This is Rumor Control. Here are the facts. Despite the ire and confusion of most fans, Sony is rapidly moving forward with their Venom film, which is being fast-tracked with a shooting date being eyed for this Fall. My Entertainment World has revealed the film will be an “action/horror/scifi” film intended to launch an R-rated SpiderVerse of shared films. This move, obviously influenced by Fox’s success with Deadpool and Logan, is similar to their earlier plans from around the time The Amazing Spider-Man 2 tanked.
The deal with Marvel allowed the latter to reap the financial benefits of the character, while letting Kevin Feige and the studio control the character’s tone and the option to feature him in their films. It was assumed this would either trickle over into Sony’s plans for any future Spidey films or at the very least, ensure they’d have some connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It would appear that both of those assumptions were wrong. Spider-Man: Homecoming star Tom Holland has confirmed he is not involved with the spin offs, and director Jon Watts was recently asked if Venom connected to his film, to which he replied:
“It’s not. It’s not connected to the Marvel world, so that’s really intriguing… what that will be. I don’t know anything about it. It’s not connected, so there’s not that overlap. I’m only focused on my movie right now.”
Sony’s apparent game plan certainly begs the question of how Sony will handle Spider-Man in a franchise based on characters with extremely close ties to him. Will Sony cast their own iteration of the character? Will he not appear at all? I can’t think of a third option and those two absolutely will not work, so God only knows why they’re moving ahead with this. I feel like at the last minute, they’ll cave and end up connecting their franchise to the MCU. I can’t see how they’ll succeed otherwise.
According to a purported director’s shortlist leaked earlier this week, producer Adi Shankar is at the top of the list for the job. Shankar made a name for himself producing such films as The Grey and Dredd, as well as for producing his “Bootleg Universe” one-shot fan films, which include: The Punisher: Dirty Laundry, an unofficial sequel to the 2004 film; Judge Dredd: Superfiend, a re-interpretation of Judge Dredd in the form of a violent Saturday morning cartoon; Power/Rangers, a dark reimagining of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers that explores a timeline where the Rangers failed their mission; and James Bond: In Service of Nothing, a 30-minute animated short film featuring a 60-year-old Bond trying to adjust to living a normal life after 30 years as a government spy and assassin.
Ironically, Shankar also produced Truth in Journalism, a black and white homage to the cult Belgian black comedy Man Bites Dog set in the late 1980s directed by Joe Lynch (Knights of Badassdom, Everly) and starring Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) as Eddie Brock/Venom. The film was very well received as a much better interpretation of the character than Topher Grace in Spider-Man 3, so it’s no surprise Shankar is being considered by the studio. But knowing his anti big studio slant when it comes to these types of properties, I doubt he’ll entertain the offer if the script is anything short of stellar. He currently has a Watchmen-esque superhero series titled Gods and Monsters set to air on HBO sometime in the near future.
At this point, it’s hard to tell if Sony has finally learned their lesson and have a solid plan for their spinoffs, or if they’re just scrsmbling to profit off of Marvel’s hard work. Although my gut’s telling me it’s the latter, I’m really hoping it’s the former.