It’s very easy to lose yourself in a great movie. This is even truer when movies join together to form a movie universe: a movieverse. Regardless of your opinion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), there’s no denying that the piecing together of these great characters has created a massive and unprecedented movieverse. The introduction of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War marked a much-needed collaboration between Marvel and Sony. The latter of these companies holds the rights to the character (and all others associated with Spider-Man). But with Venom, Morbius, and others continuing to expand Sony’s Spider-verse, and with Peter Parker’s future within the MCU seeming increasingly uncertain, how can we bring balance to these two worlds without simply blaming deals?
The short answer: A live-action ‘Into the Spider-Verse’!
Side note: many sources state conflicting information surrounding which characters are in which movies, and which movies are connected to which movieverses. Some state that the ‘Spider-Verse’ refers to Sony’s superhero universe, while others say that it only refers to the animated movie. Not to mention that the deals between Disney and Sony seem to be in a constant state of flux. So, I’m basing this article on my own understanding of the situation. I may be wrong in some places, just to warn you.
What’s the Spider-Verse Problem?
Now, you may be asking yourself: what is the real issue with Spider-Man potentially flitting between the MCU and the Sony-verse (sometimes referred to as the Spider-Verse)? To put it simply, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man can’t exist within the MCU while also existing in an alternate universe alongside Morbius, Venom, Carnage, etc. Not unless there is an explanation for the jumping between the two OR we are given some form of confirmation that these additional characters and events (e.g. Venom and the arrival of the symbiotes) are taking place in the MCU.
One solution would be to keep Tom Holland’s Spider-Man out of the Sony-verse altogether. At least for the time being. There’s no real reason that we can’t keep certain characters in the MCU while the rest appear elsewhere. Why not have Spider-Man, Aunt May, etc in the MCU, and Venom, Carnage, Morbius, etc in another universe?
The MCU or the Spider-Verse: Pick a Side!
The problem with this idea lies with Morbius and the movie’s trailer. It reveals that Morbius takes place in the same universe as Far from Home, and therefore Holland’s Spider-Man. There are small nods to this throughout the trailer, and some are more subtle that others. One example that isn’t, is Adrian Toomes A.K.A The Vulture (Michael Keaton). This character appears in Spider-Man: Homecoming, an MCU movie. And yet he also appears at the end of the Morbius trailer. So, it seems that the two universes are beginning to collide, for better or for worse. Unless the Morbius movie is in the MCU while Venom isn’t, but that would almost seem more bizarre.
We can assume that Sony plans to include Holland’s Spider-Man in the Spider-verse at some point. While nothing has been confirmed, there is a lot of rumor and speculation surrounding the actor’s appearance in the Venom sequel. This is relevant because Venom has been confirmed as NOT being part of the MCU. Unless Venom jumps across (and Kevin Feige says he won’t), we can assume that the sequel will be part of the Spider-verse as well. We also have Sony building up to a Sinister Six movie (again, after failing with Garfield’s Spider-Man). So, it’s only a matter of time until Spider-Man appears in a movie that isn’t directly connected to the MCU.
We need a solution that allows Spider-Man to leave the MCU, join Venom and Morbius in the Sony-verse, and all without closing the doors to a potential return in the future. A live-action Into the Spider-Verse movie would solve all these problems. Not only that, but it would open the doors to some truly entertaining moments. Let’s consider the possibilities!
Into the Spider-Verse
Into the Spider-Verse is undeniably entertaining. It put an idea into play: what if versions of the same character joined together from across different realities? Doctor Strange touched on the idea of multiple dimensions and the various threats held within. The sequel is expected to take this idea further as the first horror movie within the MCU. The multiverse concept even appears in Ant-Man, and is a core element of Ant-Man and the Wasp. But the idea of an MCU multiverse is still in its infancy. In an animated world, exploring this idea may seem easier to piece together, but it could work just as well within a live-action version.
If it were up to me, and sadly it isn’t, I would bring Jake Johnson back in animated form as a connecting element between the animated and live-action movies. He wouldn’t stay animated though! The storyline would drag him kicking and screaming from an animated reality to a live-action one. Not only would this connect the movies, but fans of New Girl would get to see Nick rising up as a hero. The slightly overweight, unmotivated, and somewhat incompetent role that Johnson is known for playing would work well on-screen. He’s not the sort of character you would send out to fight Thanos, but his entertainment value is undeniable. I’m not saying he would have a major role. But we’ll get to that in a moment.
