With so many comic book franchises flickering into life across the four corners of Hollywood, you’d be forgiven of losing track of who owns who.
Making matters worse is the fact that, when Marvel filed for bankruptcy back in the ’90s, the House of M sold many of its A-list characters (Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, the Hulk) to rival studios in a last-ditch attempt to stay above water. Fast forward to now, and Marvel Studios is a multi-billion dollar powerhouse that tends to rule over box office characters year in, year out.
That’s a whole lot of potential brimming under the hood of Sony’s fledgling Marvel Universe (official name: Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters), and it all kicks off with Venom this fall.
A quick headcount reveals that Sony Pictures has already drafted up plans for six Spider-Man spinoffs – technically seven now that Silver & Black has evolved into two standalone films for Black Cat and Silver Sable – as the likes of Silk, Nightwatch, Morbius, Jackpot and Kraven the Hunter are all waiting in the wings.
The only one to land a big-name star is Morbius, which currently has Jared Leto attached to play the Living Vampire. But even that spinoff film is on hold until Venom scurries into theaters in October.
Because while Sony’s Spidey-less Spider-Man universe is bursting at the seams with potential, the onus is on Venom to get things off on the right foot – lest this franchise fall prey to the Dark Universe trap and fold after just one installment.