The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a wonderfully broad creation, embracing Hollywood blockbusters, tie-in comics, popular TV and Netflix shows, and even a range of promotional YouTube videos! But is it also destined to include Sony's #Spiderman spinoff movies, such as #Venom? Things have become pretty confusing over the last few weeks, and we're now in a place where it's really difficult to say.
So: to help you make up your own mind, here's all the evidence to date!
Venom Announced (March 4th, 2016)
In March 2016, Sony announced that they were reviving their plans for a Venom spinoff. Even at this early a stage, Entertainment Weekly reported:
"[This] is being envisioned as a franchise apart from and unrelated to the upcoming Spider-Man movie in the works with actor Tom Holland."
Silver And Black Announced (March 22nd, 2016)
Only a few weeks later, we learned Sony was working on another spinoff film, #SilverAndBlack. The Hollywood Reporter initially suggested that the film would be in the same world as the Marvel films, but this was swiftly edited to say:
"The spinoffs are not offshoots from the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming but rather projects spun from the overall franchise and based on Sony's Marvel's Spider-Man universe."
It's Not Connected (03/29/2017)
The director of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Jon Watts, was asked whether or not the Sony spinoffs were connected to his film. He answered:
“It’s not. It’s not connected to the Marvel world, so that’s really intriguing… what that will be. I don’t know anything about it. It’s not connected, so there’s not that overlap. I’m only focused on my movie right now.”
Sony's Marvel Universe (05/19/2017)
Sony announced that Tom Hardy had been cast as Eddie Brock, the original Venom. They revealed:
"Tom Hardy is Eddie Brock in Venom, the upcoming film from Sony's Marvel Universe releasing October 5, 2018. Production starts this fall."
The term "Sony's Marvel Universe" was seen by many as the brand for Sony's new villain-centric world.
Venom Is Not In The MCU (June 13th, 2017)
The casting of Tom Hardy left fans a little more interested in Venom, and in early June, Marvel visionary #KevinFeige was asked whether Venom was part of the MCU. He gave a simple answer:
“For now, there is no plan for Venom in the MCU. It’s a Sony Project.”
Some fans excitedly pointed out the qualifier, "For now" — but as of June 13th, there was no indication of Venom and Spider-Man sharing the screen.
Amy Pascal Complicates The Issue (June 22nd, 2017)
Here's where things took a crazy twist. While promoting Spider-Man: Homecoming, Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal were asked about the spinoffs. Pascal shocked fans worldwide when she explained that the Sony spinoffs were "in the same world" Marvel and Sony were building in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
"Both movies will all take place in the world that we’re now creating for Peter Parker. I mean, they’ll be adjuncts to it, there may be different locations, but it will still all be in the same world and they will be connected to each other."
The term "adjunct" was a fascinating one, suggesting that these would be side-stories existing in the same world but not exerting any direct impact on the main MCU blockbusters. It's the same kind of relationship you see between the movies and the TV shows, so you could safely rule out the idea of Venom transitioning into, say, the Homecoming sequel.
Asked whether or not Tom Holland's Spider-Man could appear in one of the future spinoffs, Pascal replied:
"There's always a chance."
Kevin Feige didn't contradict her, but his poker face turned into a popular meme.
A Frustrating Transcript (06/23/2017)
Tom Holland unwittingly complicated matters still further, courtesy of a bad mike. Talking about Venom, he commented:
"It's very exciting. I think Tom Hardy will really play that character with a lot of energy, a lot of life, and it could be a very cool movie. It's not something that I know I will be involved in. As of now, I'm just focusing on Spider-Man 1 and just a little bit of Avengers, but yeah, I don't know anything about that movie."
Unfortunately, an incorrect transcript began to do the rounds on the Internet. According to the transcript, Holland said: "It's an awesome thing that I know I will be involved in." Many fans were left convinced Tom Holland would appear in Venom as Peter Parker, but that was actually the exact opposite of what he said.
No Plans In The MCU (06/24/2017)
JoBlo got the chance to ask Kevin Feige about this, but chose to focus on the question of whether or not Venom would ever transition over to the main Marvel movies. His response was unequivocal:
"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 [what] we're focusing on."
