Last August, I wrote a column talking about the X-Men properties that I would like to see spin off of the X-Men: Days of Future Past movie. Well, Sony just announced that they will be doing an expanded universe with Spider-Man as well. Since Spider-Man is not a team property, it makes things a little difficult when it comes to figuring out what movies can spring from this property. Here is a look at the two that have already been chosen and three more that could work to give Sony more of a solid, unique comic book movie presence.
The most obvious spin off is Venom, arguably the most popular secondary character in the Amazing Spider-Man universe. In the comics, Venom debuted in the Secret Wars miniseries when Spider-Man started using the alien Symbiote as a costume. This lasted until Peter realized that the Symbiote was taking over and doing things on his own while Peter was sleeping. After battling to try to free himself from the alien, he eventually realized that the Symbiote had an aversion to sound and finally got rid of it.
That caused the Symbiote to hate Spider-Man and when it found Eddie Brock, a man who hated Peter Parker as much as the Symbiote hated Spider-Man, the two joined forces to become Spider-Man's greatest enemy. However, what makes Venom such a great character is that he is not a villain. He hates and wants to kill Spider-Man, but when he is not fighting Spider-Man, he actually is an anti-hero, mostly protecting the homeless.
However, that is just one story that could make a good Venom movie – the protector of the helpless. The other is Flash Thompson.
Venom is now Flash Thompson (while Eddie is still around as well as Toxin). Flash, who was Peter's biggest human nemesis in the comics, became friends with Peter over the years. However, he joined the U.S. military and went to fight in the war. He came back with his legs amputated after an extremely heroic act where he saved his superior officer despite being shot in both legs. Thanks to his standing as a military hero, the U.S. recruited him to use the Symbiote to become Venom and fight for them. He can only stay bonded for 48 hours so it doesn't take control of him and Flash doesn't know that Peter is Spider-Man.
Not, that would make an awesome Venom movie. Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek) is working on this movie as a writer and possibly director.
THE SINISTER SIX
The second announced movie is one that has me a bit puzzled, but it is unique enough to be a comic book movie that has never been attempted – a movie with the super villains as the lead characters. It would be like Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants getting their own movie. So, what could this be about? Here are my thoughts on how to make it awesome – make it similar to a Usual Suspects styled movie. With movies like Reservoir Dogs, we have seen how bad guys can be the lead characters, it just has never been attempted in a comic book movie before.
But, who will be the Sinister Six? Because they are spinning it off of the Amazing Spider-Man movies, there will likely be Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti). I assume that the Green Goblin (Norman's son) will also be in the group. That leaves three spots. Based on the hints in the Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer, Doctor Octopus and The Vulture will be two others. If I could choose the last spot, I would pick Kraven, but there are also the options of Sandman and Mysterio, both of which would be great alternatives. I just hope they don't go with The Lizard, since he makes no sense as a team player.
Honestly, I wasn't excited about this, but the more I think about movies like Reservoir Dogs and Usual Suspects as possible influences, the more I think it could really work as something unique for comic book movies. Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods) is working on this movie.
THE SCARLET SPIDER
Originally, I had Black Cat here, but then I remembered Electra and Catwoman movies and I immediately turned on the idea of a Black Cat movie. Then I remembered the Scarlet Spider. First, let's look at the Scarlet Spider connection to the CLONE SAGA, since that is allegedly something that Sony is considering approaching (shocking since it is one of the most hated stories in comic book history). The original Scarlet Spider was Ben Reilly, the clone of Peter Parker. When the clone saga came to an end, Peter beat his clone and left it for dead. It never died and took on the name Ben Reilly (a mix of Uncle Ben's first name and Aunt May's maiden name). He became Scarlet Spider and became a hero alongside Peter, who finally trusted him. Ben died at the hands of Norman Osborn.
There was a number of Scarlet Spider's after that, including villains. However, the Scarlet Spider operating most recently was Kaine, with that series ending last December. In that series, Kaine went to Houston to hide from his past crimes and took on the role of Scarlet Spider, using the stealth suit that Spider-Man created years before. It added an ability to remain invisible to video and audio devices onto his natural spider abilities he has from being a clone of Peter Parker.
I love Kaine and I am indifferent to Ben Reilly, so if they do the Clone Saga, I want to see Kaine as the character that breaks out from it.
With Andrew Garfield only signed through three movies, we might see the last of him after Amazing Spider-Man 3. There are then two choices after that – re-cast the role again or maybe move on and bring in The Ultimate Spider-Man. Of course, Peter Parker was the Ultimate Spider-Man until he died. It was a tragic death, Spider-Man saving Captain America's life by taking a bullet by The Punisher that was meant for Cap, and then refusing to stop fighting, taking on his greatest enemies before Norman Osborn attacks him and Peter dies in the fight.
That is where the new Spider-Man spin-off could come as Miles Morales, a 13-year old Hispanic boy, takes over the role of Spider-Man when he is bitten by a spider that an Oscorp scientist had injected with Peter Parker's blood in an attempt to recreate the Spider-Man origin. While he was operating under the radar for awhile, soon Nick Fury and SHIELD bring him in and he finds out that they know all about him. He helps them and they give him a costume that is somewhat different than Spider-Man's costume and he is then accepted.
Bringing in a young teenage Spider-Man, especially one that will give the movie world its first lead Hispanic superhero, could be huge for Sony.
I love Morbius, and I would love to see him get a movie – maybe by someone with a sense of storytelling like Guillermo Del Toro or someone like that. Morbius is a living vampire, but he didn't get his powers in the typical vampire (ie. Dracula) method – he got it from experimental treatments with vampire bats and electrotherapy treatment in an attempt to cure himself of a rare blood disease. This means that – unlike most vampires – Morbius is actually still alive. However, just like vampires, he needs to consume blood to survive.
While he started as a bad guy, he soon became more of a tragic antihero, where he operated as a hero when he could but faltered thanks to his thirst for blood and inability to control his aggressive nature when the thirst overwhelmed him. His main goal in life is to regain the humanity he lost, and is similar to Venom as he most recently served as the protector of the poor in a town where superheroes don't exist. While that last series never reached the level it could have, there is a lot to like about Morbius if they concentrate on his tragic history. This could be the supernatural gothic comic book movie that could keep it unique from the rest.