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Marvel Studios has created a cinematic universe that includes Spider-Man. Sony is creating its own universe full of Spider-Man characters. So, are these two worlds connected? Does anybody even know? We've been getting mixed signals from the people who are supposed to answer these questions. Previously, Kevin Feige said that Sony's plans to make movies based on Venom and Silver & Black (Silver Sable and Black Cat) would not be connected to the MCU, but then Amy Pascal, who's running the Sony side of things, made comments that certainly sounded like these worlds would be connected. Finally, it appears that everybody has conferred and come up with a single answer. Amy Pascal now says that Sony's movies will not be part of the MCU. According to Pascal...
Here's what we're doing: all these characters are a part of the Marvel comic book universe. In that universe, they are all related to each other. Kevin [Feige] makes characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These characters are separate, except for Spidey, who belongs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is why he's there.
While Kevin Feige then followed this statement up be telling ComicBook.com, "we never say never," which would seemingly put everything into question again, he also says that if he were asked if Superman were going to show up in the MCU he would never say never. So if Venom is as likely to show up in the MCU as Superman, we should be able to put the concept out of our minds. Unless Disney gets it in its head to buy Sony or Warner Bros.
This answer certainly makes more sense then when there was some indication that movies like Venom could be part of the MCU. The deal between Marvel and Sony that brought Spider-Man in was presented as a one-time deal. While both studios are working together on films like Spider-Man: Homecoming, Marvel certainly wasn't going to let Sony make MCU related films without them, but there was no indication Marvel was involved in projects like Venom or Silver & Black. There was also no indication that Marvel had any interest in being involved.
Of course, this also means that Sony's Marvel universe will be missing a key character. While Sony still has the rights to Spider-Man and all the characters associated with him, it appears the plan is to build a universe with those characters, but without the wall-crawler himself. Clearly, Sony isn't ready to let the Marvel rights go entirely, and it's certainly not going to let these characters sit on a shelf and gather dust, but it will be odd to see these characters on screen without also seeing our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.