It’s Not Too Late For Sony’s Spider-Man Universe To Flourish After Venom 3

While Venom: The Last Dance marks a major change for Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, the shared universe of Marvel characters could still live its best phase after the end of its most successful franchise. Tom Hardy first played Venom in 2018, with the actor later starring in another solo movie as Eddie Brock and making a cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. After six years of playing one of the most popular Spider-Man villains from the comics — though not a villain in the SSU — Hardy will end his Venom franchise with October’s Venom: The Last Dance.

Besides the Venom movies, the SSU has released two other films, with an attempt to set up a third franchise on the way. Jared Leto’s Morbius became one of the superhero movies with the most memes, which led to a theatrical re-release only for the film to bomb twice at the box office. Then came Madame Web, which felt like a feature-length post-credits scene for a better movie. Among all SSU projects so far, only Venom has found success, which makes the chances of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Kraven the Hunter succeeding complicated, though the SSU could still be saved.

Venom: The Last Dance Means A Major SSU Change is Needed

It Is The End Of An Era

Eddie Brock speaking to Venom in Venom The Last Dance

It has been confirmed that Venom: The Last Dance will be the SSU’s final Venom movie. That means the only successful franchise in the shared universe will be coming to an end in just a few months. While Sony is showing no signs of wanting to end the SSU after Venom: The Last Dance, with December’s Kraven the Hunter, the SSU’s first R-rated movie, being the studio’s major hope for a new successful SSU entry, Sony does have to make some major changes. It has become abundantly clear that the current direction of the franchise is not resonating with audiences.

The SSU’s approach to its Spider-Man-related characters has been to give Spider-Man villains films where they are shockingly not villains for some reason. Alternatively, Madame Web focused on obscure Marvel characters, which contributed to Venom being the shared universe’s only popular franchise. With the end of the Venom films, the SSU inevitably needs to pivot. Sony has shown signs that it is aware of that necessity, with the biggest being that Bad Bunny’s El Muerto movie has seemingly been canceled. Stopping the production of films based on smaller characters is only part of what the studio needs to do.

Sony’s Spider-Man Universe Can Only Succeed By Being Right To Its Name

The SSU Needs A Main

Tom Holland's Spider-Man fighting the Green Goblin in Spider-Man No Way Home

Despite being called Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, Peter Parker or any other variant of Spider-Man has never appeared in the SSU. The closest that has come to happening was when Emma Roberts played a pregnant Mary Parker, with Peter’s name being teased in a way that was not subtle at all. However, aside from the pregnancy plot, Peter Parker has yet to appear in the SSU. That could happen in Venom: The Last Dance. The movie’s first trailer showed a young boy who could be Peter, as Venom: The Last Dance is rumored to feature a young version of Peter Parker.

However, there has been no confirmation of that, which means that for the time being, Sony has no clear plans to include a Spider-Man in the SSU. Well, with Venom: The Last Dance being Tom Hardy’s final solo movie as the character, that will have to change. Fans have asked for a Spider-Man to be added to the SSU since the first Venom. When Hardy’s Eddie Brock crossed over into the MCU, it seemed like the meeting between him and Holland’s Spider-Man was finally going to happen. However, Eddie returned to the SSU after a very brief MCU stint.

It is hard to believe that the SSU has existed for six years, changing its name from Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters to Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, without introducing a Spider-Man. With the loss of its biggest franchise after Venom: The Last Dance and Sony’s attempts to start other franchises with villains and lesser-known Spider-Man-related characters failing, there is no other way to keep the SSU afloat aside from finally bringing in Spider-Man. 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home showed the hero’s power, with Avengers-level numbers at the box office, and only that level of success could turn the SSU around.

How Spider-Man Could Debut In The SSU

Sony Has Many Different Choices For The SSU’s Spider-Man

Custom image of Tobey Maguire, Spider-Verse Miles Morales, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland's versions of Spider-Man.

When it comes to what actor should play the SSU’s Spider-Man, there are many ways Sony could go, and all of them could give the studio the boost it needs to keep the shared universe alive after Venom: The Last Dance. The biggest one would be to use Holland’s Peter Parker. Sony and Marvel share the character in the MCU, and in order for him to continue at Marvel Studios, Sony could ask for Holland’s Spider-Man to appear through the multiverse in SSU films. Holland could also play a variant of his Spider-Man, separating his MCU Peter from the SSU’s.

Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man would be a perfect fit for the tone of the Venom movies and the greater SSU, making his return as the Spider-Man of Sony’s shared universe an easy move. Alternatively, Tobey Maguire is open to returning for multiple projects as Spider-Man, which could make him the ideal Peter Parker for the SSU. Sony could also decide to cast its own Spider-Man, introducing a new actor that will carry the SSU at the same time Holland is in the MCU. Finally, Miles Morales’ live-action debut might be just the shot of adrenaline the SSU needs to succeed.

There’s A Perfect Villain To Make The SSU Reach New Heights

The King In Black

King in Black Knull in the rain in a Marvel Comic

While Tom Hardy might be done with solo movies after Venom: The Last Dance, there is a chance the actor could be open to playing Eddie Brock again — if he does not die in the third Venom film — for a major crossover. The MCU has thrived on its Avengers films, especially given the nature of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Those two movies brought together the biggest players in the shared universe to fight a common threat. The SSU could use that tactic to revitalize the franchise, and Knull would be the perfect villain to unite the SSU.

In the comics, Knull is the creator of the symbiotes. With Venom: The Last Dance revealing that Venom’s “home” is coming to get him, with multiple symbiotes being teased or appearing, Knull could be a major reveal during the film’s ending or post-credits scene. Sony could then release an Avengers-like crossover movie that brings Hardy’s Venom together with Madame Web and the Spider-Women, Kraven the Hunter, Morbius, and the SSU’s Spider-Man to face off against Knull and his army of symbiotes. With a new Spider-Man, the SSU crossover could help the franchise thrive after Venom: The Last Dance.

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