Michael Keaton’s appearance in the Morbius trailer has sent the internet into feverish speculation about the future of Sony’s Spider-Man Universe. So let’s sort the Sinister Sixes, from the Silver Sables.
It’s safe to say that Spidey-fans everywhere were startled by the appearance of Keaton’s Vulture at the end of the teaser.
That’s a significant moment in and of itself, marking the first time an established Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) character has officially crossed over into what we’re now calling Sony’s live-action Spider-Verse.
The obvious assumption is that Sony intends to resurrect its plans for a Sinister Six movie, something that was originally intended to be the culmination of its Amazing Spider-Man series, before being shelved after the perceived failure of Amazing Spider-Man 2.
That’s certainly a possibility – a Sinister Six movie is still officially on the slate at Sony, with Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chairman Amy Pascal on record as saying she is waiting for writer Drew Goddard (who’s already written a Sinister Six script) to be able to direct it.
If it happens, it’s likely that a Sinister Six movie would feature different villains than the original line-up in the comics, which consisted of Doctor Octopus, Mysterio, Electro, Sandman, Kraven the Hunter and the Vulture.
While the MCU have already established the Vulture and Mysterio (who, let’s face it, probably isn’t really dead), the Sony live-action Spider-Verse would have to work hard to establish new versions of the other four characters in time for a proper Sinister Six movie, so they may well decide to sub in other MCU-established Spider-Man villains, such as the Scorpion and the Shocker instead.
Another alternative would be for Sony to introduce more potential members of the Sinister Six in their proposed slate of live-action Spider-Verse films, following the box-office success of Venom.
Morbius is the first of those films, and if that proves to be a similar hit, then expect Sony to fast-track several of their current projects, all of which are currently in various stages of development.
Following Morbius, the first out of the gate will be Venom 2 (with Tom Hardy facing off against Woody Harrelson’s Carnage), which was fast-tracked after Venom’s success.
There are rumours that Tom Holland will make a cameo appearance in Venom 2 (he filmed a cameo for the first movie that was ultimately shelved), but we’ll believe that when we see it.
If Morbius does well at the box office, it’s highly likely that Sony will move forward with their existing plans for a Kraven the Hunter stand-alone movie.
Eagle-eyed internet spies have already spotted the word ‘Kraven‘ on the Morbius set, which suggests big plans for the character in the future.
Kraven certainly has a lot of potential. A big-game hunter who believes Spider-Man to be the ultimate prey, he was one of the original Sinister Six, and is one of the few classic Steve Ditko-era Spider-Man villains who’s yet to appear on the big screen.
Sony were originally planning a Kraven movie to be based on the classic comicbook storyline Kraven’s Last Hunt, though it seems likely that will now be re-tooled to fit the new Spider-Verse.
Two other promising stand-alone features on Sony’s slate are Black Cat and Silver Sable.
A movie featuring both characters – called Silver & Black – was cancelled in 2018 due to script issues, splitting the project into two separate films.
Black Cat is essentially Marvel’s Catwoman (and was a long-term Spidey girlfriend), while Silver Sable is a silver-haired mercenary, essentially a mash-up of Punisher and Black Widow.
Speaking of silver hair, Sony are apparently also planning a Madame Web movie, with the Morbius writers hired to work on the script.
It seems unlikely that a big screen version of Madame Web would resemble her comics incarnation, where she’s a blind, disabled, elderly clairvoyant and precognitive mutant, connected to a mobile life-support system that looks like a spider’s web.
Although, maybe Maggie Smith would take the gig?
Other officially on-the-slate spider-projects include Silk (a relatively recent Korean-American spider-powered character, whose alter-ego Cindy Moon briefly appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming) and Nightwatch, a character who is part supervillain and part superhero.
However, one important question hangs over the future of Sony’s live-action Spider-Verse and it is this: what good is it without a Spider-Man?
Currently, Holland is contracted to do one final Spider-Man film in the MCU, and one other yet-to-be-announced MCU team-up project.
Whether he will eventually transfer to the Sony Universe and battle the Sinister Six is very much up in the air, but that’s clearly the intention over at Sony, judging by the Spider-Man poster in the Morbius trailer.
As current schedules stand, Sony will be pushing ahead with their slate without a confirmed commitment from Holland to officially appear in their movies.
The success or failure of Morbius and Venom 2 could change everything once again, so it all hinges on whatever deal Sony make with Marvel once Holland’s MCU contract expires.
In the meantime, Spidey will have quite enough on his plate in the upcoming, as-yet-untitled final MCU Spider-Man movie.
Quite apart from J. Jonah Jameson exposing his secret identity to the world, he’ll also have to contend with being framed for the murder of Mysterio, as well as face off against at least one supervillain.
Personally, we’re hoping Jameson returns to his early comics roots and commissions a robot Spider-Slayer to take down the wall-crawler. A comics fan can hope.
Morbius will hit UK cinemas 31st July.