Confused about the continuity of Sony’s upcoming Spider-Man spin-offs like the Venom, Black Cat, and Sable movies? Well, a Spider-Man: Homecoming producer made things more complicated when she announced that the films will take place in the same universe as Homecoming, even though Marvel has stated that Venom won’t take place in the MCU.
How can these two seemingly contradictory statements co-exist? It’s unclear. To recap, though, Sony has owned the rights to the Spider-Man character since the Sam Raimi movies back in the early 2000s but made a deal with Marvel Studios that allowed them to include Spidey in Civil War and co-produce the web-slinger’s solo outing, Homecoming. Then, Sony announced that it would be making spin-off movies starring some of Spider-Man’s foes, like the Tom Hardy-led Venom. Marvel boss Kevin Feige said those films wouldn’t take place in the MCU, but during an interview promoting Homecoming, Sony’s Amy Pascal muddied the waters.
“Both movies will all take place in the world that we’re now creating for Peter Parker,” she said. “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.”
Let’s parse what this could mean. The simplest answer is that Pascal didn’t 100 percent know what she was talking about, a reading that is slightly supported by Feige’s silent, mildly confused look as she speaks. But, let’s assume that she’s right. This means that Venom will take place in the MCU, but Venom won’t be canon within the main MCU. Which is, uh, confusing. Add to this the legal complication that, as far as we know, Sony doesn’t have the rights to use any Avengers characters in a movie that’s not a Marvel Studio’s co-production. This means that Venom could potentially mention Tom Holland’s Spider-Man but could never allude to the existence of Tony Stark. Heck, they couldn’t even show Avengers Tower in a skyline shot.
Perhaps Marvel and Sony have worked out some additional deal, and the exact details haven’t been made public yet. If not, though, and if Pascal is accurate when she says the spin-offs will take place in the Homecoming universe, then audiences are going to have to keep track of two separate continuities that share certain key elements but don’t actually engage with one another.
Spider-Man: Homecoming opens on July 7, while the Venom flick will premiere on October 5, 2018. Hopefully, everyone involved will be able to explain what the heck’s goin’ on by then.