In late 2013, Sony announced that they would be building a Spider-Man cinematic universe composed not only of the Amazing Spider-Man movies, but spinoffs like Venom, Sinister Six and a female-led team movie as well. However, due to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 underperforming critically and commercially, these plans were scrapped, and instead they struck up a deal with Marvel to bring Spidey into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now that the Web-Slinger has appeared in Captain America: Civil War and is returning for Spider-Man: Homecoming, Sony is looking again at building a Spider-Man universe, only this time with the proper support.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sony movie chief Tom Rothman was asked whether the studio plans to both build a "whole Spider-Man universe" and work more with Marvel. This was his response:
Yes to both those questions. It's been fantastic, our relationship with Marvel.
His answer isn't too surprising. Since the Amazing Spider-Man movies didn't work out the way they planned, going to Marvel was the best way for Sony to improve Spidey's cinematic reputation while still maintaining the character's cinematic rights. Now Peter Parker is established in the MCU, so even with his solo adventures and the studio wanting to expand his world, now he can interact with other Marvel heroes, just like what happened in Captain America: Civil War.
However, then THR asked who has "greenlight authority" when it comes to the Spider-Man projects. This has been touched on before, but Rothmans took time to clarify, saying:
Sony has the ultimate authority. But we have deferred the creative lead to Marvel, because they know what they're doing.
This may come as a relief to fans worried about how other Spider-Man-related projects would be handled in the MCU. A few months ago, it was announced that Sony working on the Venom movie again, which was reportedly "envisioned" as a franchise separate from what is being done with Spider-Man. This doesn't make a lot of sense given their hero and villain's relationship in the comics, but if Rothman's comments are being interpreted correctly, then it will be Marvel creatively managing this and other Spidey spinoffs in the future. Sony knows the House of Ideas has enjoyed a lot of success with the other characters on the big screen, so why not direct some towards the Wall-Crawler?
Sure, a Venom spinoff may still be relatively self contained, but if Marvel's the one overseeing it, then they'll make sure the proper connections to Spider-Man are in place. All this being said, keep in mind that this "creative lead" from Marvel may not apply to the animated Spider-Man movie, which isn't set in the MCU. On that particular project, Sony might be the ones leading the charge the whole way, but we'll have to wait and see.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is heading to theaters on July 7, 2017. There's been no official word on where we'll see Peter Parker after that, but considering the hero's popularity and Sony's eagerness to capitalize on his mythology to build an entire universe, moviegoers will be seeing a lot of him in the future.