We heard a while back that Columbia and Sony want to turn Amazing Spider-Man into their own shared universe franchise, and now they’re actually trying to figure out how it’ll all work.
Producers Matt Tolmach and Avi Arad and director Marc Webb sat down with SFX to explain their plan for the expanded Spidey-verse, which will be filled up with a few more direct sequels and some spinoff films focusing on Venom and the Sinister Six. It’s a tall order, but they’ve apparently put together a full-on geek brain trust to try and make sure it doesn’t suck.
Here’s how Tolmach explained the process, which involves quite a few sci-fi heavyweights:
“That’s the new thing that we constructed. We brought in [Alex] Kurtzman and [Bob] Orci and [Jeff] Pinkner on this last movie as the writers and we fell in love with that dynamic. We were all so enamoured of the script they wrote, and just the spirit of the collaboration, that we decided that there are all these other stories to tell: not just Spider-Man movies but the ones that we’ve announced, The Sinister Six and Venom, and they all come from the same place. We realized it would be really good in terms of storytelling to have a grand scheme for where and how these stories grow out of the centerpiece, which is always Spider-Man."
Webb said the team approach has worked to their advantage up to this point, and he’s hoping that enthusiasm can help propel this concept all the way through. Webb noted that the cinematic possibilities are “magnificent” to tie all these characters together into a massive shared universe.
As for exactly how they’ll make a Sinister Six movie work, considering it’d essentially be focused on Spidey’s rogues gallery? Tolmach admits it’ll be “a challenge in every sense” but said he believes you can still tell a good story focused on villains — so long as they’re compelling characters:
“Obviously questions of traditional hero/villain dynamics have to be looked at. At the same time it’s an awesome challenge, because some of the greatest characters are in fact villains, and how you construct that is so much fun. People love those bad characters if they’re good bad characters, and love to watch them. And nobody’s all good, nobody’s all bad, and so where we end up with that story, I think, is a really awesome challenge, and we all smile when we think about what you can do. It’s definitely a bad-ass group of people and I think it’s going to be a ton of fun to watch them.”
Venom might be an easier sell: Arad already has a few ideas on how that one will work, and if executed correctly, we’ve always thought a Venom movie could be hella-cool. For Arad, he believes the sweet spot is to find the gray area in that character, outside of his vendetta against Spider-Man:
“Venom hated only one guy – Spider-Man. He wasn’t innately bad, he was a shortcut guy, not really into fighting hard for achievement. That’s the Venom story. Can he also be a good guy? As you know, Venom was also called ‘lethal defender of the innocent’. We had a great history with him, especially caring for the homeless, which is a very sensitive issue and something that many of us are very concerned with. Our villains all represent a different side of the misunderstood, and some of them unfortunately turned to the dark side. Venom happened to be a phenomenal character. With Eddie Brock, or if you do Flash Thompson, it doesn’t matter who is going to be inside the suit – what’s important is that a man like him is going to realise there comes a time when you wake up in the morning and say ‘How did I get here? There must be a better way.’”
Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens May 2, and all these spinoffs are set to follow in subsequent years. Do you think a shared-universe approach can work in this context?