Sony’s Best Spider-Man Spin-Off Ideas Make Venomverse Failures Even Worse

Sony is betting big on a cinematic universe centered around movies like Venom, but there was a much better way to create a Spider-Verse of spin-offs on the big screen that could sustain itself outside of the MCU. After Spider-Man: No Way Home performed like an Avengers film at the box office despite the pandemic, it has never been more obvious that Sony will continue to invest in the Spider-Man IP and its adjacents. However, transferring the success of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man films to other productions in the franchise will not be an easy task.

Sony’s plans for a broader Spider-Man franchise are nothing new. Back when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was being made, there were already several ideas as to how the studio could make the most out of the Spider-Man IP – especially after Marvel managed to make the Avengers into a worldwide blockbuster phenomenon. Throughout The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it is possible to notice several hints of the formation of a Sinister Six in that universe, something that never became reality.

Even after the combined work between Marvel and Sony for the release of a new Spider-Man, now part of the MCU, the studio that owns the cinematic rights to the character and all its adjacents has not given up on creating a cinematic universe of its own. So far, Sony has released two Venom movies and one Morbius film,  with Kraven The Hunter and Madame Web in the works. However, Morbius‘ box office failure shows that this may not be the best route for the studio. Rather than focusing on Spider-Man villains who can hardly function without the hero, Sony could use the various legacy Spider-Man characters such as Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man 2099, and Spider-Woman – all heroes who could be front and center in a movie franchise without the need for Peter Parker.

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Spider-Man has what can be considered the best gallery of villains alongside Batman’s. Thanks to the serialized nature of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s comic, in which each issue would ofter see Spider-Man face a brand new enemy, the hero has encountered some of Marvel’s most creative villains. While most of those do not compare in terms of strength or powers with the likes of Thanos or Kang, Spider-Man’s villains stand out for how their stories often connect to Spider-Man’s at a personal level. For example, Norman Osborn, arguably Spider-Man’s greatest nemesis, is the father of Harry, Peter’s best friend. Not only that, the Spider-Man villains are mostly regular humans who fell victim to greed or scientific accidents, something that was even referenced in No Way Home with Electro and Sandman.

This all proves how great Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery is and how hero-dependent it also is. This is not unique to Spidey’s enemies, as very few comic book villains can function without the hero. Joker (2019), a billion-dollar film, is more of an exception than a rule. Even so, Sony is investing heavily in a cinematic universe focused on Spider-Man’s villains – one that, so far, has not seen Spider-Man himself. While Venom has enough history in the comics as being the main character himself, other villains like Morbius, Vulture, and Kraven were never the most logical option to lead a cinematic universe. So far, audiences are proving that they feel the same, as seen in the disparity between the box offices of the first two Venoms and Morbius.

Spider-Man’s Alternate & Legacy Characters Are Some Of Marvel’s Best

Spider-Woman Silk Gwen Stacy Spider-Woman

It is not just Spider-Man villains that make great support characters. More recently, Peter Parker has been joined by other “Spider-heroes”, legacy characters whose stories do not always ask for Peter Parker. Miles Morales, the Spider-Man introduced in the Ultimate universe following Peter’s death, is by far the most successful example of a legacy Spider-Man character – but he is not the only one. Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman, Silk, and Spider-Man 2099 are other Marvel superheroes born off the Spider-Man mythos who have grown to become important characters on their own. Whether by events from other universes or stories that run parallel to Peter Parker’s, these other Spider-heroes have proven more than once that they can carry a solo title.

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Into The Spider-Verse Proved Spider-Man’s Legacy Characters Can Work

spider-verse 2 characters

If there was any doubt that other Spider-heroes besides Peter Parker could be in a movie, those ended with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Through the concept of the Multiverse, the animated film brought Miles Morales to the big screen while also playing with alternate versions of Spider-Man – including the co-lead Spider-Gwen. The success of Into the Spider-Verse both with critics and at the box office showed that not only Peter Parker can be the hero of a movie and that Spider-Man’s legacy heroes have already become “movie-level”.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has the potential to expand on that idea even further. In addition to Miles Morales and Gwen, Spider-Verse 2 will see Spider-Man 2099 have a prominent role. The futuristic Spider-Man will be played by Oscar Isaac, and the trailers do not make it clear whether he will be a hero or a villain. Either way, yet another alternate Spider-Man will get a popularity boost soon, further proving the approach’s viability.

Morbius’ Failure Proves Sony Is Focusing On The Wrong Spider-Man Characters

Why Spider-Verse 2 Can Fix Venom 3 Villain Problem

With so many interesting superheroes available in the Spider-Man universe, Sony’s choice to focus its efforts on villains like Venom and Kraven becomes even stranger. Audiences are keen on shared universes and cameos, granted, but superheroes are much more suited to this kind of concept than their villains. Sony obviously does not have as many characters at its disposal as Marvel or FOX’s X-Men universe did, which makes ignoring characters like Spider-Gwen and Spider-Man 2099, names that could be bigger box office drawers than villains like Morbius, in live-action an even bigger mistake.

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That said, it should not take long for some of these characters to appear in live-action as both a Spider-Woman movie and a Silk TV show are reportedly being developed. However, it would have made a lot more sense to start Sony’s Spider-Verse with characters like that than with movies like Venom and Morbius. If in the long-term, Sony’s Sinister Six universe project does not work, then at least the studio already has an ace up their sleeves: Spider-Man’s legacy characters.

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