The great thing about a live-action Into the Spider-verse, is that while it’s not part of the MCU, it can be connected to it. Within the movie, it’s a gateway between universes. In the real world, it’s a gateway between companies and their character rights. Playing out such an idea via a live-action format allows both sides to use it in the future.
Imagine Tom Holland, Toby McGuire, Andrew Garfield, Jake Johnson, and maybe even Nick Cage, all playing their own versions of the same character. All uniting to defeat an enemy that threatens all their realities. Of course, we run into an obvious problem: why wouldn’t such a threat be handled by the Avengers? To avoid this, I’d move Holland’s Spider-Man (and any essential companions) through some tear, wormhole, or rift to another reality. One where the Avengers don’t exist and there are no heroes to stop this massive threat. No heroes, that is, except the multiple versions of Spider-Man!
Regardless of the specifics of the story, such a movie would allow some wild moments that fans could only dream of seeing. Despite playing the same character, Toby McGuire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland all bring something unique to their movies. Seeing the three of them attempting to unite as a team would be ridiculous, but fantastic.
For those of you who aren’t fans of Garfield, McGuire, or both, just pause for a second. I’m not suggesting that both characters would be in the entire movie. They might appear briefly to guide the story, they might come and go, or they might be main characters throughout. I think we’d need to test them together to see how the chemistry works out. But another interesting idea would be having villains or romantic interests appearing as well. I mean the potential ideas are literally infinite in number.
Stepping out of the MCU…and Back Again?
The problem with Sony and Marvel flip-flopping from one deal to no deal is that it’s difficult to place Spider-Man in one universe or the other. As I said earlier, we could simply go down the route of accepting that the Avengers, Spider-Man, Venom, and Morbius all exist within the same world, but when Sony decide to take Spider-Man and his accompanying characters back, what will the explanation be for his disappearance? It’s not like they would kill him off in the MCU but leave him alive in the Sony-verse.
That’s why I truly believe that the idea of a multiverse is the only real explanation that could be used. Arguably, we could assume that Holland’s Spider-Man exists in both universes already. When we watch the MCU, it’s the MCU version, and when we watch Venom, Morbius, etc, it’s a different, Sony version. The characters could essentially be exactly the same, while actually being separate. But maybe I’ve just watched too much Rick and Morty!
A live-action Into the Spider-Verse movie would end with Peter (and any other necessary characters e.g. Toomes, Ned, MJ, May, etc) having to stay in alternative reality in order to save the others. While this may be saddening to fans who enjoyed seeing the character interact with the Avengers, it would also allow the two universes to exist outside of any Marvel-Sony deal, meaning that as things comes to a close, the character can leave without being killed off, and more importantly, without him and others simply disappearing from the MCU without explanation.
Just the Beginning
Of course, the added benefit would be that a door once closed can always be reopened. We could leave a multidimensional light on for the character’s potential return in the future. Marvel and Sony are currently agreeing to give Spidey more time in the MCU, but we have no idea how long that will last. Just as we have no idea whether he would ever return again. But isn’t it best to plan ahead for that possibility?
Who knows what will happen! Maybe Sony will try to take the character back completely, make a bunch of horrible movies, and ultimately be forced to make another deal. Maybe Disney’s quest for global domination will finally lead to Sony losing their rights to the characters altogether. We just don’t know! But with the Fantastic 4, X-Men, and Deadpool all in line to enter the MCU, it’s not like we’ll have a shortage of characters. Having a way to explain their sudden appearance will be important to fans.
This idea also works as a contingency plan. In the event that something needs to be explained, characters need to enter their own universes, or new rights are claimed by the ever-expanding Disney, we’d already be used to the idea of multiple universes existing. The MCU could always use the concept in new ways, allowing audiences to explore strange realities with characters they already know, both from the MCU and beyond. There wouldn’t be a need to simply kill characters off in order to reboot them in different universes.
Overall, my concern is that real-world deals may create major inconsistencies within the MCU. Hardly the end of the world, but when it’s something that can be avoided, especially through creative means, I’m always all for doing just that. A live-action Into the Spider-Verse could pick and choose the best pieces from the animated movie, as well as the previous incarnations of the Spider-Man character. It would create a mad, wacky, strange, and entertaining movie. Not only that, it could explain the existence of the Sony-verse, while keeping it separate from the MCU. That way, the break-up of any Marvel-Sony deal wouldn’t need to mean the end of the character or his random disappearance from the MCU. It opens superhero universes up to potential collaborations, where appropriate, no matter who owns the rights.
Thank you for reading! Would you like to see a live-action Into the Spider-verse? What content would and wouldn’t appeal to you?
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