The Spider-Man: Homecoming promotional campaign is in the home-stretch, and anticipation is reaching a fever pitch. But as Marvel and Sony work closely to promote #SpiderMan's first outing in the MCU, Sony is working on their own ideas; chiefly, a separate Spider-Man 'villains' universe, launching with #Venom and #SilverAndBlack (a film starring the Black Cat and Silver Sable).
Or will it be separate after all? To everybody's surprise, Amy Pascal has just weighed in...
Here's What Amy Pascal Has To Say
According to Amy Pascal, these films will "all be in the same world" as Spider-Man: Homecoming. Even more thrilling, when asked whether or not there's a chance that Tom Holland's Spider-Man could crop up in Venom or Silver and Black, Pascal excitedly responded, "there's always a chance."
Take It With A Pinch Of Salt
It's a pretty staggering statement, not least because just last week Marvel's CEO, #KevinFeige, told AlloCine:
“For now, there is no plan for Venom in the MCU. It’s a Sony Project.”
It's worth noting that Amy Pascal is one of the Producers of Spider-Man: Homecoming, but, significantly, she no longer works for Sony. Given Feige's recent comments, she's not exactly who we'd expect to be hearing this news from. What's more, Pascal has a history of making statements which get fans riled, but end up not coming to fruition.
In one recent interview, for example, Pascal caused no end of worry for Spider-Man fans when she made ambiguous comments about the future of the franchise; she seemed to suggest that the Marvel / Sony deal only extended so far as the Homecoming sequel in 2019. (For the record, Tom Holland recently let slip that there's a full trilogy in the works.)
Pascal is certainly an unexpected source, and as a result, we should take this with caution. Note that Kevin Feige is absolutely silent while she's talking — and seems to be wearing his best poker-face.
In the aftermath of Pascal's comments, Feige was asked whether other Sony characters would be entering the mainstream MCU. He responded:
"Right now, Spidey is in the MCU and it's just Spidey. Civil War, Homecoming, we've already shot a lot of Tom Holland's scenes in the upcoming Avengers films, and we're just starting to solidify our plans for Homecoming 2 - we won't call it that, whatever it is - which is exciting because it'll be the first MCU movie after untitled Avengers in 2019. It'll be the way Civil War informed everything in Homecoming, those movies will launch him off into a very new cinematic universe at that point. Those five movies are we're focusing on. "
Some fans are interpreting this as his not considering the Sony films part of the wider MCU. In reality, though, Feige was asked a specific question, and gave a very careful and specific answer — that Spider-Man is the only Sony character being integrated into the main MCU. Technically, this comment doesn't contradict Pascal's statement that these films are "adjuncts."
What If This Is Right?
But what if Amy Pascal is right? Well, here's where it gets interesting. Pascal suggests that Venom and Silver and Black are both part of the same world as Homecoming — but in a very specific way. She describes the films as "adjuncts," a concept which will be familiar to any fan of the wider MCU. The MCU pretty much treats all of their TV series, from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Daredevil, as adjuncts to the movie's narrative arcs. This kind of arrangement gives Sony the ability to explore a wider range of tones and styles than your traditional MCU films (hence an R-rated Venom movie). In the same way, the Daredevil Netflix series is set in the wider MCU, and yet is most definitely not your typical PG-13 fare!
So, if Pascal is correct, Sony's movies are part of the MCU, in roughly the same way the TV shows are. In itself, this is cause for caution; before we get too excited, we should recognize that the potential for crossover is very limited indeed. After all, the TV shows have typically orbited the main MCU films, referencing them but never referenced by them. We'd expect to see the same kind of relationship here, meaning Venom will never appear in one of the main Spider-Man films. Tom Holland confirmed this, explaining to ComicBook.com:
"Everyone's asking this question, man. It's never happening. There are so many. I'm so excited to explore new villains. I want to see people we haven't seen before because Spider-Man, of all characters, probably has the most villains and it only makes sense to explore new ones."
One key difference between the TV shows and these films, though, is that Marvel Television typically can't afford cameos from the movie actors. That's why Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow will never join up with the cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and why Phil Coulson will never head to Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark for advice on upgrading his cyborg hand. Sony, however, is a film studio — and they can afford to pay for those kind of big-name actors. That's why Amy Pascal views a cameo from Tom Holland's Spider-Man as a possibility.
While they might have the budget, there's still one huge obstacle preventing Spidey from showing up in Venom or Silver and Black: Tom Holland's schedule. Venom, after all, is due out next year, and Tom Holland is busy over the next 12 months filming Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4. After that, he'll be hard at work on the Homecoming sequel. The best we can expect in Venom or Silver and Black is a brief cameo, to help create a sense of a shared universe.
All these possibilities assume that Amy Pascal is correct. Until now, every time we've had news about Sony's upcoming slate, it's been continually stressed that they are not part of the MCU. If Amy Pascal is right, then something has changed behind the scenes; Marvel and Sony have perhaps extended their agreement, and it will be fascinating to see what news comes next. That said, I do caution you; until we hear it from the lips of Kevin Feige himself, I recommend taking this one with a serious pinch of salt.