With each passing week, there seems to be new details on what exactly Sony has planned for its upcoming films that center around Spider-Man’s adversaries — namely Venom. Winning has a tendency to change things for the better though. With Spider-Man: Homecoming making nearly $260 million worldwide in its opening week, that’s a pretty definitive win and more word is finally coming out on the direction Sony is taking with its Venom and Silver & Black films.
In previous years, it seemed that every time Sony had bigger plans for the wall crawler right around the corner, those plans were washed away by poor critical/fan reception. Going back to 2014 with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the studio had announced plans for Green Goblin, Venom and other super-powered villains to team up in a Sinister Six spinoff film. Seven years prior in Spider-Man 3, Venom was introduced to the big screen for the first time in Sony’s first attempt to expand Spidey’s rogues gallery on film. Both movies were heavily criticized for studio interference and both led to reboots of the franchise.
This time seems very different for Sony. In a blockbuster deal that many thought would never happen, Sony sided with a winning team to introduce Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This allowed for the web-head to be brought to the big screen like never before — as a high school kid fighting with earth’s mightiest heroes in Civil War. Getting back in the good graces of fans, Sony then put Spidey back in highschool for Homecoming where the studio was able to bring in Robert Downey Jr. — a big box office draw.
Since that deal was made, Sony landed Tom Hardy for a Ruben Fleischer-directed Venom film and announced a Silver & Black film directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood for a new cinematic universe where Marvel characters “might be featured in R-rated outings or in lower-budgeted offerings,” according to Variety. Columbia Pictures president Sanford Panitch has also been delving deep into Spider-Man lore, as all three gave their takes on the Spidey-verse in interviews with Variety.
“Superhero movies have now transcended [the point] where they’re no longer superhero movies per se; they are essentially genre movies,” Panitch said. “It’s not so much that characters have a cape and fly. In “Silver & Black,” these two women are modern and cool. … They may wear costumes, but [they’re] very real and very grounded.”
Grounded certainly seems to be the approach Prince-Bythewood is taking. The film will pair jewel thief Black Cat with mercenary Silver Sable in what will have a “Thelma & Louise” feel. She’s no stranger to comic book properties either, directing the pilot episode to Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger over on Freeform.
“I wanted to tell the story of two damaged women who are at war with each other but need each other to survive.”
If that sounds intense, Fleischer (Zombieland) isn’t pulling any punches either. He said the film will have a Jekyll and Hyde vibe as Eddie Brock (Hardy) struggles with the symbiote, who together form Venom — one of Spider-Man’s most famous rivals.
“They become almost a third being, which is what Venom is,” Fleischer says. “There’s a famous quote: ‘You’re Eddie Brock. I’m the symbiote. Together we are Venom.’”
Panitch said the film will take inspirations from John Carpenter and David Cronenberg while saying there will be “more pop and fun.”
Lastly, Panitch commented on the potential of Kraven the Hunter making an appearance in Sony’s big screen Marvel universe, saying:
“He’s an awesome character. Let’s just leave it at that.”
Of course, the big question still remains: Where will Holland’s Spider-Man be during all of this? That’s still left a mystery and Sony seems apprehensive to give a solidified answer.
Venom is set to hit theaters Oct. 5, 2018. Silver & Black is still without a slated release date.