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The new Venom movie finds itself in an odd place, because while the title character's origin has always been linked directly to Spider-Man in the comics, that won't be the case in the film. From what we've learned, the reasoning is that while Spider-Man: Homecoming was technically a Sony production, the character exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while Venom does not. However, recently it was implied that one of the reasons that Venom obtained a PG-13 rating was so that it would be easier to make a future clash between these two characters work for a broader audience. So how exactly is Spider-Man going to become part of the same universe as Venom?
The thing is, getting your movie rated PG-13 rather than R in order to open the way for a hypothetical on-screen fight when nobody has actually figured out how it would work seems more than a little crazy. Does that mean that there's already a plan to bring Spider-Man into this film universe?
There are, of course, a few different ways that something like this could work. The most obvious is to just cast another actor as Spider-Man. While this would make for two actors playing the same role more or less concurrently, assuming that by the time the "Venom-verse" Spider-Man arrives Tom Holland is still actively playing the role in the MCU, and technically they'd both be Sony characters, but if Sony can't use Holland as Spider-Man, the studio would have little choice but to pick someone else.
One would think that the option Sony would most prefer is to actually get Tom Holland to play Spider-Man for these movies as well, but that seems like the longest of longshots. Holland playing the part would essentially turn Venom and any other associated movies into part of the MCU, and if that agreement hasn't been made already (and it hasn't), then there's really no way anybody will get Marvel on board with the idea after the fact. One assumes that whatever deal Sony and Marvel have over Spider-Man is written in such a way that Holland can't be cast to play Spider-Man in a non-MCU movie, as such a thing would just be confusing as hell.
Although there are a few outside-the-box ideas that could also be used to bring Spider-Man into the Venom universe. Does anybody know if Andrew Garfield would come back and play Spider-Man again? The Amazing Spider-Man movies never introduced Venom as a character so maybe Venom is taking place inside that universe. It would have the benefit of already having fans familiar with it, and would keep there from having to be yet another Spider-Man in movies for fans to have to get behind.
There is another possibility because there is yet another Spider-Man poised to hit the screen. A couple months after Venom were getting the animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse. Perhaps the world of the Venom movie will be one of those that we see in the new film. That world's Spider-Man could even be introduced in the animated film, even only briefly, to help set up the fight down the line.
However, bringing up Into the Spider-verse does add another way that Spider-Man can be brought into the Venom universe in a way that might be the least confusing for fans. Don't use Peter Parker. The main character of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse will actually by Miles Morales, and perhaps it's time to finally cast a live-action version of Miles Morales as well. By not making this Spider-Man Peter Parker, you make it clear to everybody that we're dealing with a separate universe than any that came before. It's also the best way to do it if we really are going to have two different live-action Spider-Men (Spider-Mans?) on screens at the same time.
At this point, we don't know what Sony's plan is, or if it even has a plan, so we'll have to wait and see which way it goes with this idea. Assuming it even makes it that far. The first thing that has to happen is Venom has to do well at the box office this October.