What is the next step for Sony’s Spider-Verse after the Madame Web incident?

What is the next step for Sony’s Spider-Verse after the Madame Web incident?

It is possible to envision that Sony would eagerly attempt to acquire the rights if there existed a superhero with the ability to produce successful comic book movies. Despite its successes with the animated Spider-Man films and partnership with Marvel for the recent trilogy featuring Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, the studio has faced challenges. This is primarily due to their perplexing efforts to generate interest in various superheroes and antiheroes from the Spider-Man comics, who are unfamiliar to the general audience, such as Dakota Johnson’s Madame Web.

The former lead in Fifty Shades of Grey has been in the spotlight recently due to her statements to Bustle, which effectively sabotaged the film she had agreed to star in. She alluded to the movie being heavily influenced by a group rather than her original vision.

Johnson expressed disappointment but not shock at the outcome. He believes that trying to create art solely through the use of numbers and algorithms is futile. Johnson has always had faith in the intelligence of audiences, while executives may doubt it. Ultimately, audiences will always be able to detect insincerity.

Johnson expressed hesitation about potentially making another superhero movie, explaining that in the film industry, projects can evolve and change significantly from their initial pitch, leaving creators questioning their involvement.

Madame Web, which bombed at the box office and is one of the most critically reviled superhero movies of all time, follows 2022’s Morbius, which suffered almost exactly the same fate. A little better are the twin Tom Hardy-led Venom movies that Sony released in 2018 and 2021, though even these were far from superb.

One of the issues is that no one was demanding these movies to be produced – the decision to expand the Spider-Verse was solely made by Sony executives as they only had the rights to these characters besides Spider-Man. The next film in the works is Kraven the Hunter for 2025, with Aaron Taylor-Johnson portraying the character known for hunting big game (though the movie version will purportedly focus more on conservation). However, since there is no clear appeal for viewers to see it and Spider-Man is rarely featured in these films, it is unlikely to succeed.

There appears to be a solution, however. According to reports, Sony’s decision to allow Marvel’s Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe was influenced by the financial disappointment of 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and a clause in the rights agreement for the character. This clause states that Sony must either produce a new Spider-Man film every five years and nine months or forfeit their rights. This may explain why Madame Web and Kraven the Hunter have been chosen for upcoming releases during this period, likely to prevent Sony from losing their rights to the character while waiting for Marvel to determine the next steps for the Holland-version of Spider-Man.

Surely though, there is a better way forward here. The success of the “Home” trilogy proves that the problem with Spider-Man on the big screen was not the character, but Sony’s inability to avoid telling the same story over and over again every few years. Once released into a complex and fascinating multiverse that did not require him to constantly recycle his well-worn origin story, Peter Parker’s alter ego has flourished. Moreover, the recent movies offered up multiple ways forward for the character either within or without the MCU.

A possible idea is to bring back the Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield iterations of Spider-Man, who experienced a successful and exciting comeback in 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. According to Thomas Haden Church, who portrayed the antagonist Sandman in both that movie and 2007’s Sony-produced Spider-Man 3, he has caught wind of speculation that Maguire could potentially reprise his role.

Actor Thomas Haden Church expressed his willingness to return as “Sandman” in another Spider-Man movie, stating that he would do it immediately if asked. Although he was never approached to appear in any other Marvel films, Church believes director Sam Raimi will make another Spider-Man movie with Tobey Maguire. Church also revealed that he had the option to return for Spider-Man 4, which unfortunately never materialized. However, he remains hopeful and would be thrilled if the opportunity arose in the future.

Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man (2002). cannot reword

One potential benefit of continuing the Maguire-Spidey storyline or combining it with Garfield-Spidey is that it could be done without needing Marvel’s involvement. Although there may be a fourth Spider-Man film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the future, it is uncertain if Holland will reprise his role at this time.

Despite this, fans are craving more content in a manner that was not seen before the release of No Way Home. If Sony allows him creative control and avoids interfering like they did with Spider-Man 3 and (apparently) the Spider-Verse movies, Raimi would be an ideal director for the future of the project.

There is a possibility that Sony could reintroduce characters like Venom, Morbius, and Madame Web in movies that fans actually want to see them in. This would involve them being portrayed as adversaries for Spider-Man instead of being featured as the main characters in their own plots. It is uncertain if Dakota Johnson, who previously stated she was done with superhero roles, would be willing to return.

Source: theguardian.com