Recently watching the MCU, and particularly its relationship with Sony’s Spider-Man spinoffs, has felt a bit like watching a tennis game. One quote sounds like they are one and the same, then another says they aren’t the same. It is back and forth, back and forth. As writers at MCU Exchange, we feel a bit exhausted by it and are sure our readers are feeling the same. We promise we aren’t trying to make it worse, but trying to keep you up to date. Here is where we sit currently. At the very least, the Sony films are in the “same reality” as the MCU. This is what Amy Pascal said to Fandom recently.
First, there is Spider-Man happily in the place where he’s supposed to be which is in the Marvel Universe. I think everything comes from that. This is the signpost, the tentpole, the signature and… 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.
Now efore you write this off as Pascal talking crazy (again), Kevin Feige immediately referred to those comments as:
The perfect answer.
So the two of them are on the same page.
Let’s break down what that means. First of all, Spider-Man in the MCU is firmly entrenched. Pascal and Feige both feel like Peter Parker should be in the MCU. While that deal may be short term for now, with the reviews trickling in for Spider-Man: Homecoming being generally fantastic then the box office should be great and Sony will want to keep the gravy train on schedule. So that piece is doing as well as could be expected. Second, the Sony spin-off films (Venom and Silver & Black) are in a “separate world.” (It is odd that Pascal didn’t use the word separate, it appears Fandom added it for clarity.) This means that Tom Hardy may technically be in Tom Holland’s world, but his Venom will not be joining the Guardians of the Galaxy as things are currently situated. Finally, the non-connection between Venom and the MCU does not mean they are totally separate. While they are in a different “world” they are in the same “reality.”
This all lines up pretty well with my speculation from a week or two ago where I suggested we may soon have a “universe” that includes different “worlds.” These worlds would necessarily have different levels of canonicity, in as much as their canon doesn’t matter. So Venom will need to not mess with MCU canon issues. But the MCU will largely ignore the Sony films. As many people have pointed out, this is essentially where the Netflix world has been for some time. It fits into the MCU, but no Avengers film even thinks about what happens in Daredevil.
Another interesting and difficult question is if Holland will appear in these Sony spin-offs. Fandom has Pascal saying this:
Venom is a character that is closely associated with Spidey and there may be some day where you see them together, you never know.
Feige follows that up with:
Never say never
That sounds pretty different with what Feige said Wednesday night at the premiere of Homecoming to Variety.
— Variety (@Variety) June 29, 2017
No, I think the folks there are making a great ‘Venom’ movie and I don’t know much about it, but I know they’re off to a good start with Tom Hardy.
We are all forgiven at this point for saying, “What the heck is going on Feige!” At one moment he’s teasing the possibility but then another he’s saying “No, that’s not happening.” He’s either being so vague to the point of being nonsensical, or he’s reflecting constantly shifting negotiations behind the scenes. The best I can decipher the general idea is “Not in Venom (Variety comments) but we might connect somewhere else down the road (never say never).” At this point who can even tell.
It appears that one of the issues with this “world” will be the style of the world. The movies can be very different from Marvel’s “house style.” Already word is coming out about what Venom will look like and it is significantly different than what we’ve seen in the MCU thus far.
Well, Ruben [Fleischer] is a very talented, ironic, funny guy. He did a great job with Zombieland, so when you think of that mixed with Venom, I think that tells you what it should be.
Again, this is an odd comment to untangle. The obvious takeaway is that Sony is trying to emulate the success of Logan and Deadpool by going an R-rated angle. This has always been the assumption based on comments thus far. But Zombieland is also a comedy. That tone sounds all wrong for Venom particularly with Carnage as a rumored villain and Hardy as the star. Now Pascal could just be referring to something like look or mood when she references the zombie cult classic, not the comedic tone. Regardless, it will be a major left turn from the kind of kid-friendly popcorn tentpole films we generally see in the MCU.
So what does this all mean? Here at MCU Exchange, we will begin covering Venom and Silver & Black as if they are MCU films. We’ve debated this back and forth, but Pascal and Feige seem to agree now they are in the “same reality” as the MCU, and that is close enough for us. Generally speaking, the situation as it stands is this: the Sony movies will exist roughly in the MCU but will be a separate “world.” This means that they fit roughly inside the world Marvel Studios has built, but the MCU films will not include Spidey-World characters or storylines. Spider-Man is not scheduled to appear in the Sony films but could in the future. Behind all of this could be some bigger plans that Marvel is keeping under wraps but who knows.
Also, Amy Pascal might say something in ten minutes that will blow this whole article to shreds. Anyone else exhausted by this saga?