With Sony’s announcement that they’re going to shift the focus to Spider-Man’s villains after The Amazing Spider-Man 3, it’s clear that the studio is looking to create a functional Spider-Man universe to compete with Marvel Studios’ Avengers films, Fox’s X-Men (and soon, Fantastic Four) properties, and Warner Bros’ DC Universe. When it comes to superheroes, Sony pretty much only has the Spider-Man family of characters to mine, so if they want to create a sustainable franchise like their competition, they will have to get clever after The Sinister Six and Venom movies. Here are six ways they can grow the Spider-Man franchise and create a shared universe of films unlike any other!
The Black Cat
DC and Marvel are racing to be the first studio to deliver the first female fronted superhero flick and Sony can beat them both to the punch by giving Felicia Hardy, aka The Black Cat time to shine. On the surface, the sexy, cat-loving Felicia is pretty derivative of Selina Kyle, but with her bad luck powers, Felicia can stand on her own. The Black Cat has always been the perfect woman for Spider-Man, but not Peter, and the two person love triangle would be a unique take on the kind of tired super-hero romance we’re used to. A Black Cat film would give Sony a chance to delve into the underworld of their Spiderverse, introducing characters like The Rose, Hammerhead, Tombstone, or even Kingpin (if the Sony lawyers can work it out). Since it looks pretty likely that Felicity Jones is playing Felicia Hardy in Amazing Spider-Man 2, this one seems likely.
With all this competition for the superhero movie market, pretty soon the studios will have to get pretty innovative in order to stand out from the pack. One trick no studio has tried yet is to show the future of their particular universe (seriously Warner Bros…Legion of Super-Heroes!). Imagine the world of Marvel’s 2099 comics coming to life! The story of Miguel O’Hara would show the ramifications that a world of superheroes would have on the future. Maybe Sony can present a story where the Oscorp technology introduced in the Amazing Spider-Man franchise shapes a future world that is in desperate need of a hero. With a great supporting cast and an awesome costume, Spidey 2099 would certainly give the fans something they’ve never seen before.
Superior Foes of Spider-Man
It may seem too close to The Sinister Six to justify a Superior Foes film, until one realizes that while the Six that we’re likely to see in the movies are deadly and fearsome enemies that push Spidey to the limit, this other group (there are FIVE of them) are incompetent buffoons, which would make for a supervillain film experience like no other. The Superior Foes of Spider-Man is one of the most hilariously engaging books currently being published at Marvel, and a film would be more Quentin Tarantino or Oceans 11 than superhero drama. Fans have only been treated to competent heroes and villains so far in the modern age of superhero films. What about the less-than-competent miscreants that exist in the underbelly of the Spiderverse? Boomerang, Speed Demon, The Shocker, The Beetle, and Overdrive may not be the biggest names in comics, but that’s the point, as the film would be a street level look at what petty criminals and dirt bags do in a world of godlike beings. The world is ready for a supervillain heist film, and the Superior Foes are just the group of jerkoffs to try and pull it off.
The Green Goblin
The legacy of the Green Goblin, from Norman Osborn, to Harry Osborn, to Phil Urich, to Hobgoblin, to Demogoblin, and every Goblin in between, would take many movies to faithfully cover the tragic story of the Osborns and their legacy. Norman and Harry clearly play a key role in Amazing Spider-Man 2, but there is a danger that the new film will retread the same ground Raimi did in his trilogy. How does Sony they avoid this trap? Give the Goblins their own film to flesh out the family dynamics and conflicts! Imagine a film where Norman or Harry goes up against the Hobgoblin or a film where Harry must decide between a heroic and a villainous path. No studio has had the guts to do a straight up villain film yet, but Sony is ready to go down this road with The Sinister Six and Venom. If villains are really the order of the day at Sony, than Spidey’s greatest foe deserves his (or their) time.
Speaking of a new generation, unlike the Sam Raimi films which drew their inspiration from the “traditional” Marvel Universe, Mark Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man borrows many elements from the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. So if Andrew Garfield hangs up his web shooters after Amazing Spider-Man 3, why not go the Ultimate route and have Peter make the Ultimate sacrifice? Film fans would love brave Miles Morales, a young hero trying to live up to Peter’s lessons of responsibility. Using Miles, there is no way the new films would echo anything Raimi did with a new kid wielding the webs. Bendis gave Miles a terrific backstory with a father that hates super-heroes and a rich set of supporting characters. What better way to show what a great man Peter was than to have a new hero live by Peter’s, and by extension, Uncle Ben’s example? Sony doesn’t have to kill Peter, they can shunt him off to another world or the future (let’s say 2099?) to make way for Miles. To stand out in the crowded world of super-hero cinema, upcoming films are going to have to take chances, and Miles is a huge chance with huge rewards. If Sony has the stones, as Marvel publishing did, than Miles would be just what the Sony Spiderverse needs to shake things up.
Do they dare? Do they dare create a film where Peter is removed from the picture and have the yet-to-be-introduced Doctor Octopus take over Peter’s body and identity to become the Superior Spider-Man? Ock’s arms appear as an Easter egg (Easter tentacles?) in the Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer, so fans know Otto’s arrival isn’t far off. The Superior Spider-Man has been a sales success for Marvel and, like Miles; Ock’s tale has shown how Peter’s legacy and lessons can live on, even in the unlikeliest of places. Sony might want to wait to see how Dan Slott resolves his epic tale before they take this bold move, but the story of a villain that learns to be a hero is almost too good to pass up. If Andrew Garfield is afraid of being typecast as the heroic Peter Parker, this story might be enough to keep him around for future installments…and it would introduce movie fans to a whole new set of rules they might not be ready for. If greenlit, the fanboy message board meltdowns would be worth it alone.