From the blog Super Connectivity
by Charlie Esser for the Nuff Said Podcast
Let me just open this week’s column up by saying, I am not a lawyer. So some of my speculation on rights and options for the Sony Corporation may be not just pure speculations but hogwash as well. That said, the internet is full of other nerds who are willing to put their dilettante’s understanding of law up against the wall to pontificate about their dream movies, so why should I be any different?
To start, let’s look at a recent declaration by Sony that they before the next Spiderman film will be a super heroine film in their Spider-Man Universe. This got people wondering about whom this character would be and how it could be tied back to the currently existing Spiderverse.
So far our only major female characters are Gwen Stacy and Aunt May. And While I personally would pay cash money to see the cosmic adventures of Golden Oldie, Gwen is the more likely choice, and well to not be spoilery, she is unlikely to be back for the next film.
There is speculation that Carnage as established in the Ultimate Universe, who took on the form of Gwen Stacy is a possibility, but given that we haven’t established Venom in this universe let alone Carnage yet, this seems a little out there.
There has been discussion that they could randomly select a female character that Sony could possibly own the rights to, and tell her origin story, and while this is certainly the way to go, the question we should then ask is which female character should have her own film, and which character gives Sony the most versatility for their future stories.
The Marvel Universe is filled with Spider Women, most of whom have only a tangential relationship to Spiderman, so if a Jessica Drew story were told, there is no reason to tie it back Andrew Garfield and his people, even if they exist in the same universe. This can give Sony a slightly broader based universe, allowing them to interact with Jessica’s Rogue Gallery including Morgan LeFay, and perhaps even the Skrulls. Such an expanded Universe certainly is something that Sony would like, but if I may make a suggestion, if they follow this plan they are thinking too small and are missing what they need most. Connectivity.
A Jessica Drew story is excellent, but it doesn’t need to tie back to Spiderman in any way, even if you have her be the result of a failed early experiment into genetic engineering sponsored by Oscorp, that tangential relationship doesn’t greatly build on Sony’s properties right away, and really could just as easily be a secondary Universe. The MCU was built slowly with unrelated properties as well, but right now, Sony, Warner and Fox are all trying to speed up that process to get to their own Avengers billion dollar pay day, and time is not, in their opinions, on their side.
This is why Sony is also talking up a Sinister Six movie, even though only two of the six exist in their Andrew Garfield Universe. But, and here is where Sony can truly be great, they don’t just have the Andrew Garfield Spiderverse to play in.
The Sam Raimi Spiderverse is still fully under license to Sony, and while arguably not enough time has passed between Spiderman 3 (2007) and 2017 for what I am proposing, time like this can always be fudged a bit.
Now right away, people will say, that Spider-Girl was never as popular as Spider-Man, but I think we can say she was likely always as popular as the Guardians of the Galaxy, and that film wound up having a little bit of success, so we shouldn’t dismiss her out of hand.
Secondly, people will say that Spiderman 3 like Amazing Spiderman 2, underperformed, which is true, but as irrelevant as Thor or Captain America Underperforming. If our goal is to build out from an established universe, small defeats do not mean the loss of the plan as a whole.
Thirdly people are going to say, but Spider-girl doesn’t expand Sony’s universe, it just reboots a new one, to which I say, exactly!
The problem for Fox and Sony is that they don’t have the expansive universes on which to draw that the MCU does. The MCU can tell a broad range of stories in a broad range of styles and settings with the characters and concepts that they still own, where as Fox could expand out their X-Men and FF Universes in this way, they have not and Sony is stuck with only Spiders.
But the Web of the Spider as any, Spider-fan can tell you, is far more expansive than one might imagine.
You can open up the story of Spider-girl story with the Mysterious Madame Web, discussing the Spider-People who exist across the myriad Universes, all bound together to and the tragedies that befall some. This gives you a great option to cut to flashes of the Spider-verse as an expansive property. Looking at Spider-Man 2099, Spider-Man Noir, Captain Spider, The Superior Spider-Man, etc. You then turn to May “Mayday” Parker smashing the glass in her High School Basketball game (an instantly iconic image for her fans). And cut to Tobey Maguire and Kristen Dunst in the stands (getting them for these smaller roles in the film should be possible), shocked at what their daughter is doing.
This allows for three things all of which Sony wants.
1) It ties back to an established franchise giving them serialization beyond just another reboot or reexamined character.
2) It ties in the concept of multiple Spider-People in Multi-Universes all of which can cross over, and likely will in either end credit scenes or as part of the specific Adventure.
3) It expands the ownership rights of Sony into the whole of the MC2 Universe, gives them a broader host of heroes to play with.
An agent Venom film featuring Joe Manganiello can spring from the MC2 universe with little effort. The Symbiotes are in existence there, Flash Thompson is an established character there played by a well seasoned actor. And ties beautifully into the many people tied to the Spider’s Web. And A New Warriors film of the Young Heroes that appeared in and featured Spider Girl is exactly what Sony is looking for.
You can cross back to the Andrew Garfield Spiderverse as needed and can even build out other Spider Concepts as desired.
Guardians of the Galaxy taught us that the public will accept a broad range of heroes and crazy concepts if the acting, effects, and story are good. Sony needs to embrace this and reach outside the box. They are already doing this in being first to market with a Modern Super Heroine film. They just need to push that idea a little further to connect to true greatness for their Cinematic Universe.
They really could do anything! They possibly own the rights to far more than they realize.