When the first teaser for ‘Venom’ released early last year, it would be safe to say that my hopes were not high for this upcoming universe that Sony was developing. At the time, I was more invested in ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ due to the high praise I had heard the film was receiving from test audiences; and with the largely talented cast, producers and directors behind ‘Into The Spider-Verse’, I had my eyes focused on this film rather than ‘Venom’.
However, Sony knew how to get me invested in this universe with only five words: “Spike Lee comic book movie”. And with Cheo Hodari Coker attached to write the script for Spike Lee’s ‘Nightwatch’, my interest immediately peaked and by the time October rolled around, my ticket for ‘Venom’ was bought. I won’t lie, I did not like Venom, it did disappoint me, especially since this was from the creative minds of ‘Zombieland’ director Ruben Fleischer and ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ star Tom Hardy but I did not mind because I had supported this film which meant Sony would eventually put Spike Lee’s ‘Nightwatch’ into production and my dreams would come true. My dreams came crashing down faster than Josh Trank’s ‘Fant4stic’ when on October 25th, Spike Lee sat down for a interview with ScreenRant and when asked if he would be directing ‘Nightwatch’, he bluntly stated “Nah”. As soon as I saw this, I knew this was Sony’s plan all along; to bring me in with promises of a Spike Lee comic book movie, force me to fork over my £10 for my ‘Venom’ ticket and then throw me out like the fool I was; and still am. This twisted ‘Saw’ game Sony played on me may have worked once but it will probably work again; and soon enough they’ll announce some new director for another of these films that will make me fork over my entire wage for ‘Venom 2’ and ‘Morbius’ tickets.
Anyhow, despite my thoughts and the games that Sony played on me to get me sat into my cinema seat, ‘Venom’ may have not been widely praised however, the film did manage to earn $855M worldwide. And despite what I have said above, I do not mind this universe existing at all, and with some of the projects I will highlight below, it definitely seems that Sony are hiring some decent talent for these films.
Before delving into these films, I must first preface the giant elephant in the room; where is Spider-Man? In our interview with screenwriter Richard Wenk, he stated that his ‘Kraven’ film would present Kraven the Hunter pitted against Spider-Man and in our interview with screenwriter Jeff Pinker, he stated that it is not impossible that Spider-Man could appear in ‘Venom 2’. So does this mean the end of Marvel Studios and Sony’s partnership? Not at all, from my knowledge, there are plans to renew the contract once it expires however, it is possible that Sony’s Spider-Man villains universe either begins to be integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Sony decides to use their own Spider-Man in these films. It’s ambiguous currently where that ship will sail but it can be said that Marvel and Sony are currently pleased with the position Spider-Man is in following ‘Spider-Man Homecoming’. But how about these films on Sony’s plate, what can fans expect from these?
MORBIUS – Release Date: July 10th 2020
‘Morbius’ is the furthest along of all of these upcoming films as it nears to begin production in London. Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (‘Gods of Egypt’, ‘Dracula Untold’) have written the screenplay, Daniel Espinosa (‘Life’, ‘Child 44’) will direct the film with Avi Arad, Lucas Foster and Matt Tolmach set to produce. The film will star Jared Leto, Adria Ajona and Matt Smith, there is not much more to say regarding this film other than it seems this will be Jared Leto’s new comic book role with his role of The Joker seemingly no longer existent as he will not star in James Gunn’s ‘The Suicide Squad’ and according to Forbes, his ‘Joker’ film and ‘Harley & Joker’ film have reportedly been cancelled.
VENOM 2 – Release Date: October 2nd, 2020
We at DiscussingFilm first reported that ‘Venom 2’ was in development with Variety then stating that Kelly Marcel would return to write the screenplay with Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams and Woody Harrelson attached to star. Variety also reported that Ruben Fleischer will not return to direct and Sony is currently searching for a new director as production is scheduled to begin in early November in Atlanta.
KRAVEN THE HUNTER
This film is the next in development following ‘Morbius’ and ‘Venom 2’. When we at DiscussingFilm discussed the film with screenwriter Richard Wenk (‘The Equalizer 2’, ‘The Magnificent Seven’) who at the time was just beginning to write the script. Wenk is now nearing completion on the first draft of the script for Sony with it said to adhere to the lore of ‘Kraven the Hunter’ as well as taking inspiration from the ‘Kraven’s Last Hunt’ storyline. The studio are interested in hiring an A list star for the role and although no director is currently attached, Antoine Fuqua is a very likely candidate for the directors chair with Fuqua being on the studio’s eye.
SILVER SABLE & BLACK CAT
This film was once going to be directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and begin production last year. However, things changed and when a rewrite was ordered, the film’s production was pushed to 2019. However, it was then announced that the film was being split into two, Gina Prince Bythewood has now moved on to direct ‘The Old Guard’ for Netflix and there is really no update on either of these films now. I assume we will find information on at least the Black Cat film by the end of this year once Sony begins the plans for their universe post-‘Venom 2’.
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER FILMS?
In regards to other films in Sony’s ‘Spider-Man’-less Cinematic Universe, there is little update to provide. ‘Silk’, ‘Jackpot’ and ‘Nightwatch’ are currently in development, the ‘Sinister Six’ film is dead and currently the ‘Mysterio’ movie is no longer in development.
HOW ABOUT THE ‘INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE’ UNIVERSE?
Following it’s Oscar win last weekend, expect this universe to be kicked into high gear. The Hollywood Reporter have stated that a female focused Spider-Woman spinoff film is in development with Bek Smith (‘Zoo’) set to write the screenplay and Lauren Montgomery (‘Batman: Year One’, ‘Voltron: Legendary Defender’) set to direct. As for the ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ sequel, Joaquim Dos Santos (‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’) will direct the film and Dave Callaham (‘Shang Chi’, ‘Wonder Woman 1984’) will write the screenplay. Per my sources it seems that Hailee Steinfeld and Shameik Moore are already signed on for the sequel. As for other ‘Into The Spider-Verse’ spinoffs, Sony is definitely considering greenlighting other spinoffs in the near future but currently they are sticking with the sequel and the all female spinoff.
Let us know your thoughts on the Sony’s various Marvel projects, and let us know how they will fool me into seeing ‘Venom 2’ next year?