Venom 3 Could Be the End of the Franchise — and Sony's Spider-Verse

Save the last dance for Tom Hardy.

Tom Hardy in Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Sony Pictures

Few expected the third Venom film to be ready so soon. The movie faced its fair share of setbacks — the most notable being the 2023 actors’ strike — but Sony Pictures has apparently been planning for Venom 3 since Venom: Let There Be Carnage hit theaters in 2021. Sony seems to have a lot of faith in the Venom franchise, and for good reason, as the two films have grossed a collective $1.4 billion. It makes sense that Sony would be fast-tracking another, especially with the rest of its live-action Spider-Verse being in such a sorry state.

Venom 3 is set for an October 2024 release. It’ll be the third film set in Sony’s Spider-Man adjacent universe to appear this year, after February’s Madame Web and Kraven the Hunter, which arrives in August. There’s a sense that it can’t come soon enough: Madame Web was a total flop, leaving an already flailing franchise in dire straits. Insiders suggest the film’s failure has forced Sony to pull the plug on a group of spin-offs featuring Dakota Johnson, and that means Kraven and Venom 3 could be the last live-action Sony films we get for a while.

Venom 3’s new title seems to reflect that. The threequel has been renamed Venom: The Last Dance, a tag that alludes to the palpable back-and-forth between Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and his symbiote as much as it does to the end of an era. At the very least, Venom’s story seems poised to end with a trilogy, but could the film also end Sony’s Spider-Verse as we know it?

Can Sony’s Spider-Verse continue without its most successful property?

Sony Pictures

Other elements of Sony’s Spider-Verse are cruising. The studio is all-in on a group of projects centering Miles Morales: apart from the third film in the animated series, Miles could appear in live-action soon. Sony’s also keen on working with Marvel Studios on another Spider-Man film starring Tom Holland. Throw in a few Spider-Verse spin-offs, and the studio could have its hands full for years.

But the future of Sony’s live-action films, which focus on Spidey’s rogues gallery, is less clear. The studio doesn’t have concrete plans for any films after The Last Dance, though it is holding a date for an unspecified Marvel movie in 2025. Anything could fill that slot, from the long-gestating Sinister Six project to Donald Glover’s Hypno-Hustler film. Sony still has a lot of ideas floating in the aether, but without a demand on par with Marvel or DC’s cinematic universes, the studio could just throw in the towel.

Shuttering its solo universe, however, would jeopardize the rights to Spider-Man. Per The Ringer’s Joanna Robinson, Sony needs to produce a new Spidey-related film at least once every three years to hold onto the coveted IP. No matter how bad the films get, it’s hard to imagine Sony giving up the rights to something so lucrative. The studio could very well soldier on after The Last Dance, but without their most successful property, Sony will have to put in some real effort into its work.

Venom: The Last Dance hits theaters on October 25.

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