Many sites took that as confirmation that Venom and Silver & Black are not set in the same world as Homecoming, but that's not what Feige said. He was asked a very specific question — whether other Sony properties would enter the mainstream MCU movies. The same day, Tom Holland confirmed we'll never see Venom in any of his Spider-Man movies.
Some Clarity? (06/25/2017)
Finally, Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige began to set the record straight, a full week after the domino-effect confusion amongst all the parties began. According to Pascal, we've misunderstood; she was simply celebrating the fact that Sony is working with Marvel characters.
"Here's what we're doing: all these characters are a part of the Marvel comic book universe. In that universe, they are all related to each other. Kevin [Feige] makes characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These characters are separate, except for Spidey, who belongs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is why he's there."
She went on to explain:
"The other things that Sony are doing, which are characters from the Marvel comic book universe, are independent, separate franchises. Both 'Venom' and 'Silver Sable and Black Cat.'"
The reality is, the comment contradicts everything Pascal had said a week ago. Unfortunately, it also contradicted everything she'd say over the next few days, too.
Another Analogy (06/27/2017)
Within two days, though, Pascal was confusing the issue yet again. Hey U Guys got the chance to interview Pascal and Feige, and asked about the future of Spider-Man. They mentioned Venom and Silver & Black, and noted they weren't in the MCU. Pascal's response?
"Well, they are tangential because they take place in the world that this Spider-Man lives in."
It all sounds rather like Pascal's earlier comment about these films being "adjuncts" to the world of Homecoming.
"In The Same Reality" (06/28/2017)
In an interview with FANDOM, Amy Pascal gave what Kevin Feige described as "the perfect answer." She explained:
"The other movies that Sony’s going to make, in their relationship to this [MCU] Spider-Man, take place in this [separate Sony] world. Although you’re not going to see them in the Marvel Universe, it’s in the same reality."
Different Universes (07/05/2017)
In an interview with Collider, Tom Holland was asked whether or not Venom was in a different universe to Homecoming. His response was simple:
"From my understanding, I think that is the case. You know, I'd love to make a movie with Tom Hardy, and if we ever got the chance to make a Venom movie together, that would be super-cool. But his movie would have to take place in the MCU because I'm not giving up my ticket in the MCU."
That said, before you take Holland's statement as definitive, it's worth noting that all the way through he noted this was "from [his] understanding." What's more, he closed off by commenting, "As of now, I know nothing about it."
All Are Marvel Comics Movies (07/05/2017)
Pressed by Fandango, Pascal returned to the argument the films simply star Marvel characters.
"All the characters are a part of the Marvel comic book universe. They're all interrelated in that universe. Spider-Man is now a part of the MCU, as he was created to be in the beginning. The other things that Sony is doing, which are characters from the Marvel comic universe, are independent separate franchises, both Venom and Silver Sable and Black Cat."
Both Pascal and Feige stressed that they understand exactly which movies are in which universe. Feige compared Venom and Silver & Black to Fox's movies, suggesting they're about as much part of the MCU as the X-Men.
"Nobody confuses Lego Batman and Batman v. Superman. And even Logan and Deadpool are definitively not MCU, but definitively awesome movies based on Marvel characters."
At this point in time, then, there are two possibilities. The first is that Sony's separate movies are "in the same reality" as Homecoming, and so should be considered part of the wider MCU. That said, they're "adjuncts" or "tangents" — the mainstream MCU is seriously unlikely to reference them (just as it never references The Defenders or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). The second possibility is that they aren't part of the MCU at all, but are simply a separate superhero universe, albeit another one inspired by Marvel Comics.
We seemed to have a definite answer indicating the Sony films were independent from the MCU. In spite of that, Amy Pascal — a Producer on Venom, mind — is still insisting these films take place "in the same reality." And now Kevin Feige has described that as "the perfect answer." For now, it seems that Venom will take place in the same universe as Spider-Man: Homecoming — but the characters won't share screen time.
It's honestly beginning to look as though we'll only understand how these movies relate to the MCU when we finally get the chance to see them.