Rumors are once again circulating that Sony is currently considering a number of options to revitalize its Spider-Man movie franchise, including connecting the iconic superhero to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which includes The Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., and several street level heroes such as Daredevil and Luke Cage, who will be featured on various Netflix series starting next year.
While, in the past, both Marvel Studios and Sony have shot down such speculation about their properties merging, the fact that these rumors continue to resurface could indicate the inevitability of Spider-Man and the Avengers one day appearing in the same film together.
So with that point in mind – this is still only speculation until an official announcement is made – here are five different storylines that would bring Spider-Man and other Sony properties like Venom, Carnage, Black Cat and the Sinister Six, into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
5. Civil War
With recent reports indicating that Captain America 3 will adapt some variation of Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's Civil War, it's worth questioning whether or not one of the story's key subplots involving Peter Parker and Tony Stark might be featured in the film.
During the buildup to Civil War, Peter befriends Tony, who ultimately becomes a pseudo-father figure to the younger Parker. As a result, when Tony emerges as the leader for the pro-registration faction of heroes, Peter/Spider-Man unwittingly becomes a critical piece in the game of superhero chess being played between Stark and the anti-registration leader, Captain America. Stark uses his newfound influence on Peter to convince him to publicly unmask and reveal his secret identity to the world – a decision Parker would later come to regret when he defects to Cap’s side in the fight.
A cinematic Civil War adaptation could very easily put the bulk of its focus on Iron Man/Captain America, with a subplot featuring the budding friendship between Tony and Peter, and how that relationship inevitably leads to sides being chosen by Marvel and Sony’s active roster of heroes.
4. "The Death of Jean DeWolff"
While having Spider-Man join the Avengers is probably the most logical (and lucrative) choice Marvel Studios and Sony can make, there are certainly other classic comic book stories that involve Marvel and Sony properties that would make for fantastic films and/or television episodes. Case in point, “The Death of Jean DeWolff,” the 1985 Spectacular Spider-Man arc from Peter David that features Spider-Man and Daredevil working together, and fighting against one another, after a police captain and judge are murdered by a sociopath known as the Sin-Eater.
Daredevil will officially join the Marvel Cinematic Universe next year when the Daredevil series debuts on Netflix. As two of Marvel’s premiere “street level” heroes, Spider-Man and “’Ol Hornhead” have had a very complex relationship, something the “Death of Jean DeWolff” takes note of, especially in the storyline’s final chapter. David’s dark and gritty script echoes the Frank Miller neo-noir years on Daredevil in the late 1970s/early 80s. It’s easy to see why so many Spider-Man fans consider it one of the characters very best stories.
3. "Maximum Carnage"
We already know that Sony intends to expand its cinematic universe with the addition of a Venom/Carnage movie in the near future, and another film with a female lead (Black Cat/Felicia Hardy being the odds on favorite there). So why not throw all of those characters into one film, sprinkle in a few additional heroes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and make an adaptation of the 14-part early 90s storyline, “Maximum Carnage” a reality?
The source material makes an Avengers connection fairly easy to make. In the comics, after Spider-Man, Venom, Black Cat and Cloak and Dagger continue to struggle in their fight against a New York City-wide killing spree being carried out by Carnage and his gang of misfit villains, other Marvel heroes, such as Captain America, Iron Fist and Deathlok join the fray. A cinematic adaptation could follow a similar template, where Captain America, or other Marvel Studios properties jump into the film halfway through to assist Spidey against Carnage.
Sure, the roster of a “Maximum Carnage” movie would be incredibly overstuffed, but not only does it work Spider-Man into the MCU, but also the ultra-popular Venom and Carnage. I’m sure Marvel/Disney wouldn’t scoff at the merchandising possibilities involving those two 90s phenoms.
2. Ultimate Six
Fans of Marvel's Ultimate line of comics should already note that both Marvel Studios and Sony have mined this universe heavily for their films (including casting Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury). So, it would make sense to adapt this 2003-04 miniseries by Brian Michael Bendis, Trevor Hairsine and Danny Miki, which would also incorporate another property Sony is looking to develop – the Sinister Six supervillain stable.
Ultimate Six marks a pretty basic team-up story involving Spider-Man and the Ultimates (the Ultimate Universe’s version of the Avengers) in a battle against the Norman Osborn/Green Goblin-led Sinister Six. S.H.I.E.L.D. also plays a huge role in the storyline, as the agency is charged by the government to capture the Sinister Six. The miniseries marks the first time in the Ultimate Universe that Spider-Man and the Ultimates have crossed paths, thereby giving the studios a built-in plot point as to why all of these heroes haven’t interacted with each other despite the fact that they live in the same city.
1. New Avengers
After years of flirting with the idea, Marvel finally pulled the trigger in 2004 when Brian Michael Bendis and the David Finch/Danny Miki art team re-assembled “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” with a dramatic new lineup that included Spider-Man (and Wolverine too!). This time around, there were no conditions to Spidey being Avenger – no tryouts, no probationary periods, no reserve-only status. Spider-Man stood side-by-side with Captain America, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Jessica Drew and others as a full-fledged member.
The impetus behind this game-changing event was long-time Spidey rogue Electro busting out dozens of crazed villains out of the Raft, a facility designed to house New York City’s supervillain population (too bad they were always breaking out). When Captain America recruits Spidey to join, he repeats a line he’s said in some fashion many times before – he’s not a team player. When Cap counters by asking how flying solo has been working out for him lately, Spider-Man reconsiders and history is made.
If Marvel Studios and Sony were ever merge their movie properties, “Breakout,” the first New Avengers arc, would be the most likely storyline to be adapted. It’s current enough for most fans to recognize, plus it gets all of their collective A-list heroes under one banner, and working on the same team.