UPDATE: Late last night Marvel released a press release stating that they had come to an agreement with Sony. Spider-man will be joining the MCU in an upcoming film with his own franchise starting July 28, 2017. It seems the arrangement allows for Marvel to handle the brunt of planning and production. However, Sony will retain the distribution, financial, ownership, and final creative rights. Basically they have the power to say yes or no to story ideas. With Spider-man taking Thor: Ragnarok’s release date, there has been a slight shift in release dates. Thor: Ragnarok will release November 3rd, 2017. Black Panther has moved to July 6th, 2018. Captain Marvel is now November 2nd 2018. Rounding it out, Inhumans will now release July 12th, 2019.
What is most interesting is that Infinity War has not changed release dates for part 1 or part 2. Part 1 will release May 4, 2018 and Part 2 will release May 3rd, 2019. The only thing that I can glean from this, is that Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Inhumans might not be as important to Infinity War as originally thought. My guess, they will be used to start setting up Phase 4. I still believe the Spider-Man franchise should wait till Phase 4, but you can read on to learn more.
Ever since the Sony Hack last year, the rumors concerning Spider-Man have been many and varied. To this day there still hasn’t been any official announcement. Even after a supposed Spidey summit in January that involved Sony’s Japan headquarters, no new news. Absolutely nothing. What we do have is a report from Latino-Review that seems to shed some light on not only the fate of Spidey but Marvel Phase 3 in general. You can read a shorter summary over at Comicbook.com that has fewer potential spoilers. Basically, Sony and Marvel came to a compromise that would allow Spidey to appear in Infinity War.
To clarify, these are mostly unfounded claims and the credibility these claims have is the Latino-Review’s supposed inside source. They haven’t been too far off in the past but I would file these reports under speculation. However, this got me thinking. If Spidey wasn’t going to appear before Infinity War what do you do with him in the mean time? Spidey has to be reintroduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). This would probably mean a new actor and a new take on the character. However, I personally feel that if we get another Spidey origin story I might just explode. So I came up with my own way to reintroduce the character.
It involves a slow reintroduction. Without any particular order of importance, I’ll outline how Spidey could be introduced into the MCU. First, he would need a Marvel One-Shot. Marvel One-Shots if you are unaware are short-films that were based on characters or events in the MCU. These were usually attached to the home release of Marvel films. Their focus ranged from Agent Coulson to Trevor’s (The Mandarin) adventures in prison to essentially an Agent Carter pilot. While not very long, these films did a great job of filling in the gaps of what happened after our favorite films.
For Spidey, I imagine two ways for this to go down. First, we would get a glimpse from Spidey’s life as an established hero. Where he stands in the grand scheme of things and even where he was when New York was under attack. I imagine Spidey being a little older. He has been around working at the Daily Bugle and hanging out with MJ. Most of his heroics would be pretty minor. Muggers, robbers, and general thugs would be his main villains. He was mostly an urban myth until the battle of New York where he is seen actively helping people and fighting off the aliens.
Then we would see where he is at now. With most heroes untouchable by the press. I mean how are you going to paint a guy who wears the American flag as a menace. Since Spidey is an “unofficial” hero, J. Jonah Jameson targets him for his rants. We then see how Spidey has been struggling to fight the press and his regular villains, something we have seen before. We would then at the very end see Tony Stark, or somebody representing him, approach Spidey. Not only to join the Avengers but to start working at Stark Industries.
The only two things that need to happen in this one-shot is Spidey’s recruitment and J. Jonah Jameson. This is mostly so that we can see J. K. Simmons become JJJ once again so that all is right with the world.
Beyond the one-shot we would also need Spidey to do some crossovers. Particularly, I think Spidey should crossover in the upcoming Marvel Netflix series. Since these series will focus around street level heroes, it’s not hard to imagine these heroes crossing paths. Spidey is first and foremost a street hero. Stopping muggings and what not since isn’t quite cut out for the big cosmic stuff.
Spidey wouldn’t even have to physically appear. They could just dot references here and there about him. Ideally, we would actually see Spidey but I wouldn’t be heart broken. If he was a regular on the series he could act as a branch between the street level heroes and the rest of the MCU.
The last thing that I think would need to happen is for an appearance in a major MCU film. Ideally this would have been Civil War. However, it has been confirmed that isn’t an option anymore. What could still work is to have Spidey appear in Black Panther. At this stage, Spidey would have to be an established hero who was either working at Stark Industries or has founded Parker Industries from the comics. What I imagine, is Spidey is invited by T’Challa to Wakanda to consult on something. Depending on how the events of Civil War leave the state of the Avengers, Spidey could be representing Tony Stark in some way. Or after Spidey is invited to Wakanda, whoever is acting as the current spymaster could approach Spidey to observe the state of the country. Whatever happens largely depends on what the state of the MCU is in at the time.
Now one other decision that would need to be made is who would actually play Spidey. I have two things to say about this. First, if they stick with Peter Parker they should keep Andrew Garfield on. I would rather them pretend the first two Amazing Spider-Man films didn’t happen but they could still fit them in. We know that other than Tony Stark and Bruce Banner the other Avengers went to do their own thing away from New York. Spidey’s two films could potentially fit into Phase 2 of the MCU. Cap was dealing with Hydra, Tony was dealing with the Mandarin, and Thor was dealing with Malekith. All of these distractions would have pulled them away from New York. This isn’t a perfect solution but if they had to, this is the only way I see them adding them to the continuity.
