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Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios may have struck a deal to share film rights to Spider-Man, but the studios seem to have some confusing and conflicting ideas about what parts of Spidey’s story will be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The head-scratching began following a recent interview between German entertainment site FilmStarts and Sony Pictures executive producer Amy Pascal. She seemed to indicate Sony’s upcoming Venom movie would be part Marvel’s shared cinematic universe—which was apparently news to Marvel Studios.
To understand the issue, we need to take a quick look at how all of this started.
Disney and Marvel made a deal with Sony Pictures—the holder of Spider-Man film rights—to use the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is populated with heroes like Thor, Iron Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain American, and lots more. As part of the complicated deal, Sony retained rights to Spider-Man, meaning the upcoming Spider-Man Homecoming technically belongs to Sony, though the project has been creatively overseen by Marvel Studios. Sony gets to reap the financial benefits of Homecoming, but it doesn’t get a cut when Marvel Studios uses Spider-Man in MCU films like Captain America: Civil War.
That’s where the newest, youthful web-slinger, played by Tom Holland, made his debut appearance. Homecoming is definitely part of the MCU, with Tony Stark playing a prominent role in the film and the plot fitting neatly into the existing MCU lore.
While the studios seem to agree on Homecoming, there appear to be unanswered questions about how the deal will relate to Sony’s other Spider-Man-related films, which aren’t being overseen by Marvel Studios.
Pascal, who is in charge of the Spider-Man universe for Sony Pictures, said that upcoming projects like Venom, starring Tom Hardy, will be connected to the Tom Holland Spider-Man filmography, and by extension, part of the MCU.
“They may be different locations, but it will still all be in the same world. They will all be connected to each other as well,” Pascal told FilmStarts. This would mean that Sony’s Venom and Silver and Black would both take place in the same universe Spider-Man and the MCU.
That contradicts comments made by Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios, in an interview with AlloCiné. Marvel Studios explicitly denied that Sony’s upcoming films will align with the MCU, which it has spent years carefully developing.
“No plans to include [Venom] in the MCU right now,” Feige said. “That is Sony’s project.”
It is hard to say whose statements are more accurate, but no matter who you listen to, the message is confusing. We may have to wait for Sony and Marvel to iron out the details before we know where Venom and Sony Pictures’ other Spidey projects stand when it comes to the MCU.
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.