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Venom, the de facto face of the franchise so far.

Sony's Spider-Man Universe (SSU for short; also referred to as Sony's Marvel Universe and the SMU, or Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters - SPUMC) is the official name for the Shared Universe of live-action Marvel Comics-based movies made by Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures. The films are based off of superheroes, anti-heroes, anti-villains, villains and supporting characters from the Spider-Man franchise — more precisely, all the Marvel characters that Sony has the rights to, which indeed amounts to the extended Spider-Man universe — and are interconnected to each other.

The main character of the setting is, despite the name, not Spider-Man, since this franchise is effectively an Expanded Universe that largely focuses on characters associated with the Wall-Crawler. Instead, the face of this franchise is Venom, who appeared for the first time on film since Spider-Man 3, finally receiving a standalone film after years of Development Hell. The setting is a Spiritual Successor to the Amazing Spider-Man film series, which also tried to launch a Shared Universe off of Spider-Man properties, but ultimately fell short due to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 relatively underpeforming and a series of issues happening with Sony Pictures in 2014-2015 that led to the shuttering of the setting. These movies take advantage of Sony's existing hold on the Spider-Man IP while the company loans their lead character (and much of his supporting cast) to Marvel Studios, much like how they were able to make Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse without any involvement from Marvel Studios.

Although it was initially believed that Tom Holland's Spider-Man would not be appearing in these movies, Sony revealed that he would be introduced into the setting in August 2019, when the company temporarily announced an end to the Marvel Studios partnership that resulted in the previous two Spider-Man films. The following month, after Sony and Marvel Studios renegotiated the deal to continue sharing the Spider-Man IP, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed that the character of Spider-Man will appear in both this universe and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With that in mind, Spider-Man is expected to play a supporting role in these films as opposed to being a lead character, due to his ongoing MCU series.

The SSU has an unusual relationship with the MCU, which it was inspired by. While Sony initially stated that the films would be unrelated — but somehow adjacent — to the MCU, Continuity Nods featured in Morbius have indicated that these movies are tied to the MCU iteration of the Spider-Man IP. As such, Sony's Marvel movies can reference events related to the wall-crawler's MCU standalones, but they are not expected to reference other aspects of the MCU or feature characters outside the ones introduced in those Spider-Man movies. Likewise, it's expected — though not confirmed — that the MCU could treat Sony's movies as Broad Strokes with relation to the MCU's overall story arc, but it remains to be seen how Marvel Studios will approach the characters that Sony introduces. Meanwhile, Kevin Feige has indicated that Sony's spin-off plans aren't necessarily indicative of the MCU's future, indicating a degree of separation between the two franchises. Ultimately, Sony had to confirm that the two franchises remain officially separate as of 2021. Venom: Let There Be Carnage provides some clarity, but to say anything else would be a spoiler.

Sony, looking to make the most of their library of Spider-Man character to use in spin-offs, are invested in making use of the 900-ish characters that they have the license to use (from familiar characters and deep-cuts) in order to bring characters that Marvel may otherwise ignore to the big screen. However, they have postponed development on certain projects in favor of cooperating with Marvel Studios. One example of this was a planned Mysterio standalone, which was ultimately shelved in favor of having the character appear in Spider-Man: Far From Home.


Films

Released

  • Venom (October 5, 2018) - The origin story of Venom, the Lethal Protector. Down-on-his-luck reporter Eddie Brock comes into contact with a Parasitic Horror from another world, drawing him into a conflict with an unscrupulous MegaCorp and another alien parasite that makes his seem like a cuddly teddy bear.
  • Venom: Let There Be Carnage (October 1, 2021) - Eddie Brock's relationship with the Venom symbiote has become strained, leading to a bitter falling out between the two. When a new Ax-Crazy symbiote and its equally insane accomplice comes to town, Eddie and Venom will have to remember how much they need each other to prevent San Francisco from becoming a bloodbath.
  • Morbius (April 1, 2022) - Michael Morbius, a medical prodigy, suffers from a rare and incurable blood disease and has long sought to save others from sharing his fate. At the brink of desperation, he searches for a cure that goes beyond the realm of traditional science. One that proves successful beyond his wildest imagination.
  • Madame Web (February 14, 2024) - In 2003, paramedic Cassandra "Cassie" Webb finds herself with psychic abilities that let her see the future after a near death experience. This ability brings her into conflict with Ezekiel Sims, a mysterious figure with a connection to her past, as he seeks to murder three young women with heroic destinies.

Upcoming

  • Kraven the Hunter (August 30, 2024): Abandoned by his father after a failed attempt at hunting a lion, Sergei Kravinoff's blood mixed with that of a lion which gifted him incredible abilities. Years later he has become the fearsome Kraven, now seeking revenge against his father. The first film in the SSU to be R-rated.

