Another Spider-Man spinoff film has become ensnared in the proverbial web of Sony Pictures, which, with the stealthy precision of Night Monkey himself, has marked a date on the schedule for October 2021. – Got any plans yet?
The industry watchers of Exhibitor Relations have revealed the rather intriguing addition of “UNTITLED SONY/MARVEL” for the date of October 8, 2021. While we obviously don’t know what Sony Spidey spinoff it is, we do know what it isn’t — specifically the next canon-adjacent offering, Morbius, which is set in stone for July 31 of this year. Likewise, it won’t likely be spinoff-sequel Venom 2, which is set to arrive over a year earlier, on October 2, 2020. Interestingly, the mystery movie’s date will arrive less than three months after the mothership sequel, the untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming 3, which is scheduled for July 16, 2021. However, aside from those projects, every other possibility resides in the well of rumors.
That leaves the long-mooted Sinister Six project, which – in a manner akin to DC/Warner’s Suicide Squad – would prospectively manifest as a team-up movie of supervillains, in this case of a sextet of Spider-Man antagonists who, as famously done in the pages of Marvel Comics, form the iconic coterie of Web-Head haters. Indeed, such a project has been the Holy Grail for Sony Pictures in its perpetual side-quest to conjure a cinematic universe independent of Marvel Studios and the Disney monolith.
While something on the scale of Sinister Six might seem premature for 2021, the recent debut trailer for the Jared Leto-starring Morbius telegraphed Sony’s shared-universe intent with several shots across the bow clearly referencing Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and the events that occurred at the end of 2019’s Spider-Man: Far from Home, in which Mysterio managed posthumous revenge on Spidey by framing him for his murder. Moreover, the clip gave us a glimpse at the villainous return of Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes, a.k.a. The Vulture, who was last seen in 2016’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, and, for what it’s worth, is a charter member of the comic’s Sinister Six, joined by Mysterio, Sandman, Electro, Doctor Octopus and Kraven; a lineup that has varied over the decades.
Pertinent to the latter, a Kraven the Hunter spinoff film also happened to land on Sony’s backlog a few years back, and even had screenwriter Richard Wenk (The Equalizer) attached to the script, with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler having expressed interest in tackling such a project in the past. While it’s been some time since there’s been an update on the Kraven project, it might be the more feasible choice for the mystery slot in question, some 20 months before the set date, as opposed to rushing a project with the presumed necessary grandiosity of a Sinister Six megamovie.
Regardless, Spider-Man’s current cinematic state may be a success, but the Sony Pictures spinoffs remain wrapped in an often-confusing canonical web of precise intellectual property intersections with Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially after 2018’s Tom Hardy-headlined Venom came out of the gate with an antihero solo film centered on one of Spider-Man’s most fearsome villains, which, sans Spider-Man’s presence, seemingly bypassed the crucial antagonist stage of the character’s redemption arc. Indeed, this summer’s Morbius appears to be on track for a similar trajectory. However, after last year’s Sony-Marvel cinematic divorce scare was averted, we can at least presume that there’s a method to the apparent madness.