, and Sony Pictures, which has the rights to Spider-Man. Even after a deal was struck between Sony and Marvel to let Spider-Man be part of the MCU, Sony retains the distribution rights to the character, as well as the rights to other heroes and villains in the so-called “Spider-verse.”
But if Sony ever takes Spider-Man back – and sure enough, the Marvel deal is limited to a certain number of films – the connections between the MCU and the Sony superhero movies could become a tangled web for fans and executives alike. Which films are a part of continuity? And if Sony’s films are a part of Marvel’s continuity, does that give Marvel any right to those films, especially if Sony plans to use the interconnectivity as a marketing tool?
It boils down to this: Amy Pascal is claiming that the whole new Spider-verse is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, whether or not Marvel has any control over it, and that could either be a groundbreaking new direction for superhero filmmaking, or a major sticking point in negotiations between these studios.
We’ll keep you posted as these events play out.
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Top Photo: Sony Pictures
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.