Now if they were to recast Spidey, I think they should go with the Miles Morales Ultimate version. Miles would bring some much needed diversity to the MCU and you could distance yourself from the Amazing Spider-Man films. You have two options with Miles. Either you establish Miles as the only Spider-Man that has ever happened. It would totally work and would mainly be simple substitution. Or you could still retain a connection with Peter Parker. In the Ultimate comics, an alternate updated version of the Marvel Universe, Miles received his powers from another spider from Oscorp. He gained similar abilities to Spider-Man but kept them secret because there was already one Spider-Man and Miles just wanted a normal life. However, Peter dies and Miles picks up the mantle soon after.
That right there does two things for the MCU. Gives us a new Spider-Man with the potential to still acknowledge the original incarnation of the character and establishes an important precedent. The precedent of passing on the mantle. Eventually, the actors playing our favorite characters have to retire from the MCU. Heck even Robert Downey Jr. came close after Iron Man 3 from leaving the studio. By introducing Miles Morales, you can show that these heroes are interested in establishing legacies. Recognizing folks that come their way that could carry-on what they started. Very important if Marvel wants to continue their brand.
All of this to say that nothing can really happen until we know the fate of Spider-Man. I do not think we need a new Spider-Man film yet. I would rather see the first Phase 4 film be a new Spider-Man film and set him up as the new driving force of the MCU. However, as long as we don’t get another origin story I’m pretty much happy.
In the wake of Marvel’s seemingly unstoppable success, many studios are rushing to mimic their winning formula. Fox and Sony are trying to get their own Marvel shared universes up and running with their characters. DC is on the way to launching a Justice League universe, which has been in the works for awhile now. These universe aren’t just about superheroes though. Dan Aykroyd wants to launch an entire Ghostbuster universe complete with movies and shows. While some seem to be doing better than others, many studios simply see the potential pay out and try to bull rush towards it.
Now, this last weekend I took the time to knock another movie off my watch list. Dracula Untold tells the story of the prince of darkness and how he gained his powers. While largely unsurprising, the film did do a pretty great job of redefining the character and giving purpose to his actions. This film successfully adds depth to a character whose kind in recent years have been reduced to one dimensional villains and heroes preying on the tropes associated with them. This film was average overall and if you like fantasy/action/adventure flicks, it is definitely worth your attention. However, that’s not what I am here to talk about.
Much like it’s fellow studios, Universal is jumping on board the shared universe train and starting their own. Avoiding the superhero genre, they are focusing on their classic movie monsters starting with Dracula and moving on to include The Wolfman, Frankenstein’s monster and bride, The Mummy, and more. Without giving away too much of Dracula‘s secrets, it looks as if the main tension in this universe will be between Dracula (Luke Evans) and his creator The Master Vampire (Charles Dance). It’s too early to tell exactly how this universe will work but we already know that it will be more action-adventure than horror.
Lets start with that. Abandoning the horror genre completely I believe would be a mistake. That is where these monsters got their start and that is the realm that they belong to. I understand wanting to make these characters more accessible to audiences, I just hope they keep to their original interpretations at least a little bit. This in my opinion is the first step to making this universe work. We have enough superhero movies coming our way, literally 40 planned movies in the next 6 years. I honestly don’t think we need anything else resembling a superhero movie. So, by focusing on the horror aspect Universal can still differentiate their characters from the larger pantheon of big screen heroes.
What Universal will need to do in order to be successful is differentiate themselves from the other shared universes. Keeping one foot in the horror genre is one way to do that. The other way to do that is not make these monster heroes. They are after all, monsters with very evil tendencies. For instance, Dracula is a good guy putting his friends and family first. Gaining his dark powers is a direct result of trying to protect his people. Yet at the end of the day he still has to suck the blood of people to stay alive. His fellow monsters are equally tortured and forcefully evil. If Universal keeps this in mind we will have a group of very unique characters that have to deal with far more than the average superhero.
Staying on this tortured soul idea, these monster’s have to deal with things that their superhero counterparts just don’t have to. First, they are monsters hated and feared throughout their life. Take Dracula, even though he is a good guy all he see’s about himself is this personification of evil. That by itself is pretty heartbreaking when you think about it. The closest we get to the tortured hero concept is The Hulk and the X-men. However, even they don’t have it that bad. The Hulk who is always aware of the thin line between hero and monster, is still largely accepted as a hero. The X-men are hated sure but the majority of their powers also don’t require them to kill people. Universal will have a group of “heroes” that are not only struggling with a larger threat but with their own failings as well.
Fair warning Dracula Untold spoilers ahead.
We know that at the end of Dracula and from other moments during the film, that his creator is planning something. The last line of dialogue is from him saying “Let the games begin”. I believe we will see a battle for the soul of the world essentially. With The Master Vampire and Dracula being the generals trying to either plunge the world into darkness or keep it in the light. This will require foot shoulders to fight this battle. I hope that we will see these two battling it out with various monster pawns, with iconic monsters on each side. Essentially, Dracula will be the Nick Fury of this universe but he will have more personal motivations for trying to stop his Master. This could lead him to use less than savory means to bring monsters to his side. It all adds another layer to these monster’s relationship dynamics with each other and how they deal with the outside world.
It will be interesting to see how this whole universe shapes up. I think that if Universal tries to distance themselves from the superhero genre as much as possible instead of mimicking it, the better off they will be. Focusing on these tortured monsters and having them operate in a world of grey will differentiate their universe from others. By doing this they will have characters that struggle with their own failings which makes them more interesting and more relatable. Out of all the shared universes on the horizon, I am most intrigued by Universal’s. They have a real opportunity to make a unique film experience, as long as they keep the mimicry to a minimum.
Side Note: The majority of the monster films settings from here on out will be present day. So instead of getting origin stories for each monster, I think we will be seeing these monsters as already being established. Monsters potentially involved are Dracula, The Mummy, Frankenstein’s monster and bride, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Wolfman, and Van Helsing. Some others may be included but it is simply to early to tell.