The Future of the Spider-Man Franchise

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The Marvel Web-slinger returns.
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures
May 2nd, 2014

When the comic-book hit "Spider-Man" was released as a movie in 2002, it was an instant success. The movie was so popular that two sequels, "Spider-Man 2" and "Spider-Man 3" followed. All told, the movie franchise earned nearly $2.5 billion. After the release of "Spider-Man 3" in 2007, disputes between Sony Pictures and director Sam Raimi resulted in a reboot of the Spider-Man series under the direction of Marc Webb. Any trepidation fans might have had when Sony turned the reigns over to Webb were quickly diminished when 2012's "The Amazing Spider-Man" was released. In addition to the 2014 release of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," Sony has announced plans for an additional two Spider-Man sequels and two spin-off movies featuring villains from the Spider-Man universe. It is speculated that the content of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" will be used to launch these spin-offs.

Venom

Played by Topher Grace in "Spider-Man 3," the character of Venom is getting his own movie, rumored to be released in 2018. The script for "Venom" is being written by a team including Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, who worked together on the "Star Trek" reboot released in 2009. The movie will be directed by Kurtzman, producer of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" and "Cowboys and Aliens."

Although the movie has been announced, it is unclear which iteration of Venom the movie is going to portray. The original Venom was introduced in comic-book form when Peter Parker and fellow reporter Eddie Brock discovered a suit meant to cure cancer in a locker marked "#14." This suit contained Venom, which infected Eddie and turned him into a villain.

A second iteration of Venom occurred in the "Ultimate Spider-Man" animated series. In this version, a suit created using a sample of Spider-Man's blood was donned by Harry Osborn in an attempt to gain his father's approval. Using the suit, Osborn became a superhero rivaling Spider-Man himself, but was eventually twisted into an evil villain by Venom.

It has also been speculated that Venom might be an anti-hero in the new films. When a portion of Venom infects a serial killer, the character of Carnage is created. Carnage begins rampaging through the city, eventually causing Spider-Man and Venom to team up and stop him. The story ends with Venom absorbing Carnage. When asked about adding this character to the upcoming film, "Venom" producers responded that such an idea was being considered. Production of Venom is set to begin in 2016.

Sinister Six

Sony has announced that a Sinister Six movie is being written and directed by Drew Goddard, who wrote "The Cabin in the Woods" and "World War Z."

The Sinister Six is made up of a group of supervillains drawn from the Spider-Man universe. Two options present themselves with creating "Sinister Six." The first and most obvious option is to have the group pitted against a superhero. Such a movie would necessarily not feature Spider-Man in any prominent form, as the movie is a spin-off of the series.

The second option is to make at least some of the Sinister Six into anti-heroes to create tension within the group. This option seems to make the most sense, not only because anti-heroes are quite popular with audiences, but because having six villains will most likely alienate audience members.

As the movie was just announced, very few details are available as to what the story will entail. Producers commented that making a few embers of the Sinister Six into anti-heroes would be, "interesting." No production or release date has been announced for this film; however, the movie is expected to be released around the time of "The Amazing Spider-Man 4" in 2018.

Cross-over

Although not a specific movie, Sony has announced that it wishes future Spider-Man spin-offs to exist in the same universe, leading to speculation that some characters may appear in multiple movies. Furthermore, Sony did not discount the idea of creating a movie similar to "The Avengers" featuring characters from the widely popular "X-Men" series acting in conjunction with Spider-Man. Although this is purely conjecture at this point, the success of "The Avengers" lends credence to this idea.

Although fans were disappointed when director Sam Raimi left the series, "The Amazing Spider-Man" movie was a clear success and gave fans a renewed confidence. The fact that Sony has announced two spin-off movies in addition to the three planned Spider-Man movies has assured fans that the series will remain viable and continue to grace movie screens for years to come.