The Importance of Venom
Sony is building its own cinematic universe of characters from Marvel Comics, specifically from the Spider-Man realm. They’re calling this the Sony Universe of Marvel Characters. This kicks off with Venom in October. With Venom being the first and most popular character in their plans, we like to refer to this as the Venomverse.
Sony wants to create their own MCU, but that’s never going to happen. Movies currently in some form of development are films based on Black Cat, Silver Sable, Nightwatch, Jackpot, Kraven the Hunter and of course Morbius the Living Vampire. Believe me when I say I’m super excited for that one. Okay, don’t believe me.
The problem is this is a universe of villains, sidekicks and second-tier characters. Don’t get me wrong; some of these characters are very important and interesting in the comics. But not every character can carry their own movie.
As a superhero fan, I think it’s great. I’d go see a new superhero film every week. The more the merrier. But I also want the genre to survive, and watering down the market is the best way to kill the genre.
Sony’s Venomverse depends on Venom being a critical and commercial success. I’m sure it will do fairly well in its opening weekend regardless because it’s a superhero movie after all. But the more previews I see of Venom, the more concerned I get about how good it’s going to be. And because there are no marquee characters coming after Venom, a box-office bomb will kill the Venomverse. If Venom is terrible, nobody is going to be excited to for Morbius to follow it up.
It will also eliminate any chance Sony has of merging into the MCU. I think it’s possible that Marvel would bring the Venomverse on board if the content is quality, but it appears that Marvel isn’t confident in Venom; they certainly haven’t embraced the possibility of retconning it into the MCU, which Sony would surely agree to.
These characters would all be great additions as role players in the MCU and maybe that will still happen. That’s the biggest reason I’m hoping Venom turns out to be great. I want to see Tom Holland’s Spidey fight Tom Hardy’s Venom as much as anyone.
If Venom is a huge hit, I believe the MCU will bring the Venomverse in. If it bombs, it’s all over. If it’s somewhere in the middle, which is where I think it will end up, then Sony will probably continue with their plans to make mostly bad movies starring middling characters that only diehard comic fans care about.
Venom also could have implications for Spider-Man’s presence in the MCU. The current deal between Marvel and Sony expires after the third Spider-Man movie. Indications are that this deal will be renewed or renegotiated, and that’s the point where a final decision on the Venomverse and MCU meeting will be made. But it’s also possible that Sony realizes they need Spidey in their own universe and pull him back for their own use. Let’s all hope that doesn’t happen.
This all comes back to Venom. The fate of Sony’s universe becoming part of the MCU or simply surviving at all, comes down to Venom. Spider-Man’s future in the MCU may well come down to Venom. And whether another villain gets a shot at their own solo film may come down to Venom as well.