In Production

  • Venom: The Last Dance (October 25, 2024) note 

In Development

  • El Muerto (TBD) note 
  • Spider-Woman (TBD) note 
  • Untitled Hypno-Hustler movie (TBD) note 
  • The Sinister Six (TBD) note 
  • Untiled Miles Morales movie (TBD) note 

Comics

  • Venom (September 14, 2018): A digital tie-in comic for Venom (2018) that reveals details about Venom's backstory and adapts scenes from the film.

Television

  • Silk: Spider Society (TBD) note 
  • Untitled Spider-Man Noir series (TBD) note 

Web Video

Related film series


Tropes demonstrated by Sony's Spider-Man Universe include:

  • The '70s: Madame Web starts in 1973.
  • The '90s: Both Let There Be Carnage and Morbius start in this decade, the former in 1996 showing Cletus Kasady and Frances Barrison as teenagers while the latter showed a ten year old Morbius meeting Milo in 1994.
  • Adapted Out: Due to Spider-Man himself being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the SSU initially omitted connections to him. This was quite significant to Venom, since Venom's comic origins are so closely tied to Spider-Man, though technically he appeared in The Stinger which showed Peter B. Parker from Into the Spider-Verse. Even when he does make an appearance in live-action, it's the MCU version on a screen instead of one who exists in the SSU. Finally averted in with Madame Web, which features the birth of Peter Parker.
  • Alternate Continuity:
    • The Stinger of Venom reveals that this universe is alternate to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (and the alternate Earths introduced in the film).
    • Zig-zagged. While it appeared to be one to the Marvel Cinematic Universe — running concurrently to the MCU and being a separate canon — Morbius indicates that they loosely share a continuity, at least where the Spider-Man portion of the mythology is concerned. The Stinger for Venom: Let There Be Carnage shows that the MCU is an alternate universe to the SSU that Venom is somehow transported to. Spider-Man: No Way Home outright confirms that it's an alternate universe from the MCU.
  • Alternate Universe:
    • The end credits of Venom outright stated that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse occurs at the same time "in another universe" (which itself also involves a bunch of universes including the reality of Spider-Man (1967)).
    • Venom: Let There Be Carnage has a post-credits scene of Venom suddenly getting transported from the SSU to the MCU, confirming them to be separate universes. The Spider-Man Trilogy and The Amazing Spider-Man Series are also established as alternate universes to the SSU and MCU, with characters from both film series appearing in No Way Home.
    • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse named this reality as Earth-688. Given that Earth-688 already exists in the comics, the universe is instead called Earth-688B (in reference to certain implication in Across that any reality designations used in the film that already exist in the comics have the letter B added on).
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: More like Contrasting Franchise Main Character, but Venom is this to Iron Man, the headliner of the franchise that inspired the creation of the SSU, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man's alter ego, Tony Stark, was a wisecracking, genius inventor and billionaire who had no real superpowers and instead relied on technology and Powered Armor to fight. Eddie Brock, by contrast, is a cynical, down-on-his-luck Loser Protagonist and failed journalist who has legit superpowers, derived from a biomass-consuming Parasitic Horror whose very nature automatically places Eddie in the anti-hero category.
  • Crapsack World: A universe with no shortage of supervillains, but the closest thing shown to superheroes are bloodthirsty monsters who would prefer not to harm innocents. Given that it is an Alternate Universe to the brighter and more idealistic MCU, Raimi-Verse, Webb-Verse, and Spider-Verses, it could be considered a Dark World in comparison. This is finally averted with Madame Web, which shows the origin of four traditional superheroes.
  • Darker and Edgier: Is definitely more cynical than the MCU, with the exception of the Netflix shows. The heroes are mostly monstrous-looking anti-heroes kept on the side of good by refusing to kill innocent people and their fights against truly despicable villains.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: The Venom sequel is subtitled Let There Be Carnage. It is a direct Call-Back to the stinger of the first film, which had an Early-Bird Cameo of the sequel's Big Bad. The third film is to be subtitled The Last Dance, seemingly because it is reportedly the Grand Finale of the films and Hardy's last appearance as Venom.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: There are no known supernatural vampires in this setting like there are the comics, so the scientific vampires in Morbius can walk in the sunlight and are unaffected by holy objects while still having incredible abilities and a thirst for blood.
  • Shared Universe: Running concurrently to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this universe is of the Spider-Man-related properties owned by Sony.
  • Superhero Horror: The first three films took this direction, though Let There Be Carnage was more of a Horror Comedy due to the focus on Eddie's and Venom's relationship.
  • Truer to the Text: Unlike the previous examples of the Spider-Man Trilogy Doing In the Wizard and simplifying backstories for realism, or even unlike major changes in the Spidey corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's shown thus far with Venom and Morbius that they'll be portrayed as accurately as they can be in the setting.
  • Turn of the Millennium: After the Time Skip, Madame Web takes place in 2003.
  • Villain Protagonist: Subverted. Unlike the planned Amazing Spider-Man universe, this universe uses various other characters ranging from hero to anti-hero, including Venom being based on his "Lethal Protector" persona.

Alternative Title(s): Sonys Universe Of Marvel Characters

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