The landscape of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been changed forever. The recent deal between Marvel Studios and Sony that allows the studios to share Spider-Man on the big screen and integrate him into the MCU has opened up a world of possibilities for the former competitors. Now Marvel gets to have their headlining hero appear in their upcoming slate of films and Sony’s Spidey films will benefit from being associated with Marvel’s impeccable brand — and those solo films might even contain cameos from other Marvel characters. While all the dates of Spider-Man’s upcoming tour have yet to be revealed, we know for sure that we’re finally getting Marvel’s Spider-Man on the big screen.
But Spider-Man’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of major Marvel players under Sony’s control that may now be able to join the MCU — and that makes this new partnership an even bigger deal. Spider-Man’s supporting cast and rogues gallery is quite possibly the richest in Marvel Comics canon, and the films and TV shows — if this partnership extends to the small screen too — are only going to benefit from being able to use these amazing characters.
Jessica Drew may only be associated with Spider-Man in name only, but that might have been enough to keep her out of the MCU. Now, thanks to this deal, she’s most likely able to appear on the big screen with no strings attached. Spider-Woman is a big deal character. She was one of the first female heroes to headline her own Marvel comic book and has seen her profile raised tremendously over the past decade. Writer Brian Michael Bendis put the spotlight on her in a big way in two “Spider-Woman” series and his “New Avengers” run; now she’s a mainstay Avenger and one of the most prominent women in the Marvel Universe. She needs to join the movie Avengers now.
J. Jonah Jameson
The Daily Bugle is the leading source of news in the Marvel Universe and, since it’s part of Spider-Man’s world, it’s not yet appeared in the MCU. More importantly, anti-vigilante blowhard Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson hasn’t been able to mix it up with Iron Man, Captain America and the rest. Heck, we haven’t even seen J.K. Simmons’ Jonah on the big screen since 2007’s “Spider-Man 3.” The MCU needs a supporting player like Jonah — and an institution like the Bugle — in order to monitor the public’s response to the heroes’ actions. Plus, we want to see Simmons — now a big deal actor following his role in the Academy Award-nominated “Whiplash” — mix it up with Downey, Evans and whoever they cast as Carol Danvers.
Right now the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a fairly omnipresent and mysterious force for good in Nick Fury; they don’t yet have a human character that can act as his villainous equal. The manipulative Norman Osborn, AKA the Green Goblin, has done a lot more than just antagonize Spider-Man in the comics. During the lengthy “Dark Reign” storyline, Osborn ascended to the top of the United States’ law enforcement and took over S.H.I.E.L.D., turning it into the incredibly corrupt H.A.M.M.E.R. Osborn’s long been a major player in the comics, one whose reach extends well beyond the wall-crawler. The MCU would greatly benefit from having Osborn in the background in all of their films, pulling strings and scheming.
While Eddie Brock, the original bearer of the Venom name, may be exclusively a Spider-Man foe, the other symbiote hosts have had a much bigger impact on the Marvel U. After trading in his scorpion suit for the alien suit, Mac Gargan’s Venom quickly became one of Osborn’s right hand men and served on his Dark Avengers squad. There’s also Flash Thompson, Spider-Man’s high school bully turned soldier turned symbiote-toting vigilante. Thompson’s Venom has recently been seen with the Guardians of the Galaxy. While it’s a little far-fetched to assume that director James Gunn will enlist an incarnation of Venom to serve with the MCU Guardians right away, it’s still a possibility that the MCU could explore in the future.
Spider-Man’s inclusion in the MCU opens up a whole new genre for the franchise: teen heroes. The web-slinger will be the first of Marvel’s superheroes that’s not old enough to vote and there’s no reason why he should remain the only one. The fan- favorite character Anya Corazon would make for an exciting addition to the universe and would diversify the company’s roster of heroes even further. With her mix of high school, family and super-powered drama, she’s also a great candidate for the lead in a “Flash”-style television series should Marvel decide to go in that direction. And just think of all the cameos you could cram into a series set in an MCU high school. Robbie Baldwin, Doreen Green, Kamala Khan…
Speaking of characters that could hold down their own television series, let’s talk about Silver Sable. This Spider-Man supporting player has seen her popularity wane a bit since her early ’90s heyday, and that should change. She’s a heavily armed mercenary, war criminal hunter and CEO that affects an ice queen persona and is known to be ruthless on the battlefield. She takes the jobs that come her way, even if they put her into conflict with the superhero set, and she has a group of mercenaries called the Wild Pack at her beck and call. Silver Sable deserves her own slickly-produced network action series; just picture “Scandal” with even more gunplay and about the same level of subtlety.
The fact that we’ve had five Spider-Man films without an appearance from Black Cat is crazy. Yes, Felicity Jones played Felicia briefly in “Amazing Spider-Man 2,” but we want to see Felicia Hardy suit up as the free-spirited cat burglar in a Spider-Man movie. There are a lot of places Black Cat can pop up throughout the MCU. Black Cat’s had a couple of flings with Daredevil in the past and recently teamed up with other female heroes to form the Fearless Defenders. Black Cat also served on another iteration of the Defenders alongside other characters that are about to make their MCU debut: Doctor Strange, Iron Fist and Ant-Man. While it’s unlikely that movie heroes like Strange and Ant-Man will appear in Netflix’s upcoming “Defenders” series, it would be a nice nod to the comics to have Black Cat on the team.
If you read the recently concluded “Superior Foes of Spider-Man” series, then you know how big of a deal this is. Just like the cast of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the “Superior Foes” characters are a mismatched set of morally ambiguous wisecrackers that bicker nonstop. It was previously unclear where a lot of the characters’ — Boomerang, Speed Demon, Beetle, Shocker, Overdrive — rights fell. Thanks to this deal, though, it doesn’t matter. Having these characters available to Marvel allows them to build up their own bickering teams of weirdo bad guys — and that includes the Thunderbolts, too.
Additionally, just having Spider-Man’s rogues gallery up for grabs helps out the Marvel Universe a great deal. Villains like Sandman, Rhino, Electro, Hydro-Man and many of others pop up with regularity throughout the Marvel Universe. Kingpin even started out as a Spider-Man villain before becoming known primarily as a Daredevil villain. With the Spidey villains in play, imagine them appearing in multiple Marvel movies in the same way Batroc did in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Characters like Vulture, Scorpion and Mysterio could test our good guys in totally unexpected ways.
The jury’s still out as to whether or not Marvel’s Spider-Man will be Peter Parker or Miles Morales, but recent press releases from the studios indicate they may be leaning more toward tradition than progress. Even if Marvel decides not to make Miles their main Spider-Man, that doesn’t mean they should forget about the breakout character completely. As one of the most prominent heroes of color in comics, Miles Morales has become an incredibly important character to a sizable portion of a generation of readers who rarely get to see themselves in lead roles. Miles Morales is an essential character, period. Whether he’s introduced as a younger classmate of Peter Parker’s or he’s a second Midtown High student bitten by a radioactive spider on a poorly chaperoned field trip, Morales has to be a part of Marvel’s Spider-plan.
Stay tuned to CBR News for more on the future of Marvel Studios & Sony’s cinematic Spider-Man partnership.
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