Will Tom Holland's Peter Parker eventually cross paths with big-screen Morbius or Venom? That's the one question looming over Sony Pictures, which owns the screen rights to Marvel's famous wall-crawler and his prolific roster of recognizable rogues. As the studio continues to build out its own comic book universe from Spidey-adjacent properties on the big screen, it needs to decide how much it can intertwine with Disney's own shared mythos (the Marvel Cinematic Universe) and how much it wants to remain its own entity.
While it may seem like the company is groping around in the dark of Morbius' vampiric sleeping quarters, that isn't really the case. Recently chatting with Variety, Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group President Sanford Panitch admitted that "there actually is a plan" to connect Spider-Man to the studio's other Marvel projects. We actually got a taste of this when Adrien Toomes (Michael Keaton) was revealed to be a part of Morbius, which opens in theaters next January after more than a year of postponements.
"I think now maybe it’s getting a little more clear for people where we’re headed and I think when No Way Home comes out, even more will be revealed," Panitch added.
Set to feature the return of former Spider-Man movie baddies Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) and Electro (Jamie Foxx), Spider-Man: No Way Home (out Dec. 17) is expected to open up an entire multiverse of possibilities, thanks to the involvement of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). There's even a growing rumor that Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin is the film's main antagonist — one who may form the dreaded Sinister Six by recruiting villains from different realities.
However, Panitch's comments make it clear that Holland's third standalone outing as Spider-Man will lay some heavy foundation for what's to come. "The great thing is we have this very excellent relationship with Kevin [Feige],” the executive continued. "There’s an incredible sandbox there to play with. We want those MCU movies to be absolutely huge, because that’s great for us and our Marvel characters, and I think that’s the same thing on their side. But we have a great relationship. There’s lots of opportunities, I think, that are going to happen."
The next entry in Sony's unofficial "Spider-Verse" is Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Sep. 24), though Eddie Brock (currently played by Tom Hardy) has yet to meet young Mr. Parker, despite the fact that they're classic enemies in the comics. According to Panitch, Spider-Man doesn't need to show up in every one of Sony's Marvel adaptations in order to jusfity their existences.
“We don’t really think of our 900 characters as the Spidey-verse,” he said. “We have a Marvel universe. The volume of characters we have — you know, wait until you see this next Venom. You don’t miss Spider-Man."
Looking ahead to the next phase of Sony's Marvel plan, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass, Tenet) was cast to play Kraven the Hunter in an 2023 origin project hailing from writer-director J.C. Chandor (Triple Frontier).