Sony Could Be Quietly Reviving Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man’ Universe

Not every superhero is capable of sparking a custody battle. But that’s essentially what went down when Sony and Marvel Studios had to negotiate their contracts regarding Spider-Man. Of course, both studios have seen great success with the webslinger’s big-screen exploits. 2019’s Spider-Man: Far from Home served as his first billion-dollar hit, after all.

For now, fans can rest easy. Spidey will remain in the MCU for at least a while longer. But Sony isn’t letting their investment in the Marvel hero go to waste. In fact, the studio is ramping up production on its Spider-Verse. Along with its slate of projects in development, one particular version of the character could be making an unexpected comeback.

Tobey Maguire at the premiere of 'Spider-Man 2'
Tobey Maguire at the premiere of ‘Spider-Man 2’ | Chris Polk/FilmMagic

Sony has several ‘Spider-Man’ films on the way

Over the years, Sony has consistently released Spider-Man films. In part, this has been motivated by a stipulation in its contract. Much like Marvel’s initial Fox deal, Spidey’s movie rights would revert back if Sony didn’t release a Spider-Man film within a certain period. One might think its arrangement with Marvel Studios — which led to Tom Holland’s debut in Captain America: Civil War — would inspire Sony to slow down. But the studio is more intent than ever on building its own shared universe.

While Spider-Man is shared with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony is mining the hero’s ancillary characters. First came Venom — a surprise $856 million smash — in 2018, spawning an upcoming sequel directed by Andy Serkis. And next up is director Daniel Espinosa’s Morbius in summer 2020. In that film, Jared Leto stars as a scientist whose attempts to cure himself of a blood disease transform him into a vampire of sorts.

Since Sony released Venom, fans have speculated when and how the studio’s own Spider-Man universe would intersect with the MCU. It’s looking likely that Morbius will begin to bridge the two. But new evidence implies it could be doing a whole lot more heavy lifting. In fact, we might be witnessing the first steps towards a live-action Spider-Verse.

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‘Morbius’ could blow the Spider-Verse wide open

Eagle-eyed fans spotted an intriguing detail in the background of one shot in the Morbius trailer. We see a poster of Spider-Man wearing a suit not unlike that of director Sam Raimi’s 2002 film. Although it’s unclear if the design is merely a hat-tip to Spidey’s big-screen past, it could be something much more impactful.

The Oscar-winning 2018 animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse introduced moviegoers to a multiverse with infinite spider-powered people. Although a cameo appearance late in the Morbius trailer implies an MCU connection, the evidence is mounting that the film ties directly to Raimi’s Spider-Man films instead.

According to ComicBook.com, a recent production photo — purported to be taken on the Morbius set — features a city bus advertisement proclaiming Spider-Man has gone missing. That premise feels in line with the ending of Spider-Man: Far from Home. But the Daily Bugle logo isn’t taken from that movie. Rather, it’s the same one used in Raimi’s trilogy.

This feels like a minor detail, but rumors about a live-action Spider-Verse have been swirling for a while. And it would be a streamlined way for Marvel and Sony to playfully acknowledge how often Spider-Man has been rebooted in the past couple of decades. Moreover, recent developments at Marvel Studios make a potential return to Raimi’s trilogy even more likely.

Sam Raimi is already heading back to Marvel

More than a decade has passed since Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 gave fans their last of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man. Yet, to many moviegoers, his version remains their favorite incarnation of the character. If Sony and Marvel do decide to revisit that universe, we can only imagine the move would be well-received.

Besides, Raimi recently joined the MCU. He’s replacing Scott Derrickson in the director’s chair on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. That sequel already deals heavily with the Marvel multiverse and will likely dip into past Marvel films. Raimi’s involvement certainly raises a few eyebrows, and with Spider-Man actor J.K. Simmons also now in the MCU, the pieces are falling into place.

Bringing Raimi’s Spider-Man back now would essentially allow his trilogy to be grandfathered into the MCU. With a multiverse in the picture, it isn’t hard to imagine Marvel and Sony would seize the opportunity to give fans and Raimi a taste of the Spider-Man 4 we never got. Especially if the goal is a Sinister Six movie, Raimi’s world could mean returns for Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina as Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus, respectively.