Here’s what we know: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ was a predictable success, cementing Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He will be appearing in 2018’s ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and will kick off the next phase of Marvel films with a ‘Homecoming’ sequel in 2019. We know that Spider-Man is in the MCU thanks to a deal with Sony, who has the film rights to Spider-characters. We know that Sony is making a Venom film starring Tom Hardy along with ‘Silver and Black’, a flick featuring two other Spider-Man associates, Silver Sable and Black Cat.
From here it gets murky. While the characters in the Sony films rely heavily on their connection to Spider-Man, it’s unclear whether Spider-Man will appear in their films. Marvel big-wig Kevin Feige has said that Sony’s efforts are not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe while Sony’s Amy Pascal claims the movies “take place in the same reality” as Holland’s Peter Parker. There are only two ways they could both be correct. The first is that Venom, Black Cat, and company occupy the same New York yet never interact with characters they don’t have the corporate blessing to interact with. This sections off the city like Netflix did with the Defenders in an increasingly distracting fashion. The second option is far more interesting: the introduction of the multiverse.
The multiverse is a well-established concept in comics. There are a set of heroes in Universe 1 with another set of heroes in Universe 2 who are typically different in some way. They could be evil versions of the first set, British versions of the first set, or entirely different group of characters. These characters can interact on a temporary basis during some inter-dimensional crisis then go back to their partitioned universes no questions asked. This is how different publishers traditionally get their characters together. Marvel Comics and DC Comics came together for a one-off story of Superman fighting the Hulk, for example. There’s no reason different movie studios can’t do the same thing.
Now consider Universe Marvel and Universe Sony. Each set of characters occupy their own universe yet share the same reality (multiverse.) The MCU has already planted the seeds of a multiverse, mentioning it by name in ‘Doctor Strange’, and the Infinity Stones could likely power a trip between universes. This means that Spider-Man could visit both universes. Now, temporary sharing of Tom Holland isn’t going to cut it if both universes are betting big on Spider-Man. So now what? Three options remain:
- Universe Sony could have its own Peter Parker. Parallel universes often have the same people. Tom Holland could play two versions of the same character. Universe Sony might then be expected to have their own version of Cap and Iron Man too, which they wouldn’t, but oh well.
- Universe Sony could have its own unique Spider-Man. Instead of Peter Parker, a radioactive spider could bite someone else. Someone like comic book fan favorite Miles Morales!
- Universe Marvel could have Spider-Man jump to the Sony Universe. Miles Morales, a potential second Spider-Man, has already been introduced to the MCU with a throwaway line by criminal Aaron Davis (played by Donald Glover.) Davis says that his nephew lives in Queens. His nephew is Miles. This sets up two Spider-Men in the MCU allowing for one to take the title to Sony without leaving Marvel Spiderless. This actually mirrors the comics nicely. Miles Morales becomes the Spider-Man of an alternative “Ultimate” series of comic books set in another universe. That universe was destroyed, but not before Miles switches universes, not unlike what is proposed here.
This isn’t the most simple answer for sharing the Spider, but it is the cleanest in the long run. What do you say, are we ready for a Marvel Cinematic Multiverse?