With Venom on its way into cineplexes, all eyes are on Sony’s Spider-Man Universe films. Every day there seems to be a new announcement of a new film or rumors swirling around previously announced films
Variety sat down with Sony’s president Sanford Panitch and he cleared up some of the studio’s plans for their Spider-Man characters after Venom. We get a whole bunch of information about their film slate, including what the final fate of the Silver and Black film is and a brand new Spidey supporting character getting her own film.
The article confirms some of what we already covered here. There is a Morbius film starring Jared Leto and directed by Daniel Espinosa in the works, Richard Wenk is writing a Kraven the Hunter film, and there is a Silk film in the pipeline. There are two new films based on two of the snarkiest characters Marvel have ever created: Nightwatch, which was announced in March and we must have missed, and Jackpot, which was first announced in the Variety article.
Let’s start with Nightwatch, and to talk about Nightwatch we have to first talk about Todd McFarlane. If you don’t know, Todd McFarlane was an artist became a superstar from his work on The Amazing Spider-Man title for Marvel. He became so popular that Marvel create a brand new Spider-Man book for him to write and draw.
However, McFarlane wanted a bigger share of the profits on the titles he worked on. He and six other like-minded superstar artists went to Marvel’s upper echelon to plead their case. Their demands were denied so they all left to form their own company in order to publish their own creations, which became Image Comics. Marvel’s thinking that artist were a dime a dozen, and the rebels will likely come back on their hands and knees begging for their jobs back.
On June 3, 1992, Todd McFarlane’s creation, Spawn, hit comic book store shelves. Spawn was an African-American who wore a black and red skinsuit that gave him superpowers and a prehensile cape that could respond to his thoughts.
Spawn became a smash success, outselling a number of Marvel titles. Marvel responded in the most sarcastic way possible.
On December 1, 1992, almost six months to the day that Spawn debuted, Nightwatch made his first appearance in Web of Spider-Man #99. Created by Terry Kavanaugh and Alex Saviuk, Nightwatch was an African-American who wore a black and red skinsuit that gave him superpowers and a prehensile cape that could respond to his thoughts.
Yes, Nightwatch was essentially created by Marvel to thumb their nose at their ex-employees successful creation. And now that character is getting a movie.
Granted, there are differences. Spawn was a mercenary before he became a hero, Nightwatch was a doctor. Spawn’s origins were supernatural, Nightwatch’s were technological. But Nightwatch is essentially a copy of Spawn.
I am going to keep an eye on this film. Because there is a new Spawn film in the works, directed by McFarlane and starring Jamie Foxx, that should be in theaters before the Nightwatch film. Unless there are major changes being made to the Nightwatch character, I’d assume McFarlane’s lawyers will be pretty active if the film is actually produced. Spike Lee was attached to direct the Nightwatch film.
Jackpot is a character who was essentially a joke played on comic book readers. Kind of. She first appeared in the Spider-Man books in 2007 after the controversial “One More Day” storyline. In that storyline, Mephisto agrees to abolish Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson’s marriage in order to save Aunt May’s life. Before the deal goes through, Mary Jane whispers a request into Mephisto’s ear, which he grants.
The first storyline after this is called “Brand New Day” and that’s where Jackpot first appears (in Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day offering, Spider-Man: Swing Shift). The character had flaming red hair, called everyone “Tiger” and had a supermodel’s body–all red herrings to make readers think it was Mary Jane Watson in the costume, perhaps with powers she got from Mephisto. Turns out is was a completely new character named Sara Ehret who was Jackpot’s alter ego. Jackpot had super-strength, agility and invulnerability.
One film that is no longer in the works is Silver and Black. The mismatched pairing of Black Cat and Silver Sable is dead, and Sony will be making solo films with the characters. Black Cat will be getting her film first.
Gina Prince-Bythewood, who was to direct Silver and Black, will likely only produce the solo films and not direct them. Sony is looking for women directors to helm the films.
The interview states that Sony will be pushing diversity in its Spider-Man Universe films, which is reason most of the films focus on female or minority characters.
And while Sony is not opposed to having their Marvel films be R-Rated, Venom will not be the first into that particular breach. They expect the film to push the boundary of a PG-13 rating, but since they want to leave it open for Spider-Man or other Marvel Cinematic Universe characters to appear in sequels, PG-13 is the child-friendly rating they are pulling for.
Yes, you read that right. Sony is open to more crossovers with Disney’s Marvel films, whether it be Spider-Man characters in Marvel Studios films of vice-versa. So the Spider-Man characters might not be owned by Disney, but it looks like they can use them whenever they want. So all of Marvels film licenses are essentially under one roof. Yay!
More on this as it develops.