At long last, news about Sony’s ever-expanding Spider-Man adjacent movie slate has actually revealed something that we can get unequivocally hyped about. We’re used to scratching our heads hearing about seemingly random, Peter Parker-less live-action projects churning out from the studio of late. However, The Hollywood Reporter now announces that the highly anticipated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is already set for a sequel ahead of its premiere. Moreover, an all-female Spidey spinoff of some description is also currently in the works at Sony Pictures Animation.
Producers Amy Pascal, Avi Arad, and Christina Steinberg are expected to be involved with both films; so are Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the creative minds behind Into the Spider-Verse. Joaquim Dos Santos of Avatar: The Last Airbender fame has been chosen to helm the sequel to the multiverse-spanning romp. He will work from a screenplay by David Callaham, who has written other buzzy sequels such as Wonder Woman 1984 and Zombieland 2. Understandably, there aren’t any narrative details about where the Into the Spider-Verse sequel could go at this point. That said, THR points out that “seeds have been planted” in the fabric of the originating film to make a part two feasible.
As far as the untitled all-female spinoff is concerned, Lauren Montgomery (Batman: Year One) is in talks to occupy the director’s chair. Bek Smith (CBS’ Zoo) has been commissioned to pen the script which, according to additional reporting by Deadline, will “focus on three generations of women with Spidey powers.” The world is basically Sony’s oyster when it comes to who will feature in the spinoff, but Spider-Gwen is an obvious choice of protagonist, given her prominence as a key character in Into the Spider-Verse. But whispers of a movie centering on Spider-Woman (hopefully the Jessica Drew incarnation of the character), Madame Web / Cassandra Webb, Spider-Girl / May Parker, and Silk / Cindy Moon keeps us optimistic for a delightful line-up.
These projects already sound exceptionally intriguing, especially in contrast to Sony’s existing plans for their comic book adaptations in general. The studio has never been all that chill about their ambitious ideas for their own superhero universe; I’ve been there for two cycles of scrapped sequels and spinoffs now (Drew Goddard’s Sinister Six, anyone?). And ever since unveiling their latest live-action era of Spider-Man, Sony has continued ordering a puzzling if tentatively curious slew of movies from his related rogues’ gallery in a race to finally establish a tangible cinematic universe of their own.
Considering how well Venom did at the box office in spite of uninspired critical reception, Sony doesn’t really have a reason to stop their shenanigans, either. Because although Silver and Black is unfortunately no longer going to be a thing (for the time being), Morbius the Living Vampire, Nightwatch, Silk, Kraven the Hunter, and Jackpot are getting their own films, anyway. Never mind that these characters are not the most recognizable. Sony insists on drawing together this ragtag crew against whatever the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Extended Universe are individually cooking up, opining that their diverse line-up proves to be rightfully disruptive.
Of course, we’re always tempted to ask: where does the actual Spider-Man fit into any of this? Tom Holland’s lovably earnest Peter is having more of a heyday within the MCU than anywhere else. However, in Holland’s discernible absence in Sony’s lackluster live-action Spider-Man arm, Into the Spider-Verse remains one of the studio’s most legitimately exciting ventures.
By introducing numerous variations of the iconic web-slinger in animated form, Into the Spider-Verse is primed to be a superhero movie experience unlike any other. Trailer after trailer, the film has kept us on our toes for months with its quirky, heartfelt tone and exquisite, dynamic animation style coupled with a strong sense of storytelling personality with a truly inclusive character list. The earliest of critics’ reactions have been wildly positive, too, which bodes well for the film as it moves towards its December 14th release date.
I’ll always be a huge champion for diversity in tentpole projects and will not write off the chance to experience Spike Lee’s possible take on Nightwatch or more Asian-American representation in a Silk movie. In fact, as of right now, it’s logical to opine about how the latter’s potential appearance in the all-female Spider-Verse spinoff could aid or hinder her standalone in development.
Or perhaps, those discussions should hardly matter when Into the Spider-Verse is already championing the value of fresh interdimensional zaniness. I unabashedly love what Into the Spider-Verse could potentially do within its runtime alone. Compared to a slow build-up of amorphous standalone movies that are individually difficult to invest in, Into the Spider-Verse goes all out right from the start. It retains the anchor of its most popular rendition of Spidey while embracing comic book wackiness through its flexible and enthusiastic animation medium. The film reminds us of the true malleability and promise of these high-flying make-believe worlds. Therefore, a sequel and spinoff definitely sound worth it.